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Community News Network

December 23, 2013

Travel apps that'll make your trips easier

(Continued)

If your travels take you beyond Virginia, think about downloading the INRIX app, which offers just about everything a commuter or road warrior might want. There's traffic news and a traffic map. When I set my location, I also got screenshots from VDOT's traffic cameras. With one click, you can text or email your arrival time to family and friends. The app will note construction or congestion with small icons along your planned route and places a little checkered flag icon at your destination.

Parking

If you're big-city bound, you may need to find a place to park once you arrive.

SpotHero is a parking app that allows you to find, reserve and pay for available spaces at nearby lots. Enter the time and date you need parking and the interface will show you a map of available garages and lots, complete with the cost for the time period selected. It will give you a description of the garage or lot complete with photo and directions for where to enter. It also will tell you how far the garage is from your destination. (In some cases you'll need to print your reservation and hand it to the valet.) SpotHero is available in Washington, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Milwaukee, Newark and New York City.

Along those same lines, ParkWhizhelps you find available spaces — in some cases with a discount — and reserve and pay for them online. It offers you a description of the lot and a handy Google map of the location. We found it worked on garages in Washington and around the region, in such towns as Rockville, Md. and Ballston, Va.

Flying

According to AAA, about 5.5 million holiday travelers will be flying to their destination. Frequent fliers recommend downloading the app for the airline that you're using.

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