Waiting is rarely easy, and almost never enjoyable, but it’s an inevitable part of travel. During the dark ages, conventional wisdom suggested that one show up well in advance in case of any snags along the way. But these days technology is enabling us to guess less and anticipate more. From theme parks to restaurants to airport security lines, we’ve rounded up the best apps available for those who don’t want to waste time standing around.
Undercover Tourist: If you’re heading to Orlando, arguably the theme park capital of the U.S., you’ll want to download this ahead of time. Made famous for listing wait times and queue curves for Disney World’s portfolio of rides, the updated version now includes wait times for Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando as well. If you’re planning to be out all day, consider bringing a battery pack, too, in case your phone passes out before you do.
Busch Gardens Discovery Guide: Busch Gardens is a great day trip for visitors to Williamsburg and Tampa alike. With this app, not only will you have the descriptions of the rides and their wait times, you’ll also find the day’s schedule of events, parades, and musical events at your fingertips.
NoWait: If you’re in a major city, getting a bite at a hot eatery can be a challenge. With this app, you can easily canvas the waits at restaurants nearby, and put your name on the list — even at places that don’t accept reservations.
Reserve: This is a new app, operating only in New York, L.A., Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago for now. It’s not so much about assessing wait time as much as making reservations, much like Opentable. But the app is noteworthy for two reasons: a reservation means no wait at all, and once you’re done eating, the bill is taken care of through the app — and can be split amongst multiple parties, no wallets required.
My TSA: For frequent fliers who tend to cut things close, this app gives you a peek at security wait times at specific checkpoints, helping you to arrive in plenty of time to make your flight. If you’re an infrequent traveler, you’ll also appreciate easy access to guides on what you can (and can’t) bring along, plus what to expect once you’re at the airport.
Waze: If you spend most of your time commuting via roadway, Waze is a must-have app. It’s part turn-by-turn navigation, part accident tracker — and when combined, you HAVE a tool that constantly checks the route ahead of you for snags. If it detects slow traffic, also reported by its users, you’ll be re-routed to save as much time as possible.
Have any other digital tools to monitor waits and keep things humming? Let us know in the comments below!