Business travel can be tedious; as a frequent business traveler, I know all too well just how stressful it can be…long lines at security at 6am (even at TSA precheck!), long waits in the airport caused by flight delays, shrinking legroom on flights…these examples are just the tip of the iceberg of business travel pains.
However, some things have vastly improved over the years such as airline prices (and rewards for frequent flyers!), hotel accommodations, and mobile apps.
Anything that can make traveling easier and less stressful is a win in my book; any business traveler would agree. Mobile apps can streamline business travel in ways unheard of even 10 years ago—and they’re getting more and more sophisticated every year.
Here’s a look at 20 awesome apps to make your life easier when traveling for work:
Forward all your hotel, flight, car rental, and restaurant confirmations to the app and it automatically creates a master itinerary for you. View it any time, on any device, even when you’re offline. The Tripit Pro plan comes with lots of additional features, like real-time flight alerts, rewards tracking and automatically sharing your itinerary with your chosen circle, that are more than worth it for a frequent traveler.
Cost: Free; TripIt Pro = $49/year
Find flights and hotels with 24/7 concierge assistance and access to travel agents via phone, email or chat. You and your employees can snap photos of receipts and the app scans and processes them in seconds. TravelBank estimates the cost of your trip using the average prices of hotels, flights and food in the area you’re visiting on the dates you’ll be there—a useful feature for budget-minded entrepreneurs. You can even earn extra rewards points from TravelBank on top of your airline, car rental, and hotel points.
Cost: Free; Subscription is available
Although not an app, Google Travel replaced the Google Trips app – this app gathered your travel information from Gmail and your inbox, then organized it automatically so all your flight, hotel, and car rental details were in one place (and can be viewed offline). This same trip functionality is available through the Google Travel site. View and compare the best prices for flights, hotels, and packages. The explore feature also offers suggestions for things to see and do in the local area, such as restaurants, museums, and attractions.
Flights and Hotels
Looking for the best flight and hotel room at the lowest price can eat up hours of a small business owner’s day. Hopper saves time and money by telling you when to book—and when to wait—for both flights and hotels. You can book flights and hotels directly through Hopper, which claims to have 95% accuracy at predicting prices up to a year in advance.
No need to download separate airport apps: With FLIO, you’ll always know your flight status at more than 5,000 airports around the world. FLIO tracks arrivals and departures, helps you access Wi-Fi, and gives you airport-specific directories and tips like where to charge your phone. You also get discounts on products, services and access to airport lounges at participating airports.
Are you stuck at the airport due to a canceled flight? Did a last-minute business trip arise? Use the HotelTonight app to find last-minute, deep discounts on hotels’ unsold rooms and book your stay. You can also book deals up to a year in advance.
Once installed on your phone, the MileIQ app works in the background, automatically logging miles when you start driving (no need to turn it on or off). The app creates a detailed record of mileage; swipe left or right to categorize a trip as Business or Personal. The free version tracks mileage for up to 40 trips per month.
Cost: Free; Unlimited Plan is either $5.99/mo. (billed monthly) or $4.99/mo. (billed annually)
*MileIQ unlimited subscription is tax deductible!
On a road trip in an unfamiliar place? Find the closest gas station and the cheapest gas with the GasBuddy app. No more worries about getting lost in an unsafe neighborhood or running out of gas. You can also earn additional free gas on your everyday purchase when you take advantage of special GasBuddy offers.
Get your expense receipts out of that old shoebox and into the cloud with this app designed for small businesses. Simply take a picture of a receipt and Shoeboxed extracts the data from it. The app also lets you use your phone’s built-in GPS for easy, accurate mileage tracking. It integrates with almost every popular accounting program.
Cost: Plans range from Digital Only all the way up to Business ($9/mo – $89/mo); each plan comes with a free trial
From receipt scanning to reimbursement, Expensify automates every step of the expense reporting process, for Scan and organize receipts and expenses with the app, then create custom reports, reimburse expenses directly within the app and more. Expensify integrates with QuickBooks and Xero.
Cost: Plans are available for Individuals (free for 5 SmartScans/mo.; $4.99/mo for unlimited scans) and for Groups (ranges from $5/user/mo. – $9/user/mo.). All plans comes with a free trial.
Using cloud-based storage and collaboration apps like Box, OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Office 365 is the first step to working remotely on the road. Our cloud connector apps allow users to easily print from or scan to the most used Cloud Storage platforms with no IT intervention.
Cost: Free through Parmetech
@PrintByXerox app enables easy printing from email when you’re on the road. Just send an email to Print@PrintByXerox.com with any attachments you want to print. Then use your password at a Xerox device running the @PrintByXerox app to release your print job.
Cost: No license required for basic features.
Use this app to scan, fax and print from your phone or tablet by connecting with Xerox® multifunction printers (MFPs). You can also send data to cloud storage—just scan and store your expense receipts, client business cards and any other documents you collect on your trip, and you won’t have to worry about losing them.
Cost: No license required.
What happens when you need to print on the road, but you’re worried about document security? The Xerox® Mobile Print Solution app uses GPS to locate printers in public print networks and securely print to them with just a few steps.
Cost: no license required.
Access any of the airport lounges in the LoungeBuddy network even if you don’t have memberships or frequent-flier status. Use the app to view participating lounges and buy access the same day or up to two months in advance.
Use this app to search the local area for workspaces for remote workers or business travelers. From coffee shops and cafes to official “coworking spaces,” you can filter results by things like noise level, Wi-Fi signal strength or late-night hours.
Stop eating up your data and find the closest free Wi-Fi hotspot with this app. Users crowdsource the hotspots so the information is always up to date.
Encrypt.me establishes a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that encrypts your connection to public networks so you can use public Wi-Fi securely. Whether you’re browsing the web or using apps, everything you do on your laptop, smartphone and tablet will be secured. One account works across all your devices.
Cost: Passes start at $3.99/week; subscriptions for unlimited plans start at $9.99/mo. Free trials are available.
Got a long layover during a business trip, or time to kill before your flight? Use Dayuse.com to book a hotel room for the day that you can use to shower, nap, work, use the fitness center or whatever. Prices are up to 75% off regular overnight rates.
Completely automate packing (well, almost) with this app. Just tell it your destination, length of stay, and purpose of trip, and PackPoint checks the weather forecast and generates a packing list for you. The app integrates with Tripit (so you can auto-create all of your packing lists) and Evernote (so you can view your packing lists across all of your devices).