With the insufferable crowds, never-ending lines, and imminent flight delays, holiday travel can be so unpleasant that you often wish you had never even made the trip in the first place. But before you're forced to endure a hellish series of events on your way to a much-needed vacation, download these four apps. Without the worry of your flight costs, hotel room, house, and pet, the upcoming days may just have a chance of being merry and bright after all.
To book a room: Roomlia
If your travel accommodations somehow fell through (or even if they didn't), it's worth perusing Roomlia for last-minute hotel deals before you take off. The mobile app features rooms that you can reserve seven days from your check-in date, for up to five nights, in 35 cities (including New York, Las Vegas, and Miami). All you need to do is select your destination from the drop-down menu, specify the duration of your stay, and swipe to the left on your hotel of choice. If you're pleased with the total cost, you can finalize your payment with the hotel directly through the app. Don't worry, you can always cancel that overpriced resort you booked months in advance.
To nab a flight upgrade: TPG To Go
Those who favor cheap flight deals may already be familiar with Brian Kelly, aka The Points Guy. A self-proclaimed "frequent flyer mile and credit card point ninja," Kelly specializes in maximizing your hard-earned loyalty points and airline miles to ensure you get the most bang for your buck in terms of your flight and accommodations with his tip-heavy site, thepointsguy.com. Now, his team has joined forces with credit card rewards company Wallaby to roll out TPG To Go, a new app that advises you to use the optimal credit card for rewards and track and manage your points to ensure you're on track to earn more. Say hello to first class.
To control your home: Honeywell Lyric
Forgot to turn off the heat before you rushed out of the house? Don't sweat it. Honeywell's new Lyric app lets you rejigger the temps from your smartphone by pairing with the Lyric thermostat, an extremely high-tech device that displays the current weather so you can select the appropriate degrees Fahrenheit for comfort. Using the app, you can create shortcuts for certain temperatures at just one tap (for example, if you like to work out at 72°F and not a smidge less). Lyric even senses when you're approaching home by detecting your smartphone location, so it can pump up the heat (or cool it down) upon your arrival.
To take care of your pet: DogVacay
Consider DogVacay your own virtual kennel. The networking app boasts a canine-loving community of thousands of dog sitters across the U.S. who can take care of your pup in your absence and give you up-to-date info on his or her whereabouts with daily photo updates. To get going, you can browse hosts in your area (complete with starred reviews), schedule a meet-and-greet or contact them via the app, and book them by paying for their service through your phone. Not a dog owner? Fear not: cats and other animals are allowed, too.
Download DogVacay for free on the iTunes app store.