In 2010, I attended a mining conference in Zambia and had to fly through OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. My flight was confirmed at the last minute and I had to run through security to make my boarding time for the flight. If I was not familiar with the airport, this could have turned into a disaster.
Make sure you don’t experience this stress by making use of an airport navigation app.
Make sure that you are using an international prepaid SIM card to remain connected on your trip abroad.
FlightBoard is like an airport departures/arrivals board for your pocket.
- Real-time readouts of flight numbers, destinations, gates, and departure times for more than 3,000 airports around the world.
- A single tap on a flight in the list will give you detailed info, such as aircraft type and operator. It’s a fun (and practical) resource for delayed travelers and aviation enthusiasts alike
Downloads: Flight Board (iOS) 4.8 star rating, Flight Board (Android) 3.9 star rating, over 500 000 downloads.
Planning an international vacation? Make use of a top travel app.
Further reading: Top 110 Best travel apps (2022 International tourist guide).
FlightStats is a free real-time flight status and airport tracking application.
- Quickly access worldwide flight status by flight number, airport or route
- Watch flights as they move across the world on our gorgeous flight tracker
- Scan essential information like departure/arrival times, delay indexes, gates and weather
Downloads: FlightStats (iOS) 4.8 star rating, FlightStats (Android) 4.3 star rating, over 1 million downloads.
Are you wondering how many times your favourite travel app has been downloaded?
Further reading: Top 10 most downloaded travel apps (2022 Tourist guide).
Track planes in real-time above your head, or all over the world.
- Extended flight history (also available to any FlightAware user with extended flight history access)
- Photo Gallery enhancements
- User Experience further optimized by user updates.
Downloads: FlightAware Flight Tracker (iOS) 4.8 star rating, FlightAware Flight Tracker (Android) 3.7 star rating, over 10 million downloads
Do you know what a travel app is and the benefits that they can offer you?
Further Reading: What are travel apps & why every tourist needs them.
LoungeBuddy is the only App that makes it possible for all travellers to view, book, and access airport lounges around the world in seconds.
- Lounge Access Wizard – Learn what lounges you may access for free or a one time fee based on your trip, class of service, and any elite status, memberships, or credit cards you may have.
- Trips – Create trips to keep track of your travel plans.
- Airport coverage around the world – Look up over 800 of the busiest and most popular airports in the world (2000+ lounges).
Downloads: LoungeBuddy Airport Lounges (iOS) 4.3 star rating
Remaining connected when you are travelling abroad is important.
Further reading: What is international roaming & how it works.
Planes Live Free is a simple yet powerful flight tracking tool that lets you watch the planes online all over the world and get up-to-date information on flights instantly.
- Planes Nearby. Easily spot planes in your general area. In the Nearby section of the map, you can view planes, photos, routes, and the plane’s distance from you.
- Bug Fixes. View the plane’s details on the map with a tap. We tuned up the response time to show you the route, speed, altitude, and more without delay.
Downloads: Planes Live – Flight Tracker (iOS) 4.8 star rating, Planes Live – Flight Tracker, 4.2 star rating, over 1 million downloads
International roaming can be expensive. However, there are ways to avoid them.
Further reading: How to avoid roaming charges (2022 Travellers guide)
5 Airport navigation tips
Navigating an airport can be tricky. Here are some helpful tips to make this a hassle free experience:
- Arrive in the right spot — and at the right time. Follow the signs at your respective airport to make sure you find the correct terminal building for your flight;
- Check in. Once you enter the airport, the first thing you should do is check in (if you haven’t done so already online);
- Once you’ve checked your luggage and gotten your boarding pass, you should go to the TSA checkpoint leading to the proper concourse for your flight;
- Find your gate. Once you’ve been cleared through security, follow the signs to your gate; and
- Wait near the gate.
It is also important to note that in most airports, boarding announcements are reserved exclusively for international flights. If you are taking a connecting flight that is domestic, you need to be aware of where you need to go and what time you need to be there.
How to navigate an airport with kids
Children are bursting with excitement when travelling abroad. They often do not know how to manage this excitement and can be a challenge in busy places like an airport.
Here are some key tips to navigating an airport with children:
- In the days leading up to your trip, sit in the rear seat with your child as your partner drives around town during your family outings. This allows you to talk to your child about what it will be like on the airplane;
- Having your child pick out a small backpack that fits them well gives them a sense of trip buy-in and importance. Have them wear it in the days beforehand to get used to it and identify any issues (such as overloading);
- Make a note of what your kids are wearing before arriving at the airport, and consider even taking a photo of them;
- “Never pass up a restroom” is the parent’s creed, but never more so when flying. When boarding or choosing your seats online, consider getting a seat close to the restrooms; and
- It should go without saying, but video devices should have earphones. This is a courtesy to other travellers, but also earphones cut down on the sensory overload found at airports and airplanes.
There are significant benefits to travelling abroad.
Further reading: 20 Benefits of travelling abroad (2022 International tourist guide)
Navigating an airport can create a lot of anxiety as there are a lot of people and noise which can cause a sensory overload. Make sure you know how your airport navigation app works before you need to use it.
Airport Navigation apps FAQ
- Are some airports busier than others?
Yes. However, you will most likely be flying into a major transportation hub when you first land in the country that you are travelling to. There are very busy airports. Over 76 million people travel through the Atlanta Airport every year.
- Will the airport announce that my flight is boarding??
Most airports reserve these announcements for international flights only. If one of your flights is a domestic flight, you will need to know where you are going.
- Can I ask for help in an airport?
Yes, airport security will point you to a help desk.
- Will I need to have online connectivity to use an airport navigation ap?
Yes. These apps provide live updates which requires you to have connectivity.
- Will my airport navigation app include content that is presented in my language of preference?
Most apps are build in English. However, most apps let you change your language of preference