If you’ve got a smartphone that can run apps like the iPhone,
BlackBerry or an Android phone, you’ve got a pocket computer–and when
you’re on the road, you want to load up on the apps that can help you
get where you need to go and stay organized on the way. Here are some of
the best mobile apps for business travelers.
TripIt is a fantastic itinerary
organizer that requires zero data entry. Here’s how it works. Register
for a free account at TripIt.com.
Then, when you book your flight, hotel, or rental car online and you
receive a reservation confirmation email, forward that email to
firstname.lastname@example.org. TripIt automatically parses out the important
information from the email–dates, flight #’s, addresses, and phone
numbers–and it creates a trip itinerary for you and includes directions
from the airport to the hotel, and the weather forecast of your
destination city on the dates you’ll be there. You can share your TripIt
itineraries with your spouse or with your assistant, and discuss trip
details with co-travelers in the itinerary’s comments area. When you’re
on the road, TripIt mobile app for the iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android
phones, makes all your travel information available in a single view.
It’s indispensable when you’re in an unfamiliar city and need to quickly
look up your hotel’s address.
Speaking of unfamiliar
places, several mobile apps provide directions and business
recommendations when you need a restaurant or taxi cab. Google Maps offers walking, driving,
and public transit directions plus traffic and street view features on
the iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Nokia, and Android phones.
Review site Yelp can help you
find the best reviewed restaurants, salons and bars in major cities, and
is available as a mobile app on all the major smartphone platforms.
Similarly, Where is a mobile app
for smartphones like the Palm, iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android which
helps you find businesses, and track and share favorites.
you’re on the go, you need a good way to capture bits and pieces of
information easily. Evernote is a
note-taking mobile application that lets you record voice notes, and
scan in business cards and expense receipts by snapping a phone with
your cameraphone. For more detailed expense tracking, try Xpenser, a mobile application that
records information about expenses, mileage, and IOUs on a per client
basis for easy reimbursements and tax records. If you don’t have a smart
phone, you can still use Xpenser via SMS. For example, you could text
the words “Taxi 36 office to San Jose airport” to Xpenser to record that
$36 travel expense.
Finally, turn your smartphone into a
modem using a tethering application like PdaNet for the Palm, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, or
Android. With your phone’s data plan and PdaNet, you don’t have to pay
for Wi-Fi access at the hotel or airport to get your laptop online. Just
connect your phone to your computer and Pdanet will get you on the
internet using your mobile plan.
Before your next business
trip, load up your smartphone with some of these great apps to make your
trip easier and more productive.
Gina Trapani is the author of Upgrade
Your Life and founding editor of Lifehacker.com. Work Smart appears
every week on FastCompany.com.