Smartphones make business travel so much easier, especially if you have the right app at your fingertips. Here are 10 that make perfect travelling companions.
By Katrina Lobley
1. Trip planning
Google Trips syncs with your Gmail account, trawling the inbox for reservation, ticket and booking details to clearly organise past and future trips. It combines those travel details with destination tips based on your interests and how much time you are spending there. It’s a travel agent and tour guide combined, at the touch of a button. App info is also available offline.
2. Stay in touch
Forget making expensive calls to the office while in another country. WhatsApp is used by more than 1.5 billion people, making it the world’s largest messaging service. Facebook owns the encrypted crossplatform messaging and voice over internet protocol (VoIP) service that allows users with a wi-fi connection to call, message, video-chat or send documents or other media for free. WhatsApp Business is a free Android app especially designed for small business owners.
3. Currency converter
Sidestep expensive mistakes with XE Currency, the world’s most downloaded foreign exchange app. It is also popular on desktop, but the currency converter comes into its own on smartphones, saving the last updated rates so the information is at your fingertips if you happen to be offline or in transit. You can also monitor up to 10 currencies of your choice.
4. Pocket scanner
Increase the professionalism of your scanned documents with the Microsoft Office Lens app, which photographs, enhances and precisely crops images of whiteboard meeting notes, receipts and other documents. Images can also be converted to Word, PDF and PowerPoint files, allowing you to search for words and edit them.
5. Learn the lingo
When doing business in another country, it can help if you arrive preloaded with a few words of the local language (everyone will appreciate the effort). One fun way to pick up phrases is with the Duolingo app, which offers bite-sized, game-like lessons in languages including Chinese, Japanese, English and Vietnamese.
6. Cheap parking
Save on big city parking with the Cheap Parking app, a car parking comparison app for Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Enter your arrival and departure times and the app lists options with an estimated rate and gives the distance from your destination. The app covers private car park operators, hotel car parks, public car parks and more.
7. Beat the jet lag
The Timeshifter app, based on sleep and circadian neuroscience and used by astronauts, athletes and CEOs, is touted as the world’s most advanced jet lag aid. To put in high performance on an important business trip, follow the suggested simple steps such as having an inflight sleep plan, exposure to bright light and avoiding caffeine.
8. Easy entertainment
When you’re on a long flight, stuck at the airport or just winding down back at your hotel, sometimes all you want is decent entertainment. The Netflix app offers thousands of TV episodes and movies that can be watched on your phone. You can also download selections to view later in offline mode.
My favourite travel app
“Flight Board shows live flight arrival and departure screens for your closest airport (the app automatically finds the closest airport based on your phone’s GPS). I always use it to check if my flight is leaving on time before heading to the airport. I like it because you don’t have to spend time finding the individual airport’s website and navigating through pages to locate the relevant info.
"If it shows there are major delays and cancellations across multiple flights at the airport, it prepares me for what to expect when I turn up (like big crowds) and whether I need to leave my hotel earlier. Once I’m at the airport, it also shows delays and new departure times – often before any announcements are made over the tannoy. I can also check the arrival time of inbound aircraft, again to predict delays.”
Adam Armstrong, Silversea Cruises managing director, Asia Pacific, spends about a third of his year travelling within Australia and to New Zealand, Monaco, London and Miami.
“When I travel for business, I prefer to use Uber than take local taxis. The ride-on-demand app and service are now available quite broadly, however its features can be different depending where you’re using it. For brief trips that include countries with different currencies, like Denmark and Sweden, I prefer not to carry cash.
"I like that Uber trips are charged directly to my business credit card and the receipt is emailed to me, which makes managing expense claims easy and I don’t need to worry about carrying and losing receipts. It can also make travel easier when language is a barrier or I’m unsure how much, if anything, to tip.”
Rachel White, IKEA country communications manager, Australia, travels up to three times a year to Sweden and to North America and Asia. She also travels within Australia up to 10 times a year.
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