What Siri is to iPhone, Alexa is to the Amazon Echo and its sister devices. Alexa is Amazon's super smart home assistant, who can give you access to an ever-growing reservoir of capabilities known as "skills" with just the sound of your voice. As it turns out, Alexa can do much, much more than just play your favorite songs, make phone calls, play Jeopardy!, and give you the daily weather forecast. She is also a travel assistant who can help you plan your next vacation.
You may even want to bring your Alexa-enabled device with you when you travel. While Alexa Tap is designed as a portable device, you can also travel with your Alexa Echo or Echo Dot as long as your hotel or vacation rental has electricity and access to a wi-fi network. When you arrive at your destination, just plug in your Amazon device, go to set up in the Alexa app, and you're good to go.
There are always new Alexa skills launching, including local guides to destinations ranging from New York City to Kuala Lumpur. These can be added and subtracted to your armory of skills as needed. Meanwhile, here are some of the most widely useful travel skills available on Alexa right now.
Expedia for Alexa can provide details for your upcoming trips, check your flight status, book a rental car, remind you what to pack, and check your loyalty points. Note that all of this requires linking with an Expedia account.
Ask: "Alexa, ask Expedia what time is my flight" or "Alexa, ask Expedia to reserve a rental car." The skill will prompt you for additional information as necessary and then provide options.
Want to research airfares for a future trip? The Kayak skill can give you estimates and track airfares. You can also book a hotel with the power of your voice.
Ask: "Alexa, ask Kayak where I can fly for $500" or "Alexa, ask Kayak how much it costs to fly from Charlotte to Montreal" or "Alexa, ask Kayak to book a hotel in Orlando." After prompting you for additional information such as travel dates, the skill will eventually provide a set of options and price ranges.
If you want to know how long it will take you to drive to your destination in current traffic conditions, Alexa can find out for you.
Ask: "Alexa, Ask My ETA how long it will take to drive to Dallas if I leave at 4 pm."
Airport Security Line Wait Times
Nothing makes your heart sink like arriving at the airport and catching sight of an ungodly long TSA line. A better idea: Use the Airport Security Line Wait Times skill to get a heads up on projected security wait times at over 450 airports around the United States using the last-reported information from the TSA.
Ask: "Alexa, ask Security Line what is the wait time at JFK terminal 4?"
Uber & Lyft
Need a ride to the airport? You can order an car through Uber just by asking Alexa and an UberX will arrive within minutes. You can also change your default pickup location, ask for a ride status, or cancel your reservation.
Ask: "Alexa, ask Uber to request a ride." or "Alexa, ask Lyft how much a Lyft Plus costs to go the airport."
Looking for tickets to a specific event or show? You can find out about events in your home city or set StubHub to another location and find out what's happening on a specific date.
Ask: "Alexa, ask StubHub what is happening in Boston this weekend" or "Alexa, ask StubHub to find tickets to the Green Bay Packers game on November 3rd."
Want to try out a specific restaurant? Using the OpenTable skill, Alexa will ask you a few quick questions and within seconds will confirm your reservation at any of thousands of restaurants.
Ask: "Alexa, ask OpenTable to make a reservation."
Whether you have an upcoming flight or are picking up a friend from the airport, Flight Tracker can give you the latest flight status for a given flight departing on the day that you make the request. All you need is the airline name and flight number.
Ask: "Alexa, ask Flight Tracker for Delta 2643."
Planning an international trip? Figuring out the visa requirements for international travel is a snap for Alexa. Just say your country of citizenship and which country you plan to visit, and this skill will tell you if you need a visa or not, along with any other specific requirements.
Ask: "Alexa, ask Visa Requirements for American citizens to go to Thailand."
The Smart Trip skill is your go-to guide for planning road trips. You can find out the distance, time it takes to drive, and fuel costs between any two U.S. cities.
Ask: "Alexa, ask Smart Trip how much gas will cost if I drive from Miami to Chicago."
Is your high school Spanish rusty? Use the Translated skill to ask Alexa to translate short sentences from English into 36 languages. Alexa will read out the translation for you so you can learn how to pronounce it. You can say "slow down" or "repeat" for clarification.
Ask: "Alexa, ask Translated how do you say 'How are you?' in Swedish?" or "Alexa, ask Translated to say 'Thank you very much' in Italian."