I’ve been a frequent business traveler for more years than I care to count. During that time, some aspects of business travel have gotten worse (like crowds, TSA checkpoints and airline legroom) but others have gotten much, much better (like airfares, hotel beds and mobile apps).
Mobile apps can streamline business travel in ways unheard of even 10 years ago—and they’re getting more sophisticated every year. Here are 23 great mobile apps for business travelers to check out. (Unless otherwise indicated, all are free.)
- Tripit: Forward all your hotel, flight, car rental, and restaurant confirmations to the app and it automatically creates a master itinerary for you. View it any time, on any device, even when you’re offline. The Tripit Pro plan ($49/year) comes with lots of additional features, like real-time flight alerts, rewards tracking and automatically sharing your itinerary with your chosen circle, that are more than worth it for a frequent traveler.
- TravelBank: Find flights and hotels with 24/7 concierge assistance and access to travel agents via phone, email or chat. You and your employees can snap photos of receipts and the app scans and processes them in seconds. TravelBank estimates the cost of your trip using the average prices of hotels, flights and food in the area you’re visiting on the dates you’ll be there—a useful feature for budget-minded entrepreneurs. You can even earn extra rewards points from TravelBank on top of your airline, car rental, and hotel points.
- Google Trips: If your business relies on a lot of Google apps, consider adding Google Trips to your arsenal. Google Trips gathers your travel information from Gmail and your inbox, then organizes it automatically so all your flight, hotel, and car rental details are in one place (and can be viewed offline). Are you mixing business with pleasure? Google Trips automatically maps out a half day or full day of suggestions for things to see and do in the local area, such as restaurants, museums, and attractions.
Flights and Hotels
- Hopper: Looking for the best flight and hotel room at the lowest price can eat up hours of a small business owner’s day. Hopper saves time and money by telling you when to book—and when to wait—for both flights and hotels. You can book flights and hotels directly through Hopper, which claims to have 95% accuracy at predicting prices up to a year in advance.
- FLIO: No need to download separate airport apps: With FLIO, you’ll always know your flight status at more than 5,000 airports around the world. FLIO tracks arrivals and departures, helps you access Wi-Fi, and gives you airport-specific directories and tips like where to charge your phone. You also get discounts on products, services and access to airport lounges at participating airports.
- HotelTonight: Are you stuck at the airport due to a canceled flight? Did a last-minute business trip arise? Use the HotelTonight app to find last-minute, deep discounts on hotels’ unsold rooms and book your stay. You can also book deals up to a year in advance.
- MileIQ: Once installed on your phone, the MileIQ app works in the background, automatically logging miles when you start driving (no need to turn it on or off). The app creates a detailed record of mileage; swipe left or right to categorize a trip as Business or Personal. The free version tracks mileage for up to 40 trips per month.
- GasBuddy: On a road trip in an unfamiliar place? Find the closest gas station and the cheapest gas with the GasBuddy app. No more worries about getting lost in an unsafe neighborhood or running out of gas.
- Shoeboxed: Get your expense receipts out of that old shoebox and into the cloud with this app designed for small businesses. Simply take a picture of a receipt and Shoeboxed extracts the data from it. The app also lets you use your phone’s built-in GPS for easy, accurate mileage tracking. It integrates with almost every popular accounting program.
- Expensify: If your employees travel frequently, Expensify can simplify everyone’s lives. Scan and organize receipts and expenses with the app, then create custom reports, reimburse expenses directly within the app and more. Expensify integrates with QuickBooks and Xero; it costs $5/user.
- Xerox Web Capture: Using cloud-based storage and collaboration apps like Box, OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Office 365 is the first step to working remotely on the road. Next, use Xerox Web Capture to scan and save the documents you’ll need on your trip. (It works with any brand of scanner.)
- @PrintBy Xerox: @PrintByXerox app enables easy printing from email when you’re on the road. Just send an email to Print@PrintByXerox.com with any attachments you want to print. Then use your password at a Xerox device running the @PrintByXerox app to release your print job.
- Xerox® Mobile Link App: Use this app to scan, fax and print from your phone or tablet by connecting with Xerox® multifunction printers (MFPs). You can also send data to cloud storage—just scan and store your expense receipts, client business cards and any other documents you collect on your trip, and you won’t have to worry about losing them.
- Xerox Mobile Print Solution: What happens when you need to print on the road, but you’re worried about document security? The Xerox® Mobile Print Solution app uses GPS to locate printers in public print networks and securely print to them with just a few steps, saving you time and worry.
- LoungeBuddy: Access any of the airport lounges in the LoungeBuddy network even if you don’t have memberships or frequent-flier status. Use the app to view participating lounges and buy access the same day or up to two months in advance.
- Workfrom: Use this app to search the local area for workspaces for remote workers or business travelers. From coffee shops and cafes to official “coworking spaces,” you can filter results by things like noise level, Wi-Fi signal strength or late-night hours.
- WiFi Map: Stop eating up your data and find the closest free Wi-Fi hotspot with this app. Users crowdsource the hotspots so the information is always up to date.
- Encrypt.me: Encrypt.me establishes a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that encrypts your connection to public networks so you can use public Wi-Fi securely. Whether you’re browsing the web or using apps, everything you do on your laptop, smartphone and tablet will be secured. One account works across all your devices. Accounts start at $9.99 per month, but you can also get short “Passes” starting at $3.99 for one week, for business trips.
- 20. 21. Uber or Lyft: If you don’t already have one of these ride-share apps, download both before your next business trip. Instead of dealing with cash or credit cards in a taxi, you can hail a ride anywhere and the charges go straight onto the credit card affiliated with your account. (If you prefer cabs, check out the Curb app.)
- Dayuse.com: Got a long layover during a business trip, or time to kill before your flight? Use Dayuse.com to book a hotel room for the day that you can use to shower, nap, work, use the fitness center or whatever. Prices are up to 75% off regular overnight rates.
- PackPoint: Automate packing (well, almost) with this app. Just tell it your destination, length of stay, and purpose of trip, and PackPoint checks the weather forecast and generates a packing list for you. The app integrates with Tripit.
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