Booked your flight for your winter getaway? The easy part is over. But before you get to the fun part, there's the hard part: navigating the airport. These apps can help you survive what is often the most frustrating part of any vacation or trip.


(iOS, Android; $3.99)

If you're one of those obsessive types who incessantly checks the arrivals and departures board at the airport, now you can check the board while you're packing at home or on your way to the airport. FlightBoard has arrival and departure information that is updated every five minutes for more than 3,000 airports and 1,400 airlines. And despite the down-to-earth information, the app soars stylishly. Developers say they used the board at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris as their design inspiration.


(iOS, Android; free)

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The official app from the Transportation Security Administration -- the folks who will greet you before you are allowed to board your plane -- allows you to check estimated waiting times at TSA security checkpoints at U.S. airports. Be forewarned: Some travelers have said the information is not always updated in real time and the estimates may be off. Perhaps most useful, the app has a "Can I Bring" search feature, in case you're unsure whether you can get that 2- liter bottle of Mountain Dew through the checkpoint.


(iOS, Android; free)

TripIt is an extremely useful travel companion at the airport and beyond. The app centralizes your travel itinerary along with offering a to-do list for when you arrive. You can access your itinerary offline, so you don't have to blow all your discretionary travel spending on airport Wi-Fi. And since you can share your itinerary via email or social media, Uncle Bill has no excuse why he didn't pick you up at the airport.

Airport Car Rental

(iOS, Android; free)

Perhaps you forgot to book a rental car, or didn't realize you would need one until you were on your way to the airport. This app offers rental car options available at most major airports from several companies. You can book your car through the app and receive instant confirmation.



Ad infinitum

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Feel as if you are being bombarded by ads on your desktop computer and mobile devices? The barrage will soon get worse. Photo-sharing app Instagram, which has been ad-free, says it will begin displaying "occasional" advertisements. And some users are reporting seeing ads in Google's newly updated Gmail app for Android, according to the Android Police website. The ads are appearing in a "Promotions" folder.


Nielsen, Twitter join forces


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When it comes to TV shows, what people watch and what they tweet about may be different. Nielsen and Twitter have launched the Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings, which the companies call "a measure of TV-related conversation on Twitter." Last week, the ABC show "Scandal" topped the Nielsen Twitter list though it was only No. 10 on the regular Nielsen list of most-watched shows.


For a song


Apple's iTunes Store is the world's most popular music download site, but a comparison shopping website says it is usually not the cheapest. DealNews says its survey of online music stores found that 84 percent of the time, the top 20 albums on Billboard's weekly chart cost less to download from Amazon's music store than from iTunes. DealNews says Amazon consistently offers special discounts while iTunes rarely does.