Get Down to Business with Apps for Travel

By Melissa Warten July 29, 2013

A business trip isn’t just about getting from point A to point B – you have to optimize the space in between. Luckily, there are apps to guide you along every step of the way. Whether it’s traveling with ease, making the most of your meetings, or enjoying a break, check out these apps to find the ones that best suit your needs.

1)      Traveling

When you’re on a tight schedule, turn to your mobile device for help. TripIt organizes all of your travel information into one master itinerary, working with apps like Avis, Hotwire and TaxiMagic to streamline all the details you need into the palm of your hand. Flight check-ins, directions and weather updates are all included in the itinerary, and can even be imported based on information in your e-mail. Furthermore, TripIt for Teams provides itineraries, spending reports and calendars across multiple members. 

Once you reach your destination, you have to get familiar with the area. If you don’t feel like wandering around to find a restaurant or convention center, HopStop will find information on the public transit systems in your area, with details for over 300 cities worldwide. The app lets you access schedules, maps and real-time alerts for arrivals and departures. And even if you do feel like walking from place to place, HopStop can estimate how many calories you burned and carbon emissions you saved.

But what if you arrive at a local coffee shop to get a head start on a morning’s work, and you can’t access their Wi-Fi? Try an app such as Wi-Fi Finder, which finds hotspots and public Wi-Fi near your location. It provides directions to nearby places and lets you create and share lists of favorite spots. A nice touch to Wi-Fi Finder is its ability to work offline; installing the offline database allows you to easily find accessible Wi-Fi even if you can’t, you know, access Wi-Fi.

From the moment you walk into the airport, these travel apps will help you get to work. Which leads us to more apps for…

2)      Work

Because that’s what you’re here for, right? And you don’t want to miss a minute of important information. Invest in Evernote and you can make sure you take note of everything. You can type notes right into the interface, include clips of websites or files, or even scan in handwritten notes to be neatly translated into type. Evernote syncs information across all of your devices, so if your laptop dies in a lecture, you can pick up where you left off via your smartphone. There’s also a division of Evernote for businesses, allowing colleagues to easily share and access notes. 

For a standalone file-sharing app, Dropbox is an easy-to-use option. Documents saved in Dropbox can be accessed from your computer, phone or tablet to be edited and shared anywhere. With specific management tools, your entire team of workers can access the same information, with easy adjustment features to control who sees what. Two gigabytes of space offers plenty of storage, eliminating the hassle of emailing large files back and forth, and Dropbox saves changes instantly.

As your work gets done, your expenses can start adding up. Enter Certify Mobile, which allows mobile storage of expense reports. Snapping a photo of a receipt will auto-fill its data into the Certify system; you can even take a picture of a parking meter or the tip you leave a waiter, and Certify will translate the information. It works offline so you won’t forget an expense while waiting for signal, and managers can approve your report via mobile as soon as it’s available.

These apps will keep your work going smoothly and efficiently – leaving you time to download even more apps for…

3)      Entertainment

All work and no play take the fun out of a trip, so give yourself a break. Although apps like Hulu Plus and Netflix offer TV and movie streaming, check in with your home cable provider before you leave for your trip – numerous providers today offer mobile apps that let you stream a much wider array of media, so long as you have a subscription. Apps for providers such as Time Warner, Cablevision and Comcast let you take TV with you on your travels, and some even allow access to live TV streaming in addition to on-demand so you can keep up with your favorite shows.

For communication via video, ooVoo lets you video chat your friends, finding contacts in your address book, Facebook or other social media accounts. Its free app supports video chatting with up to 12 people at once (although you won’t be able to see more than four at a time on a mobile screen), and lets you call mobile phones or landlines over an Internet connection. There’s also a feature that lets you share photos and documents during a video chat. Not only could this be a great post-conference discussion tool, but it lets you keep in touch with people at home.

If you’re looking for a unique way to let the family know how you’re doing, try Postagram, an app that lets you create a postcard via mobile to send via snail mail. You can import pictures from your camera, Facebook or Instagram, add a custom message and enter an address to which the card can be sent. Snail mail meets social media in a way that’s easy and fun.

So before you depart on that next business trip, add these apps to your mobile device – and see how they take you to point A, point B and everywhere in between.



Contributing Writer

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