Smart Business Travelers Use their Phone: Apps to Ease the Journey

frgrtgerWith a few well-chosen apps on your smartphone, you can become a digital-savvy business traveler and enjoy an advantage by getting the inside track on travel information and resources that will help your trip to go as smoothly as possible.

Here is a look at some of the best travel apps that deserve their place on your smartphone and could prove a useful tool in your battle to ease the burden of business travel.

Make that call

It’s no secret that services like Skype have helped transform the way we make calls and when you want to make cheap international calls to contacts or colleagues it can be a cost-effective way of communicating.

The major drawback with using services like Skype and Whatsapp is that you need a Wi-Fi connection to use them.

If you are staying somewhere like the Marriott Bridgewater or any other hotel with good communication facilities you won’t have a problem getting that Wi-Fi connection, but if you are out of reach or don’t want to pay the access charges there is an alternative that doesn’t need the internet.

If you have an app called Rebtel on your smartphone you will be able to use the technology to route your call through the cheapest local phone line so that you get the best calling rates and don’t need to find a Wi-Fi connection to make that international call.

Secure connection

Another major concern for business travelers when they are hooking up to a local Wi-Fi hotspot is how secure their data is and whether they might be unwittingly giving away sensitive information while they are connected.

One of the best ways to maintain security and a degree of anonymity is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

A VPN will hide your IP address and location so that you have a much greater degree of control and security. One app that is worth considering for this purpose because it works well and is actually easy to use is TunnelBear.

There is a free version to try and you can upgrade to premium if you like what it has to offer.

Worthwhile local intel

The weather has a direct influence on our travel plans and if you are scheduling a trip or a meeting and want to know what to wear and whether you are going to be facing tricky conditions, an app like Accuweather will give you that information.

The app is used by about 1.5 billion people around the globe, which tells you that they get the forecasts right a good deal of the time, so you can rely on what it’s telling you about where you are headed.

A simple solution to time zones

One of the challenges of international business travel is the fact that you often find yourself working in a different time zone and you are constantly trying to calculate the difference when you want to make contact with someone back home or elsewhere.

If you have the Circa app on your phone it will do all the calculations for you and help you keep time across multiple locations and time zones.

A better way to find your way around

For many smartphone users, the default option tends to be Google Maps simply because it is already loaded and doesn’t seem to do a bad job of navigating.

However, you might just change your mind if you download the Citymapper app.

You will find a greater level of detail when using Citymapper and you get real-time disruption alerts along with cycle routes if you want to hire a bike and get around the eco-friendly and healthier way.

Learning the lingo

It always goes down well with locals if you can speak a few well-chosen words of their language and make yourself understood.

The Duolingo app is a bit of a no-brainer if you want to learn the basics of a new language as it it is free to access the bite-size learning platforms for most of the major languages.

You can also test how much you have learned by taking the language proficiency assessment exam before trying out your skills on a native speaker.

If you haven’t managed to brush up your language skills sufficiently and need a quick translation in a hurry there is always Google Translate for some basic help. A useful feature of the app is the ability to hold your camera up to some tex, such as a sign or a menu, and you should get a fairly instant and reasonably accurate translation to help you decipher what you are looking at.

Getting the right flight deal

Regular business travelers are all too familiar with the dilemma of when to book your flights in order to ensure you get what you want at the right price.

Pay too soon and you could easily pay over the odds for your airline ticket and leave it to the last minute and the price might be just as high or there are no seats left.

If you use an app like Hopper it offers to guide you on exactly when to book your flight. The app tells you how far in advance to book your airline ticket for savings up to 40% and their predictions are often highly accurate.

Currency conversions and more

Trying to convert currencies in a hurry can lead to expensive mistakes which is why you want an app that you can rely on to give you the information you need at a glance.

The XE website is a popular online resource and the app is also hugely popular with in excess of 20 million downloads already. Use the XE to get a quick and accurate currency conversion, plus there are some other useful business-orientated features that give you some facts and figures you might find useful on your travels.

Avoiding an awkward moment

If you are meeting up with colleagues or a business contact at a restaurant and want to make sure you split the bill accurately and fairly, there is a better option than scribbling down the numbers on a napkin.

If you want to calculate the tip to leave an app like Tipulator works well, but if you want to share costs and keep track of your expenses as you go, including who paid for what each time, the Splittr app will help you to record that information and calculate expenses for other attendees too.

Stay safe in the sun

You might not be focused on how much time you are exposed to the sun while you are traveling in a warm climate and spending time outdoors, but too much exposure to the sun can soon create problems.

The Wolfram Sun Exposure Reference app is worth having on your smartphone as it gives you a calculation of how long your skin can be exposed to the sun before it starts to burn.

You enter basic information like your skin type and the level of sun protection factor you are using, and the UV forecast for the area will give you a calculation that you can use to avoid damaging your skin.

There are plenty of apps competing for space on your smartphone but when you manage to pick ones like these out of the bunch, they can help ease the burden of business travel.

Published by Kidal Delonix (1193 Posts)

Kidal Delonix is a contributor to Mr. Hoffman's blog. The views and opinions are entirely his/her own and may not reflect Mr Hoffman's views.

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