Best Apps for Business Travel
Work + Life Balance

Best Apps for Business Travel

WORK TRAVEL DOESN'T HAVE TO BE A HASSLE. PROMISE.

Traveling for business? Chances are, you won’t be alone.

The Global Business Travel Association predicts U.S. business travel will hit a new record in 2015—over $310 billion spent on more than 490 million business trips. That’s a lot of business travel.

Experienced travelers develop efficient routines to navigate and minimize the ups and downs of doing business away from home. But for those of us who travel only occasionally, each business trip can be as stressful as the first.

Experienced travelers develop efficient routines to navigate and minimize the ups and downs of doing business away from home.

Time to ease the pain. This year, I put my smartphone to work, offloading several important tasks to apps. After identifying my top needs and reading multiple reviews, I started with five highly-rated apps that I hoped would make business travel a bit less stressful and a little more organized. So far, I’ve used these apps on two business trips and couldn’t be happier.

Before you get on the road, consider downloading and exploring the five free apps I’ve found to be timesaving stress-reducers:

1. TripIt

Forward all of your travel confirmation emails—including flight, hotel, rental car, and restaurants—to TripIt, and they “automagically” generate a master itinerary that is accessible on your device even without an Internet connection.

I love having all of this information in one convenient place. Not only is it handy while I’m on the road, but I also review my master itinerary several days before leaving to double check that everything I need has been reserved. Can’t remember if I booked a hotel room? A quick check of my master itinerary lets me know.

Want more? TripIt Pro ($4.09/month) includes real-time flight alerts and other services. TripIt for Teams (starting at $29/month) offers a central dashboard displaying each member’s itinerary. 

2.  Dashlane

Is there anything worse than being locked out of a website or app because you don’t have your password? “Forgot password” steps take time and energy that you just don’t have during a hectic business trip.

Dashlane is a “password manager and secure digital wallet” that allows you to create one master password to safely store your insane number of individual passwords. This app is definitely worth it, however, you do need to upload your passwords at the start. (In other words, don’t download this app on the way to the airport!)

Want more? Dashlane Pro ($39.99/year) offers data backup, automatic syncing to all devices, and more. Dashlane Team is a great option for securely sharing work-related passwords with colleagues.

3. GateGuru

Even with on-time flights, we spend more time at the airport than we’d like. GateGuru makes waiting as productive and enjoyable as possible.

Flight information—including departure times, gate changes, and security checkpoint wait times—is continually updated. Airport amenities, terminal maps, weather, and helpful tips submitted by users are only a tap away.

GateGuru is smart. For example, the airport amenities you’re shown are specific to the departing terminal for your flight (you can also search the entire airport). GateGuru also keeps track of your travel stats, such as the number of miles you’ve flown and allows you to reserve an Avis rental car.

Want more? Everything GateGuru offers is free! 

4. Expensify

Before this app, storing receipts during travel was a nightmare. For the most part, I jammed every receipt into my wallet and hoped for the best.

With Expensify, I snap pictures of receipts, track my time, and log my mileage. By adding bank account information, clients can reimburse me easily and quickly.

Want more? Check out Expensify’s Team or Corporate account options that offer full-service expense report tracking, management, and reimbursement.

5. Uber

Sign up for Uber and you’ll be ready to request a ride and pay for it on your smartphone in many cities. Uber drivers use their own cars; customers request “the ride that matches their style and budget” beginning with Uber X (the least expensive vehicles) to Lux (the most expensive). In most cases, Uber costs less than a taxi and takes just seconds to request a ride.

Want more? Uber for Business allows your company to set its own Uber employee policy and provide a list of authorized users who aren’t required to pay. Instead, Uber for Business submits a monthly invoice directly to your company, eliminating the need for you to pay upfront and wait for reimbursement. 

* * *

There are a handful of other apps that I’ve used during business travel.

•   Dropbox document storage allows me to leave my laptop at home and get by with a lighter tablet.

•   Yelp helps find decent restaurants.

•   Kindle gives me access to my current reading.

But these five travel-specific apps have made my infrequent business trips a bit less stressful. And, since I don’t travel too often, I store them in a nice little “travel apps” folder on my phone, keeping them handy, but not front and center.

What are your favorite business travel apps and how do they reduce your travel headaches?