Smart phones and tablets such as the iPad have become our travel companions. Here are seven of my favorite apps to make your life easier and more productive for your business and also personal travel. There are a great deal more apps-- we have focused on the ones that can and will help you with domestic and international travel, unless otherwise indicated.
TripIt: Keeping track of flight itineraries, hotel information, car rental documents and so forth can be a real challenge. TripIt will keep track of your schedules. All you do is forward or copy your information to TripIt. I have been using the free version-- the paid version will also keep track of your frequent flyer mileage, alert you to flight changes, etc.
You have to feel comfortable with the data sharing and that TripIt knows all your personal information while you are traveling, but so does your credit card company.
Waze: I love Waze. Having been a Google Maps user for a long time, Waze is the next generation traffic app, which provides not only directions but also real time, crowd sourced traffic data. This means that Waze users provide real time input on any traffic situation. As a result, Waze will change your directions to a faster and more appropriate routing. Since Google acquired Waze, I wouldn’t be surprised if this real time data will make it into Google Maps ultimately.
If you are into social rewards, Waze will give you rewards for traffic updates or improvements of the mapping and you will increase your social ranking as part of the Waze community. I have reached the status of Waze Warrior thanks to my kids providing active feedback and traffic reports when we drive together. You can also name your Waze emoticon. Look out for the WIZE PIG, that’s me. Don’t ask how we came up with the name.
Hopstop: Useful only for domestic travelers, Hopstop provides great information for using public transportation. Even though Google has now started to integrate public transportation schedules, this specialized app does an excellent job providing you with specific directions and schedules.
Tracking expenses is a constant headache while traveling. Here are two suggestions to ease the pain. Milebug: It’s a small app to keep track of your mileage and expenses such as tolls and parking. Expensify covers all your expenses. I admit that I am not yet a consistent user of any app to track my non-driving travel expenses. In order to use any of these apps, check with your finance department so that you don’t get into trouble for providing insufficient proof of your expenses. Expensify will let you take photos of your receipts and categorize them.
Evernote: My favorite note taker. It’s cross-platform compatible and syncs your content automatically. So you take notes (written, audio, screenshots, etc) on your iPad and the same content will be automatically available on your desktop or phone. Furthermore, you can tag your content to find it more easily.
I have been using the free version for years and I am getting close to reaching my large storage allocation, so I may have to move to the paid app ($45 per year), which includes search of pdfs and other benefits.
Cloudon: I use multiple cloud-based storage systems, including Dropbox, Google docs and Box. Each of these systems has its own well functioning app. Cloudon is a useful aggregator of all these storage systems and it also allows you to display the documents via Word, Powerpoint, and Excel which can be handy.
If you have other favorite apps useful for travel, please add your suggestions. We’ll be happy to update this blog or publish a sequence with more suggestions.