Must-Have Holiday Travel Apps

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Thanksgiving is a week away, and with nearly 44 million Americans traveling at least 50 miles or more, these apps can help you avoid overweight baggage fees or fight jet lag. These apps might help you as you embark on your holiday travels.

Apple (Android users can use a similar app, "uPackingList"): $0.99

PHOTO: Packing (+TO DO!)
iTunes
Packing (+TO DO)

This app helps you create customized packing lists for trips big and small. You can specify how many of what items you need, who they're for and check them off once they're packed. There are various sample lists available, including such categories as clothes, accessories or essentials if you aren't quite sure what to bring, or you can start from scratch and tailor the list to your needs. You can even add weight and value for items so you don't go over the 50-pound limit to avoid paying overweight fees at the airport. The app also serves as a valuable tracker for your items in case your luggage gets lost. For an extra $2, frequent travelers can benefit more from Packing Pro, which includes full iCloud auto-sync support, has an "expert help" feature and lets you import and export packing lists as files that can be opened on a computer or printed.

Apple, Android: Free

PHOTO: FlightAware Flight Tracker
iTunes
FlightAware

You can search through live flight data, airport information and photos, weather and maps for both public and private flights in the United States, Canada and the U.K. by typing in the flight number or simply the arrival and/or departure city.

Apple, Android: Free

PHOTO: GateGuru, Airport Info & Flight Status
iTunes
Gate Guru

From the minute you leave your door to the second you board your plane, Gate Guru enhances the entire travel experience for fliers by covering more than120 airports across the world, complete with airport maps, lists of airport amenities, restaurant reviews and photos. You can also receive push notifications for flight status updates, see real-time airport security wait times and track your flight.

Apple: $2.99

PHOTO: JetLag Genie
iTunes
JetLag Genie

Become your own personal sleep coach and fight jet lag with this app that's designed to help you schedule when you sleep during and before a long trip to prepare for the time zone of your destination. All you do is input your starting and final destination, your usual bedtime and the direction in which you're flying (north, south, etc.). The app then creates a customized sleeping plan for you to follow which tells you when to wake up, gradually modifying your sleeping patterns so they're closer to the time zone of your final destination.

Apple, Android: Free

PHOTO: SitOrSquat: Restroom Finder
iTunes
Sit or Squat

Sponsored by Charmin, Sit or Squat helps you find surrounding public restrooms or you can even plan in advance so when the need arises, you won't be out of luck. You can also browse either by a map or list view and check out ratings, hours of availability, features (handicap access, charging outlets) and photos.

Apple, Android: Free

PHOTO: GasBuddy
iTunes
Gas Buddy

Check out current gas prices, find nearby gas stations and leave reviews, tips and photos for other travelers to check out. Gas Buddy encourages its community of users to update the fuel availability information and prices as they fill up so others can benefit, too. You can earn points toward a prize giveaway if you report gas prices. For those in regions affected by Hurricane Sandy, they can visit gasbuddy.com/sandy from a web browser via desktop or mobile phone connection to track where gas is available.

Apple, Android: Free

PHOTO: Waze social GPS
iTunes
Waze

This navigation app has more than 30 million users and can simultaneously give you directions while monitoring traffic conditions as they're happening on the road. All you have to do is drive with the app open, and Waze will gather all the information – speed, detours. Users can even take a more active role and report traffic accidents, police check points, and edit maps online.

Apple, Android: Free

PHOTO: Wi-Fi Finder
iTunes
Wi-Fi Finder

Travelers will never have to worry about finding Wi-Fi hotspots with this handy app that lets you search for public Wi-Fi locations and get directions to them as well. You can filter hotspots by free versus paid, provider, or the location and view them on a list or map without redirecting outside the app.

Apple, Android: Free

PHOTO: iTriage
iTunes
iTriage

Created by two emergency room doctors, this health care app lets sick travelers check symptoms, look up conditions, find nearby doctors, clinics and emergency rooms all with the touch of a finger. ITriage also lets users explore research procedures and costs in addition to showing related health videos. There is a list of nearly 1,000 of the most commonly used over-the-counter and prescribed medications and you can even make appointments with select physicians.

Apple, Android: Free

PHOTO: Postcard On The Run
iTunes
Postcard On The Run

Travelers wanting to send postcards to loved ones back home without waiting in line at the post office can use this app to snap a photo on a smartphone, include a personal message and even add a map. You pay for the postcard and mailing cost, and the service will print out and mail your postcards. If you don't know someone's address, you can use the app's address retrieval service, Postal Gopher, for free. Sign it off with your finger and voila! Postcard sent.

Apple: Free

PHOTO: Chewsy
iTunes
Chewsy

This app for foodies focuses more on individual restaurant dishes, complete with a photo and review for quick viewing. The idea for Chewsy is to give users simple and direct information when it comes to picking something off a restaurant menu. While similar apps like Yelp and Foodspotting list detailed restaurant reviews that encompass everything from the ambiance to service, Chewsy enables you to see specific dish reviews from over 75 critics - including national critics and local food bloggers –and even those from you or your friends.

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