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5 must-have apps for your next business trip

Get organized, outsource your luggage, overcome obstacles, and stay in shape with these handy apps and services.

5 must-have apps for your next business trip
[Photo: Ryan McManimie/Unsplash]

The lowly business trip is fraught with potential peril: confusing travel, misplaced luggage, unfamiliar surroundings, and saturated fats. But in business travel, as in business in general, it’s always advisable to work smarter, not harder. Here are some apps and services that will help you to do just that.

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1. Automatically build your itinerary

Not everyone has a doting personal assistant who can masterfully craft a personalized itinerary for every trip. Thankfully, the popular TripIt (Android, iOS, and a new Mac app) does a pretty good job at handling your travel plans for you. Each time you book a flight, hotel, or car rental, you can forward the corresponding confirmation email to plans@tripit.com, at which point TripIt will parse the disparate data into a coherent collection—all your travel plans, all in one place. If you’re the trusting type, you can also just let TripIt monitor your inbox for you so you don’t have to manually forward everything along.

The app is free to use, with a $49-per-year Pro version that adds real-time flight alerts, offers airport navigation, looks for seat upgrades, and more.

[Screenshot: DUFL]

2. Forget your luggage . . . on purpose

One of the worst parts of business travel? Packing fancy clothes, lugging them through the airport, and opening your suitcase to a wrinkled pile of nonsense once you reach the hotel. For about the price of checking a bag each way and getting everything dry-cleaned once you get home, DUFL (Android, Apple) will warehouse your favorite outfits, send them in a suitcase to your hotel, pick them up when you’re done, and get them cleaned for you. You send DUFL items, which the company stores, photographs, and adds to a virtual closet that you use to pick and click what you need for each trip. The U.S. service runs $9.95 a month and then $99 round trip each time you use it, with a handful of international options at various prices.

3. Explore your home away from home

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, check out AroundMe (Android, Apple) to figure out what’s, well, around you. The free app homes in on your location and shows you all the interesting spots nearby—from ATMs to hospitals to restaurants, and just about everything else in between. It’s great for getting the lay of the land once you arrive somewhere. You never know when you’ll need some late-night cold medicine, a bite to eat, or other creature comforts you may have accidentally left behind.

4. Deal with the inevitable

Travel wouldn’t be travel without the occasional canceled flight, misbooked hotel room, or vanishing car reservation. The true test, then, becomes how quickly and effortlessly you can overcome such obstacles. Skyscanner (Android, Apple) is a worthwhile and free app to have in your arsenal if you need to rebook flights, rooms, or cars at a moment’s notice. It prides itself on having no booking fees or hidden charges, and features a fun Explore section with tips, tricks, deals, and reviews from other users covering several popular locations.

[Screenshot: ClassPass]

5. Get a workout in

Pastries, sandwiches, five-course dinners with overflowing goblets: all hallmarks of the typical business trip. Find a nearby fitness class to work off some of those calories with ClassPass (Android, Apple), an app that grants you membership to more than 25,000 studios and gyms across more than 2,500 cities around the world. Plans start at $15 per month after a free two-week trial, with rollover options if you only leverage the service sporadically. And should you find yourself in a location without a lot of great options, the app has built-in workouts you can stream instead.

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