As carrying a laptop or documents around become more of a hassle for every business traveller, app developers are stepping up their game and eliminating the need for these as much as possible. We’ve rounded up some much-needed apps for you because we want to make your life just a bit easier. While there might be some apps mentioned that you might already know, you’re bound to find a new app that you haven’t tried yet. The following apps assist you in planning, organising and networking. We’ve also included some honourable mentions that are simply just handy and worth having them on your smartphone.


Staying organised:

Concur

Most stressful chore during business trips are the expenses. According to The Global Mobility Survey 2018, 17% of business leaders do not keep up with expenses made on business trips. Concur automates this process and benefits not only employees but also the organisations. These apps help make expense reporting simple, fast and accurate. E-receipts capture data directly from airlines, restaurants, hotels and other suppliers. Employees can also take photos of the receipts, saving time and hassle. You can also reconcile expenses with card integration. Organisations can directly approve or reject expense reports through manager access. Furthermore, you can even add car mileage to an expense report!

 

 

Tripit

Another app that keeps your business trip in order is Tripit from Concur. Tripit has the free version and pro version which is $49 per year. With the pro version, you can directly connect your Concur account with the app. Which, if you’re a frequent business traveller, is highly commendable. Don’t get us wrong, the free version is also up to the mark, but the pro version has much more features than the free version. With the free version, you can organise, selectively share, store travel documents, and add or edit your travel plans. With the pro version you get all of that and receive real-time flight alerts, locate alternate flights, find out when a better seat is available, get fare refund notifications, track reward-program points, share plans with your inner circle automatically and save money with VIP travel benefits which provide special offers on CLEAR and Loungebuddy. CLEAR is a biometric screening tool that scans your fingerprint to confirm your identification, allowing you to skip the long lines for ID check. Although, right now it only operates in the US. The Loungebuddy app is a revolutionary app that allows all travellers to access any of the lounges, for as low as $23, in the network without any membership fees, elite statuses or first class tickets required.

 

Asana

Asana is a project-based management app and the teams are organised around these projects. You can create a project with tasks and subtasks and add the team that is with you on the project. Furthermore, you can tag colleagues, add comments, attach files, descriptions and many more.  While you’re on your business trip you can create this as a project, keep track of your trip and meetings and what you’ve already done and still need to do. If your company uses this app, your manager can also keep track of your accomplishments and you can also follow your team’s progress. Asana is a great tool to manage projects and tasks.  

 


Vehicle Apps:

Google Maps

Although Apple Maps and Waze are two worthy contenders, Google Maps stands out with its features that the other two don’t have. Waze has too many ads and Apple Maps doesn’t have the feature for offline use like Google Maps does have, which could come quite handy if you’re data bundle isn’t up to par. It’s easy to use, gives you clear directions and a map view all at once, the background colour will adjust based on the ambient light in your car, and the offline feature allows you to download entire cities or neighbourhood on your device. Furthermore, its pins function is great for sharing your location or even saving your favourite places to visit on your next business trip. You can also add two stops to your route in case you have to do a pit stop on your way to your meeting. Moreover, the app can detect traffic jams and provide you with an alternative route. Lastly, whether you’re travelling by car or not and you need the closest gas station, restaurant or ATM, Google Maps will provide you with that information. The app allows you to search for the nearest banks, hotels, movie theatres, gas station, or even what type of restaurant you’re in the mood for.  

 

ParkWhiz

If you’re in the U.S. or travel there frequently for business, then ParkWhiz is the app for you. It can track down the perfect parking spot in 315 cities across the country and provides users with discounted parking in exclusive areas. The app allows you to choose from a parking lot, private garages and private venues. The app calculates the walking distance from potential parking spots to your final destination, provides you directions and parking instructions. This app is best for people who like to plan and book well ahead of time.

 

Parkopedia

Now, if you’re more of a worldly business traveller, then Parkopedia is the parking app you need. Parkopedia is used by millions of drivers and organisations. It allows you to find the closest parking spot to your destination, gives you the costs and whether there’s space available or not. Parkopedia claims to have over 60 million parking spots (including street parking, car parks and private driveways) in 75 countries.  The app features pre-booking service, real-time parking availability and the ability to pay online.

Uber

If you don’t have a car service booked or a taxi, then Uber can be quite useful to you. The app will use your current location to calculate the fastest route to your final destination and provide you with the costs before you choose the service. You don’t have to have cash on you because the charges go straight to your card. Additionally, you can track your driver in real time while they’re on their way and while you are in transit.

 


Keep in touch apps:

Skype, Whatsapp and WeChat

Use these apps for keeping in touch with your loved ones while you’re abroad without the high charges. You can call, message and video call for free. You can host a conference meeting with video call for up to 10 people with Skype, video call, phone call and create group conversations with WeChat and Whatsapp.  WeChat is best for travellers who are in constant contact with people in China. WeChat is more popular there and is more stable than other social networks.

 

LinkedIn

Which professional doesn’t know about LinkedIn today? If you haven’t downloaded it on your smartphone yet, do it. LinkedIn is for anyone looking to grow their careers even further and it’s a great way to stay in contact with professionals such as yourself. You add connections to your network, private message them through LinkedIn or through the company’s contact information, and you have your resumé laid out for others to see.  You can also follow other companies as “interests” to stay up-to-date with them. LinkedIn has similar features as other social networks, but this one is specifically catered for professionals.

 

CamCard

CamCard is an app that helps you stay on top of your business cards that you most likely receive during conferences and networking. It digitilizes the information on the business card and adds the relevant information on your virtual Rolodex (your contact list). Therefore you’ll never lose another business card again! It digitalises a business card by using its optical character reader by taking a snapshot photo of the card and can digest the information in 17 different languages, including English, Chinese, Japanese, Russian and Swedish. It can also translate phone numbers, decipher social media handles and has a web interface where you can manage the contacts efficiently. It has two versions: the free version and the $3 premium version. The free version has full functionality but has a limited amount of scanning 200 cards.

 


Honourable mentions:

ClassPass

This app is the most flexible fitness membership there is! This app allows you to search for nearby gym classes, book classes, watch workout videos and build a community. You can choose from thousands of workouts such as boxing, yoga, spinning and much more. This app has 3 types of subscriptions, one of £35/month which is 27 credits or 2 or 3 classes, £55/month which is 45 credits or 3-5 classes and £105/month which is 90 credits or 7-11 classes. The amount of credits per classes depends on each studio. But not to worry, if you’ve used up your credits you can always buy more. This is a very worthwhile app if you’re an avid “workoutaholic” or like to stay fit and you’re constantly travelling. Especially since many gyms do not offer one day passes.

 

Google Translate

Not everyone you meet while abroad will know English, your language, or vice versa. That’s why, do us all a favour, and download this app. It will help you in cafe’s when you’re in dire need of coffee or beer, or with cab drivers. You can point your device’s camera on the text you want to translate and the app will provide you with a real-time translation on your screen. What’s even better is that you can download translation packages onto your smartphone meaning it will still allow you to translate without internet. It’s a practical tool and will save you and the barista a few minutes of trying to understand each other.   

 

These apps replace many other apps because they save you space on your smartphone and spares you the hassle of always switching to and from multiple other apps, therefore also saving you time. If you’re not convinced yet, download them and try it out for yourself. You can thank us later!

 

By Ronaly van der Biest


References

Harbison, A. (2017). Nine must-have apps for business travellers. [Blog] ICAS. Available at: https://www.icas.com/ca-today-news/9-must-have-apps-for-business-travellers [Accessed 29 May 2018].

Hanbury, M. (2018). The 22 best apps for business travellers. [Blog] Business Insider. Available at: https://www.businessinsider.nl/best-business-travel-apps-2017-3/?international=true&r=US [Accessed 29 May 2018].

Channer, R. (2018). The 10 Best Apps to Pack for Business Travel. [Blog] Entrepreneur. Available at: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/248287

McCallum, J. (2017). 10 great apps for business travel. [Blog] In the back. Available at: https://www.intheblack.com/articles/2017/08/22/10-apps-business-trips

Clearme.com. (2018). CLEAR – The fastest, most reliable way to fly through security.. [online] Available at: https://www.clearme.com/how-it-works

Loungebuddy.com. (2018). Airport Lounges: Reviews & Club Access Worldwide | LoungeBuddy. [online] Available at: https://www.loungebuddy.com/?source=homepage#howItWorks

Bond, J. (2018). Waze vs Google Maps vs Apple Maps: Which one works best?. [Blog] The Daily Dot. Available at: https://www.dailydot.com/debug/waze-vs-google-maps-vs-apple-maps/

Asana. (2018). About Asana; Features, uses, and product info. [online] Available at: https://asana.com/product

Purewall, S. (2016). 5 apps to help you digitally organize business cards. [Blog] MacWorld. Available at: https://www.macworld.com/article/3088655/ios-apps/5-apps-to-help-you-digitally-organize-business-cards.html

Concur.com. (2018). Expense Management Software, Travel Software & Invoice Software – SAP Concur. [online] Available at: https://www.concur.com/

TripIt. (2018). TripIt – Travel Itinerary – Trip Planner. [online] Available at: https://www.tripit.com/

Parkopedia.com. (2018). About Parkopedia. [online] Available at: https://www.parkopedia.com/about-us/

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