Smartphone Apps That Make Business Travel Easier
Smartphone app developers can’t improve the hours that cost-conscious entrepreneurs spend packed into economy class on commercial airplanes. But they’ve been working overtime to make the rest of your business trip a bit less stressful.
Here’s a roundup of useful apps that can help you get from Point A to Point B more easily than ever before.
TripIt — (free for Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone) TripIt organizes all of your travel documents, from tickets and boarding passes to hotel and rental car reservations. Enter any information you’d like and send it to email@example.com via email; the software builds you a custom travel itinerary and then notifies you about everything you’ve scheduled, complete with directions. Your data is accessible via smartphone, with or without Wi-Fi access, and easily shared with others.
FlightTrack — ($4.99 for Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone) FlightTrack helps you reduce the annoyance and inconvenience of travel interruptions by keeping you abreast of changes to your airline’s flight plan. This includes delays, route alterations, and cancellations. Whenever a change is reported, FlightTrack looks for and offers alternate flights to your destination. The app also displays a flight’s aircraft type, departure and arrival times, terminal, gate assignment, and checked-baggage carousel.
FlightView (pictured) — (free for Android, iOS) FlightView does much of the same work as FlightTrack, plus it displays a nifty real-time map that shows an aircraft’s current location, altitude, direction, and speed. The app also helps when you’re meeting an inbound flight: You can search for any flight by airline and flight number or by departure/arrival airports and times. The app alerts you to delays in the flight itself and/or at one of its airports.
GateGuru — (free for Android, iOS, Windows Phone) GateGuru began by listing amenities at the most heavily traveled airports and later evolved into a highly capable app. The software, now owned by TripAdvisor, also displays airport layouts, offers security checkpoint wait times, and stores itineraries as well. In short, it helps you navigate a particular airport or terminal like an experienced traveler, even when it’s your first time there.
TaxiMagic — (free for Android, iOS) Taxi Magic simplifies hailing a cab in 60 U.S. cities. Tap a button and the app notifies local dispatchers with your location and requests the quickest ride available. The app even displays the inbound taxi’s progress on a map. Once you’re seated, TaxiMagic estimates your final fare, and — when you arrive — lets you pay with your smartphone.
Cab4Me — (free for Android, iOS) Cab4Me offers similar capabilities to TaxiMagic on a worldwide scale. The app’s database also contains information on taxi stands, types of cars available, and permissible methods of payment. In locations where the database is incomplete, Cab4Me searches the web to quickly put you in touch with a local cab company. It also keeps track of your recent rides, so you can give repeat business to a company that has served you well.
Robert Moskowitz is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.