The proliferation of smartphones, and the accompanying applications, has made life a lot easier for business travelers. With hundreds of thousands of apps to choose from, though, how do you know which apps will be useful and which apps will simply clutter your phone? Over the last two years I’ve taken dozens of business trips and based on my firsthand experiences, I’ve narrowed the list down to 13 must-have apps for the business traveler.
1. TripIt: TripIt was the first travel app that I downloaded because I had a hard time keeping track of both my travel accommodations and my husband’s. TripIt is a free app that creates an itinerary for your trips based on email confirmations. You forward your email confirmation to TripIt and the app creates an easy-to-use itinerary based on the trip. With one tap you can look at your flight information, hotel reservations and car rental information. No more digging through your email to find confirmation numbers.
2. PackingPro: Have you ever arrived at your destination only to discover that you forgot something important, say a pair of dress shoes? You either have to buy a new pair of shoes or wear your sneakers with your suit to the meeting. With PackingPro you will never forget another item. You can use pre-existing packing templates or create your own.
3. Fly Delta: If your airline has an app, download it and use it religiously. I typically fly on Delta Air Lines and so I have the Fly Delta app on both my iPhone and my iPad. I can change my reservations, book new flights and more right from the app.
4. Seatguru: Seatguru is a great app for business travelers who aren’t tied to a specific airline. With the app you can browse flights, locate seat maps for flights on dozens of airlines, and compare different airlines based on seat sizes, legroom and amenities.
Maps and Local Resources
5. Google Maps: When Apple removed Google Maps from the iPhone, I was one of those outspoken dissatisfied customers. Now that it is back, I’m continuing to sing its praises. I’ve never been led astray by Google Maps and so it will always have a home on my iPhone.
6. TripAdvisor: TripAdvisor is a comprehensive travel app. You can search for hotels and restaurants near you, browse the forums for input from other readers, find fun things to do in the area in the event you have free time and so much more.
7. Yelp: I’ve been a fan of Yelp for years. I use it to find restaurants when I travel and for the most part, I’ve agreed with the site’s recommendations. If I’m unsure of a suggestion, I’ll cross-reference the ratings with TripAdvisor.
Productivity and utilities
8. Google Drive: I was far from impressed when the Google Drive app was originally released. Now that I can edit spreadsheets and documents, I’m sold on the app. The biggest benefit of Google Drive, in my opinion, is that the documents are stored in the cloud. Documents I worked on at home are available to me on the road, regardless of my location.
9. Flashlight: My toes are thankful for the flashlight app. When you’re in a dark and unfamiliar hotel room and have to use the restroom in the middle of the night, you run the risk of jamming your toe into a piece of furniture or the wall. This one little free app has prevented many injuries.
10. Compass: I’m the kind of girl that always wants to know where I’m at and if I don’t know which way north is, I don’t know where I’m at. I don’t just use this when I’m off hiking in Yellowstone; I use the compass when I’m in the middle of a metropolitan area. This app may not make an appearance on most must-have business traveler app lists but it is on mine.
11. The Weather Channel: If you’re traveling to Denver in February you want to know whether it is going to snow or rain. If you’re on a Route 66 road trip in Tornado Alley, you want to know if there are going to be thunderstorms. With The Weather Channel app you can keep on top of the weather and plan accordingly.
12. Translate: I have only used the translate app a handful of times over the past few years but when I needed a quick and dirty translation, it came in handy. Translate probably isn’t the best app for international travelers but it is good enough to help get a message across when you run into someone who doesn’t speak English.
13. Skype: When I’m on the road for business I can still help my children with homework thanks to Skype and Facetime. Facetime is device-specific but Skype can be used cross-platform, which makes it a must-have app for business travelers who want to keep in touch with family back home.
If you travel for business, what are your favorite mobile apps?
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