Over the past few months, I’ve been doing a fair amount of traveling. It’s exciting, one of the benefits is you start to find why folks who travel actually enjoy it. If you have the technology and support network, it’s actually quite fun. Over the last year, I have noticed a difference between folks that use apps to facilitate an easy travel experience and those that don’t. Bottom line the right apps do save you serious time. I’ve outlined the top 9 apps, that I personally use every time I travel. Every time, each time. Also, just because an app doesn’t have high reviews, doesn’t mean it’s bad. It only means the people that reviewed it didn’t find it useful. A lot folks travel only -2x a year, if that’s the case, are they really qualified to evaluate an app mean for folks that always travel. I’d offer they are not. Glad to share apps the increase performance and decrease your travel stress. Enjoy.
WAZE (Android, iOS)
Waze. Outsmarting Traffic, together
Waze is a great app! Have you been rushing to a city, confirmed the directions look great, only to find you’re in traffic jammed up for hours? This is the app you need to avoid the traffic jams. You’re able to get the best route, every day, with real-time help from other drivers. Nothing can beat, real people working together. It’s more than a map, know about police, accidents, road hazards or traffic jams before they happen. This dynamic routing is a must in any major city. Often street closures or major jams won’t be on your conventional car GPS, until a 10-15min lag, and by then you’re in the middle of it.
Transportation within minutes with the Uber app
Uber, we have all heard of it, but this is where it gets interesting. Over the few months I’d had the opportunity to use Uber quite a bit. For example, in the last 4 days along, I have taken 12 Uber trips. That is the type of use I am talking about. Oh and BTW guess what app most Uber drivers use for a map, yes you guessed it WAZE. The reason I wanted to mention this is that if you’re using Uber for business and not once a month, you realize what a total pain it is to enter these trips into your expense system. Well, now Uber can be linked to your Concur account. By enabling this functionality in Concur/App Center, and then going into Uber/payments you can select to send the trips to Concur. This is a huge time saver for small expense, that just waste time. Now there is no re-entry, and you can Uber away.
Taxi, & Bus App Alternative
Lyft works very similar to Uber. What you find is because the number of Uber drivers over the last 2 years has dramatically increased drivers are looking for other ways to make money. Welcome the introduction of lyft. The benefit is many Uber drivers are also on lyft. So if Uber is busy or surging this is a great option for locking down a ride, when there are 5 people all trying to Uber have to the hotel.
Get home without pay surge pricing
SurgeProtector helps you find locations close to yours with lower surge pricing. If you’d taken Uber in someplace like Maryland it’s not a big deal. But trying to do the same distance back to the hotel at 5:30pm in NYC or Boston is another story. What happens is at peak times Uber varies their rates (similar to hotels at peak season). I’ll give you a specific example. I need to go from the office in NYC to the hotel. The total distance was about 1.2 miles, normally this is about $8-11 one way at say 7am. However, trying to get home at 5:30 after some meetings went long same route was surging at 2.8x the price. The same trip at 5:30pm was surging at 2.8x normal or $30.4 – 41.8. If it’s surging this app, shows you that maybe .2 miles away there is an area with no surge. So literally walk east for .2 miles and it’s $8-11 not $30-42 to get home. This is amazing simply and works really well.
Which is cheaper, Uber X or a Tax
Quxsi gives you a quick price compare between UberX and a taxi, based on your destination. Taxi’s (in general) are metered for distance, time and zone. Sometimes this actually is cheaper if Uber is surging above about 2.x normal fare. So if you’re trying to get Uber home, you find it’s surging you can quickly use SurgeProtector to find a way out. However, if it’s really busy you might have to walk .5 mile. In that case you can use Quxsi to determine if it’s just faster to get a cab, back to your destination.
Make travel planning mobile.
Airbnb has been in the news a while back for some crazy swinger parties, non sanctioned by the owners. However, interestingly enough this is a great option when traveling on business if hotels are all jammed up. For example, recently in NYC there was Fashion Week, the Pope’s visit and the UN convention. Basically the entire city was a cluster for 3 weeks. Hotels were at max rates, rooms that typically would be $300-400/night were starting at $2,800/night and even descent places like the W-Downtown were at $3,200/night for a basic room. This means you either have an hour or more drive/train into the city or you get creative, and frankly save your company money. Just remember you need to validate 3 pieces of information e.g. email, LinkedIn profile and say a driver’s license before anyone will accept you to stay in their place. Also, it’s not like a hotel where you book and you’re confirmed. You request to say, the owner reviews your background, information you validated and then determines if they want to rent to you or not. I know a few people that were professionals and totally harmless, but were rejected staying at an Airbnb because of a weak profile. When you have time, get verified, it will save you time when you have to book for work and are in a rush.
Live flight status tracking
FlightTrack Pro works amazingly well. First it’s all real-time (pretty close at least) data, fed into the app. I’ve been noticied on this app before the gate information changed, while sitting at the gate. It’s easy to add in flights, and typically I add my flights into the app while standing in the security line. It displays gate information, which is helpful when flights are tight and provides a terminal map.
Great travel and airport app
GateGuru is a good backup. I have this and FlightTrack Pro, running at the same time. Funded by TripAdvisor it’s a good app to get basic information on flight status. This is very good about notifications if the flight is going to be late or delayed.
Arrivals and departures and where to go
FlightBoard is helpful to determine if the flight is really on time and where the gate is. If you’ve even been in an airport and wondered where the hell is the gate, draging your stuff along, this app solves that problem. Sometimes other apps aren’t updated on the departure gates, which is annoying. This app ensures that you know almost immediately the letter and number of the arrival or departure gate. This is also great when you’re waiting for someone to find out if their flight has landed or is departing on time.