10 Apps That Make Business Travel Less Stressful4:15 PM EST Tue. Sep. 18, 2012
One of the first things that come to mind when planning for a business trip are directions, and that usually means a GPS is needed. Not only do smartphones make for excellent turn-by-turn companions, but they can also help ease the travel experience with other useful apps.
Here are 10 apps from the CRN Test Center's Daily App blog that will help counteract some of the frustrations that often accompany business trips.
To commence the guided travel app tour, first turn right into GateGuru for Android and iOS, the free app that can help make organizing travel itineraries and navigating through airports easy. GateGuru not only provides flight information but also gives real-time feedback on eats, drinks, gifts and other airport services and amenities. It includes information for more than 120 airports, including ones in the U.S. and some in Europe and Asia. GateGuru also provides reviews, opinions and photos from fellow travelers about the quality of food, service, atmosphere and other information, often in real time.
The app links with Kayak and TripIt travel services as well as Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.
Sometimes a GPS will not always turn you in the right direction while on the road, so consider using YPmobile for Android and iOS, a free app that provides categorized business listings, menus, hours, directions and user reviews that YPmobile brings straight to a smartphone or other mobile device. What's more, the free app can even find the lowest gas prices in the immediate area. YPmobile can be used to find coffee shops, bars and restaurants, pizza places, banks, hotels, movie theaters, auto mechanics and rentals, hospitals, dentist offices, grocery stores, taxi services and much more. It also can search for local businesses that offer a Wi-Fi hot spot. If a location other than your current one is desired, simply enter an address or zip code to change the search results. The app works over Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G. There could not be a more useful app when traveling in an unfamiliar area.
Sometimes we drive with our head in the clouds. Fortunately, PocketCloud for Android and iOS is a free app that uses the cloud to view files, launch apps and access any resource available from a host machine to a mobile device over Wi-Fi and 3G/4G mobile networks. Since a computer may not always be available during travel, the ability to access computer files on the go makes the PocketCloud a convenient travel companion. PocketCloud can connect to machines running Linux, Mac OS X (10.6) and Windows (7, XP, Vista) and systems running RDP or VNC remote protocols using their IP address or hostname.
Business travel usually means meetings, which definitely means that a reliable note-taking method is needed. Evernote for Android and iOS is a free app that can turn a number of devices into an unforgettable memory source. With an easy-to-use interface that provides quick note-taking abilities that can capture memories as audio, attachments or pictures, Evernote automatically syncs every note across all personal devices. Adding titles, description and tags to pictures can help to create a customizable outlet for quick searches and reminders. The search bar makes finding memories easy; by typing in a word or two, the files will appear in a list for easy retrieval. Notes can be shared with contacts or on social networks. Evernote also can access offline data and data that’s been edited from other devices or locked with a passcode.
No more scrambling through luggage for printed itineraries. WorldMate for Android and iOS helps keep travel information at the traveling business person's fingertips, helping users plan and book trips, hotels, locations and meetings and update flight information and track rental cars. It can even provide weather updates in a single place. WorldMate also sends reminders, provides driving directions along the routes of all your meetings, and links with more than 900 airlines to search for alternative routes when necessary. There's even a currency converter that updates daily.
When you travel, say more than just hi with SayHi for iOS. This $0.99 translation app can make speaking a foreign language as easy as speaking your own. Once the primary language has been set and a phrase has been spoken or typed into the app, the chosen secondary language will translate the phrase and read it aloud in almost perfect dictation. SayHi offers 33 languages, including Arabic, French, German and Swedish, as well as dialects such as Mexican Spanish.
Translated phrases can be spoken back in a male or female voice and made slower or faster. Common questions and other favorite phrases can be saved for quick access, and a pop-up menu makes it easy to mark favorites and share or play them back.
Word Lens for Android and iOS will make your head do a U-turn with its ability to use the phone's camera as a visual translator. Word Lens is a text translation app that instantly converts text from one language to another through the phone's camera. Using the same method used for picture taking, the app will capture the image's text and immediately convert the text into the desired language; Word Lens does not require French and Italian conversions. The app is free, but each language pack costs $4.99. There's also a search bar where words can be typed in and translated.
Finding a hot spot is easier said than done, especially in an unfamiliar area. WorkSnug for Android and iOS is a free Wi-Fi locator app that can steer you to a snug place to work. Like Word Lens, it also uses the device's camera to superimpose the device's whereabouts, with the exception that the bubbles on the screen now show hot-spot locations, rather than street signs. This technique is called augmented reality. Hot spots pop up with the location's name, address, distance, the venue's atmosphere, coffee quality, power availability and whether it’s free or requires payment. In the corner of the screen, WorkSnug also has a Wi-Fi finder map, a sort of radar simulator that shows hot spots as little dots. App users also can add locations, review existing ones and share their experiences.
The worst part about any trip is putting together the expense report after it ends. To help ease the frustration of keeping track of receipts is OneReceipt for iOS, a free travel app that will help collect and maintain those cumbersome pieces of paper with one app. More than snapping a picture and storing receipts in the phone's photo album, this easy-to-use app stores, files and indexes receipts in an organized fashion for quick-and-easy management. It also organizes them by tagging, which in turn creates categories that make searching effortless. OneReceipt can be synced with an email address and to the cloud, and it also provides a monthly spending report with a breakdown of cash flow.
You've finally reached your destination, but all this traveling and information you've gotten along the way may have left you a little overwhelmed. Not a problem -- all you need is a task manager to help get organized. GTasks for iOS is a free app that provides secure synchronization of Gmail and Google Apps to an iOS device, and it also optionally syncs with apps such as Google Tasks, Google Calendar and Google Drive. The stand-alone task manager can sync to-do lists and calendar events between iPhone and iPad devices, and it can also be managed from the app or a personal computer. An Internet or data connection is not required to add new tasks; GTasks will sync updated tasks as soon as an Internet connection is available. Alerts may be set according to time, and for devices running iOS 5.0 and above, they can be set by GPS location as well.
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