On Business: The Best Apps When You're on the Road
As a business traveler you have lots of things to keep track of while you’re on the road, from meeting schedules to flight schedules. Downloading some apps to your smartphone can help the process go smoothly.
Of course you want to make sure you have everything you need before you leave home. It’s frustrating to be on your way to the airport and realize that you’ve forgotten something important. Look for an app to help with your packing, like Packr or PackPoint. You enter the destination, length of the trip and dates, the trip’s purpose and type of activities, such as business and fancy dinner. The app checks the weather and generates a packing list. You check off items once they’re in your suitcase or carry-on bag.
Frequent fliers should download the Transportation Security Administration’s MyTSA app. It’ll let you search which items you can bring through the security checkpoint, check information on flight delays and weather conditions at airports nationwide and even let you know how busy the airport is likely to be on the day and time you’re traveling, based on historical data.
Be sure to download the app for the hotel chain where you’ll be staying, too. You’ll usually be able to check in from anywhere and receive an alert when your room is ready. You can also use the app to send a request for services before or during your stay.
At the end of a busy day, review apps like Yelp can give you lots of options for restaurants, especially useful if you’re in a new place. Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial when you’re traveling for business. The popular White Noise app lets you choose from dozens of ambient sounds that will help you relax. And whether you’re at home or away, it’s a good idea to have the American Red Cross First Aid app to help you handle common emergencies.
If you’re traveling abroad, make sure you have Google Translate. You’ll be able to type in words or phrases in English and find the equivalent in dozens of languages. You can also use your phone’s camera to take a photo of a sign and the app will translate it into English.
If you’re visiting a foreign country for the first time, check out the Air Force Culture Guide, developed by the Air Force Culture and Language Center to help its officers serving overseas. While the guide is geared toward Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe, if you’re a business traveler visiting one of the countries it covers, you’ll find lots of useful information. In addition to a map and a list of words and phrases, the guides go over cultural topics such as greetings, forms of address, personal space and family structure. The State Department’s Smart Traveler app also has country information, as well as addresses and phone numbers for U.S. embassies.