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9 Apps, Tools and Items to Make Holiday Travel Smoother

Carry these must-have products to maximize comfort and convenience during the holiday rush.

U.S. News & World Report

9 Apps, Tools and Items to Make Holiday Travel Smoother

Woman texting at airport check-in desk.

Stay prepared and stress-free while en route by investing in these practical tools.(Getty Images)

The holidays are stressful enough without traveling during some of the busiest days of the year. And while these tools may not be able to help with crowded highways or family arguments, they can reduce your travel stress level and make getting from place to place a little easier. Don't hit the road or head to the airport without these coveted apps, tools and products.

My TSA App

Airport security lines have become one of the most unpleasant and challenging parts of air travel, but the guesswork of how early you need to arrive to get through a line is one barrier you can remove. Download the My TSA app to receive up-to-date wait time alerts at airports around the country, as well as notices of airports that are experiencing flight delays. The app also showcases which airports accept TSA PreCheck and explains what you can and can not bring on the plane.


Losing your luggage when you arrive at your holiday destination could be even more disastrous than normal if it's packed full of gifts for friends and loved ones. While some airlines like Delta Air Lines have put tracking in place to help monitor bags on their journey, in most cases, it comes down to luck whether your luggage arrives where it should on time.

To avoid losing luggage and important electronic devices, try a service like HomingPIN (available for $10), which provides stickers and technology to affix to bags, phone, laptops, iPads and more, each of which have a unique code that ties to your contact information without publicly sharing it. If someone finds your item, he can go to and enter the code, and you will be sent a text or email securely connecting you to that person to retrieve your lost item.

A Downy Wrinkle Releaser

Ironing at home is no fun; ironing on the road is even less so, but inevitably clothes get wrinkled when stuffed and shuffled around in suitcases. Fortunately, the Downy Wrinkle Releaser (available for $1.99) features a portable solution that you spray on your clothes. After saturating your garments, along with some smoothing and tugging on the fabric, most wrinkles will come out, especially for cotton items. The Downy Wrinkle Releaser comes in a handy 3-ounce bottle – the perfect TSA-friendly size to take in carry-on bags through security.

Multi-Attraction Passes

If you're planning to do some sightseeing at your holiday destination, you'll likely be battling heavy crowds. With kids out of school and many people traveling, lines can be long and prices can be steep. Taking advantage of multi-attraction passes like Go City Card, CityPASS and the New York Pass enable you to save money by purchasing multiple attractions at once, as well as bypass ticket lines, getting you directly into the attraction.

The AAA Mobile App

The free AAA mobile app offers a variety of helpful services, particularly for AAA members. You can check gas prices, see companies near you that offer AAA discounts, map a route and even request roadside assistance and get battery replacement quotes directly from the app. The app also enables you to search for AAA Diamond-rated hotels and restaurants in the immediate area.

A Travel Cardigan

It's always a great idea to carry a cardigan with you when traveling. You never know if the temperature will drop from day to night, if the plane will be freezing or if you forgot how cold it actually gets in Chicago. The Poppet Company offers a portable and stylish cardigan that fits easily in a purse, backpack or suitcase. Plus, you can use the pocket the sweater comes in to securely carry items like money, a driver's license or other travel documents for easy access. The sweater retails for $79 at and comes in a variety of colors.

The Figo Pet Cloud

If you have to leave your pet over the holidays, make the separation easier by being able to track your pet's whereabouts. The Figo Pet cloud app gives you access to your pet's medical records, pictures and shot reminders, along with a GPS-tracking collar, so you can monitor your pet's movement at the kennel, at home or daycare. In case your pet does get lost, the app also lets those people contact you by entering the number on your pet's tag.

A Travel-Friendly Computer

If you're like many travelers today, you tend to work while on the go … sometimes even over the holidays. The new Razer Blade Stealth (available for $999.99) is built with the traveler in mind with a thin, light and durable design, along with backlit keys for working in low light. The computer, which runs Windows, is also powerful with a minimum 8GB of RAM, high quality graphics and audio, up to nine hours of battery life for long plane rides and a touch screen.

The AVIS Now App

Rental car lines are another hassle. After all, you don't want you to end up like Steve Martin in the classic 1987 film "Planes, Trains and Automobiles." AVIS has made waiting in long car rental lines a thing of the past with their AVIS Now app, which lets you skip the rental counter, view car availability in real time, exchange or upgrade your car, flash the lights to find your car in the lot and even lock or unlock the doors. There's also a one-click return when you're ready to drop off the car.

About En Route

Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.

Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

Edited by Liz Weiss.

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