Layovers don’t have to be a pain in the derrière. This app points you to short-term hotel stays, tours and travel deals to help you fill the hours.
Name: Smart Layover
Available for: Android, BlackBerry, iOS
What it does: Shows travelers on long layovers that they don’t have to be stuck at the airport. Users can find attractions and tours, travel deals and day-use hotel options along with terminal maps and tips. Get flight alert notifications and security wait times too.
What’s hot: You’re not at the mercy of a packed bar or pricey express spa. The “Tours and Attractions” feature connects you to sightseeing tours in more than 140 countries. I really liked the “Smart Insider Tips” that appeared when the deals were loading, including, “You’ll find the best day-use hotel rates between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. For tours, note that most need to be booked more than 24 hours in advance.”
What’s not: It claims that you can get up to 70% off on day-use hotels. But nearly every time I tried to find a day-use hotel it didn’t have any available for layovers of six hours (San Diego), eight hours (London Heathrow and John F. Kennedy) or 12 hours (London Heathrow). I tested the iOS app on my iPhone 4S. Finally, I found a day-use hotel with a 10-hour layover in Paris (Charles de Gaulle), but it didn’t feel like a cut rate at more than $300, only 15% off the regular rate.
Worth it: I’m going to keep my eye on this one. I hope this app just needs a few months to work out the kinks. You can check out the website SmartLayover.com before downloading the app.