Holiday travel is such a drag, it has spawned its own movie genre. With labor shortages disrupting the airline industry and passenger numbers predicted by many to return to near pre-pandemic levels, this winter will be no exception. These four Colorado startups, however, can ease at least some of the slog.


It’s easy to like Arvada-based Trip30 for its ability to keep travel details organized and accessible. Simply plug in your flight numbers, accommodations, activities, and ground transportation, and the free web-based platform generates a searchable, shareable itinerary accessible as both a traditional step-by-step list and a Google-style map. But we fell in love with Trip30 when we learned it automatically calculates travel times and routes between all our destinations, whatever our mode of transportation.


Most major airlines demand around $30 for your first checked bag. Budget carriers like Allegiant and Frontier can exact as much as $75 for a carry-on. Starting at $49 one way, TripHero may charge a premium, but in exchange, the Vail company picks up your luggage at your door and delivers it to your final destination. (FedEx handles the cross-country transit.) Trust us: The freedom you’ll feel walking through an airport without a single bag digging into your shoulder is worth the extra cash.


Unlike many of its rivals, which usually amount to squishy horse collars, the BR2 travel pillow ($60) from Boulder-based Bullbird is made of memory foam wrapped around a semirigid plastic frame—meaning it doesn’t just support your head, it also promotes good posture by keeping your upper spine aligned. And at just 6.5 ounces and around 80 percent of the size of most traditional travel pillows, it’s sleek enough to keep you from feeling like a dork should an alluring stranger take the seat next to you.


Desperate to avoid your conspiracy-theorist uncle? Don’t waste time wading through the negativity on sites like Yelp—where up to 15 percent of posts may be bogus anyway, according to one recent study—to find an escape. Boulder-based Pao doesn’t allow negative reviews. Instead, members of the worldwide recommendation app meets social media platform only share events, restaurants, and experiences they adore. So while you’ll still have to account for other users’ sense of taste, you won’t have to filter through hate while you do it.

This article was originally published in 5280 December 2021.
Nicholas Hunt
Nicholas Hunt
Nicholas writes and edits the Compass, Adventure, and Culture sections of 5280 and writes for