Must-Have Apps for Flying with Kids

Must-Have Apps for Flying with Kids
Must-Have Apps for Flying with Kids

Traveling with kids is already stressful enough, therefore, make sure you are armed with the top travel apps prior to heading to the airport.  Below are more than 20 must-have FREE travel apps.  These apps are helpful from the planning stage through the ‘what are you going to do when you get there’ stage.  They are generally not related to traveling with kids.  However, they are great for making your trip smoother, and who doesn’t want that when traveling with kids.  If you don’t have time for the full article, check out my Top 10 Apps here.

Apps for Accommodations

  1. Airbnb: This app allows you to rent a place to stay from a private person.  This app typically has places that are the right size for a single family.
  2. VRBO: This app is similar to Airbnb, but it typically has places that are sized for larger groups.
  3. Hilton: This app allows you to check-in and manage your stays for any Hilton property.  In some hotels, your phone can act as your room key if you have the app.  This is a must-have app if you are going to be staying at any of the following hotels.
    • Hilton Hotels and Resorts
    • Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts
    • Conrad Hotels and Resorts
    • Canopy by Hilton
    • Curio Collection by Hilton
    • Doubletree by Hilton
    • Tapestry Collection by Hilton
    • Embassy Suites by Hilton
    • Hilton Garden Inn
    • Hampton by Hilton
    • Tru by Hilton
    • Homewood Suites by Hilton
    • Home2 Suites by Hilton
    • Hilton Grand Vacations
  4. Marriott: This app allows you to check-in and manage your stays for any Marriott property.  This is a must-have app if you will be staying at any of the following.
    • The Ritz-Carlton
    • St. Regis
    • JW Marriott
    • Ritz-Carlton Reserve
    • W Hotels
    • Edition
    • Marriott Hotels
    • Sheraton
    • Marriott Vacation Club
    • Delta Hotels
    • Le Meridien
    • Westin
    • Renaissance Hotels
    • Gaylord Hotels
    • Courtyard Hotels
    • Four Points
    • SpringHill Suites
    • Protea Hotels
    • Fairfield Inn & Suites
    • AC Hotels
    • Aloft Hotels
    • Moxy Hotels
    • Marriott Executive Apartments
    • Residence Inn
    • TownePlace Suites
    • Element
  5. Hotel Tonight: This app is designed to provide you with last minute deals when your travel plans change suddenly, and you need a room ASAP.

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Apps for Airport Parking

  1. PreFlight Airport Parking: This app allows you to manage all your airport parking from making reservations, viewing current reservations, and monitoring rewards points.
  2. The Parking Spot: This is the for booking parking at a Parking Spot location.  Not every airport has Parking Spot, but most do, and it’s my personal favorite location for airport parking.

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Apps for the Airport and Airplane

Ground Transportation Apps

  1. Uber/Lyft: These are the most common ride-share services.  Get the apps downloaded and your account setup.  Then whenever you need a ride, you can quickly request one from whichever service is less expensive for your location.  Note: you will need to have a car seat for your child.
  2. Wingz: This is similar to Uber and Lyft, but you have to schedule your ride ahead of time (at least 2 hours) and it’s only for airport trips. It’s also a service that is only available at select airports. However, fares don’t increase during peak times, so it can be more affordable during busy times. Note: you will need to have a car seat for your child.  This service is available at the following airports:
    • Austin
    • Dallas (DAL and DFW)
    • Houston (IAH and HOU)
    • Los Angeles (BUR, SNA, ONT, LGB, and LAX)
    • Miami
    • Orlando
    • Phoenix
    • Portland
    • Sacramento
    • San Antonio
    • San Diego
    • Seattle
    • San Jose
    • Oakland
    • San Francisco
    • Tampa 
  3. Supershuttle: This is a shuttle service that does airport trips.  It is often less expensive than Uber, Lyft and Wingz.  However, it makes multiple stops, so your trip takes longer.  Even though this is a shuttle bus and not a car, you DO need to have a car seat.
  4. iExit:  This app is a must if you will be driving on interstates when you get to your destination. This allows you to look at each upcoming exit on an interstate you are on to see what food and gas options are there.
  5. GasBuddy: Also, a must if you are going to be driving at your destination.  This app helps you find the cheapest gas near you.

Navigation Apps

  1. Waze: This is a navigation app that allows you to share real-time traffic and road info with other local drivers.
  2. Google Maps: This is a standard navigation app, but it is a little more user friendly than the default iPhone app with regards to letting you look ahead at the directions and seeing which lane you need to be in for an upcoming exit or traffic change.
  3. Citymapper: This app helps you find and utilize public transportation in a number of major cities around the globe.  You can also view subway and train schedules without internet.
  4. Transit: This app provides public transit maps for 184 cities, 10 countries and 4 continents.  You won’t need a car seat to take public transit.

Food and Activity Apps

  1. Roadtrippers: This app allows you to explore food and things to do that are nearby.
  2. OpenTable: This app allows you to explore food that is nearby and make a reservation.
  3. FourSquare: This app serves as a city guide.
  4. Zomato: This app tells you what restaurants are nearby and gives their ratings.
  5. UberEats: This turns any restaurant into deliver.
  6. AllTrails: If you are wanting to hike at your destination, this app provides trail mapsand reviews.

Other Helpful Apps

  1. Mamava: This app is a must if you are breastfeeding.  It tells you exactly where breastfeeding areas are located in each airport.  It tells you if it’s a Mamava pod or another type of room and real mothers leave their reviews.
  2. Kid Entertainment Apps: This topic is beyond the scope of this post.  If you are looking for entertainment apps, check out this post.

Final Thoughts

Make sure to download and set up all of the above apps that are relevant to your trip.  If you want more information about traveling with baby by airplane, check out my in-depth post on the topic here.

For some additional hacks for traveling check out these recommendations!

I have traveled with my 10-month old son on 10 round trips so far.  Checkout My Top 10 Travel Apps list here to take a page out of my book.

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Must-Have Apps for Flying with Kids

My Top 10 Travel Apps

My Top 10 Travel Apps
My Top 10 Travel Apps

Here are my can’t-live-without travel apps.  Make sure you get these before your next trip with kids (or even without)!

  1. Southwest: I LOVE Southwest when flying with a baby. The open seating policy works great for traveling with a baby because if there is an empty seat, they will let you claim it.  They also allow every ticketed passenger to check 2 bags for free.  This is a definite win with how much stuff is required for traveling with a baby.  All that said, we always fly Southwest, so the app is my #1.  When my Rapid Rewards number is entered for a booked flight, the flight automatically shows up in the app.  I use this to easily keep track of my upcoming trips, monitor rewards points and check-in for flights.  When I travel alone, I use this for my boarding pass as well.
  2. Uber/Lyft: Without the ridesharing apps, I wouldn’t ever make it to my final destination. I lumped these two apps together because I choose based on whichever one is less expensive at any given time. Most drivers drive for both Uber and Lyft, so I find the service isn’t really any different.  They just have different surge rates and promotions.
  3. iExit: I can’t drive anywhere on an interstate without this app.  I first started using this app when I was driving to a lot of horse shows.  It was important for me to select exits based on whether they had diesel gas and if I could get a horse trailer in.  However, I still use this app because I always like to have my next food or coffee stop planned out, and this app allows for that. When traveling with kids, being able to find the perfect exit to stop at becomes even more important.  This app allows you to look as far forward as you would like on the interstate and see what food and gas are at each exit. 
  4. GoogleMaps: This is an app that is essential for keeping my husband happy.  I am perfectly fine with using the default navigation app that iPhones come with. However, my husband passionately declares that Google Maps and Waze are vastly superior.  I prefer Google Maps because I think Waze has too much information and gets really distracting.
  5. Gate Guru: Along with my reasoning for iExit about planning my food and coffee, I like to do this in airports as well.  This is also really important with a kid because I can’t wander the airport looking for the perfect food.  Gate Guru tells me exactly what food is in each terminal and which gate it is located at.  I can plan exactly what food we will get before we ever get off the plane. 
  6. Mamava: This app is lower on my list because breastfeeding was temporary and I’m currently not breastfeeding.  However, it was a life-saver while I was breastfeeding. Along with using Gate Guru to plan my food, I used Mamava to plan where I could nurse or pump.  This app told me exactly where the nursing mother rooms are in each airport.
  7. Starbucks: This isn’t really a travel app, but it’s one of my most used apps while traveling.  Mama needs coffee after all.
  8. GasBuddy: As a mom, I’m all about saving money. This app makes it super easy to find the best gas prices where ever we are. 
  9. Southwest Entertainment app: Keeping my husband entertained while flying is as important as keeping my son entertained. The Southwest entertainment app provides free TV and movies that hubby can watch on his cell phone.
  10. Flight Board: This app is helpful in a variety of situations.  If you have a quick connection, you can check your connecting flight info as soon as you land.  If you are in a crazy busy airport, this app saves you the hassle of finding the flight boards in the airport.  If you have a long connection, it can be nice to find a somewhat empty corner of the airport for baby to stretch or nap.  This app allows you to keep track of your flight status when there is no flight board in sight.

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There you have it.  My top 10 travel apps for traveling with kids. My 10-month old son has been on 10 round-trip flights, so take a page out of my book and have these apps in your arsenal when you take a trip with kids (but they are helpful for traveling on your own too).  If you like apps, make sure to check out my full travel app post here which contains over 20 FREE travel apps to make your travels with kids a little bit easier.

For more information on traveling with kids, check out my super detailed post with all my best hints.  You can find it here.

Make sure to grab my FREE packing list for flying with babies here.

My Top 10 Travel Apps