You’ve arrived. Now what? We asked our intrepid fliers for other ways to ensure your day-stay is as smooth as takeoff. Just download these free apps from the list below. No need to buckle up.
Uber: Hire a town car for about the same cost as a taxi — tip included. Other perks? The app allows you to track the driver so you can estimate arrival time. Uber cars are much cleaner than a typical taxi. And because drivers are rated, they work extra hard to make sure they earn their five stars.
Hotel Tonight: Stranded at the airport? It’s a not-so-uncommon occurrence thanks to San Francisco’s infamous fog rolling in first thing in the morning or late at night. Fire up Hotel Tonight, which scours nearby hotels for vacancies. Many hotels in the network offer big discounts on same-day rooms that would otherwise go unbooked.
VoicePark: In San Francisco, where parking can cost $10 an hour, finding a spot for your rental car is a blood sport. This app gives you turn-by-turn directions to the nearest available parking area. It works by connecting to 3 million streets and parking garages across the country that track “open” spaces in real time.
Fieldtrip: Ever wonder what landmarks or upcoming local events are nearby? Fieldtrip automatically serves up recommendations from hundreds of information sources to give you the heads-up on what’s happening around town. The app, developed by Google Labs, works with Google Maps.
GateGuru: Did you know there’s a yoga room and massage service at the San Francisco airport? GateGuru does. In addition to the amenities, shops and restaurants (organized not just by airport but by the terminal within each airport), the app can track flight status, gate arrival and departure information, and even real-time, estimated Transportation Security Administration wait times.
Wi-Fi Finder: Find the nearest available free Wi-Fi hot spots, whether it’s a cafe, public library or store.
Hipmunk: After Kayak, Hipmunk has been gaining ground as a go-to flight and hotel search. It gives flights “Agony” ratings, based on duration, delays and number of stops, and offers hotel recommendations based on neighborhood “Heatmaps.”
MyCityWay: New to either Los Angeles or San Francisco? This app rolls up the local traffic, weather, news, gas prices and public transportation schedules for both cities, plus dozens of other U.S. locales. A real-time, nearby heat map of trending Instagram photos and where they were taken is a nice touch. -AP