Say what you will about technology today, but at least for traveling, mobile technology and apps have helped streamline the travel experience. Mobile travel technology isn’t perfect, but many travel apps have created solutions to problems that plagued travelers for so long. Below, find a few of the most common business travel problems, and the travel apps that solve them.
Problem: Expensive, last-minute hotel availability.
It’s no secret that last-minute travel is expensive. And hotels are no exception. But enter HotelTonight, which specializes in last-minute hotels (up to 7 days in advance) in many major cities. A recent same-day search in Los Angeles, for example, delivered results for hotels that were 40% to 50% off in some cases. Other features include HT Perks, Hotel Tonight’s loyalty program, which offers extra-discounted rates depending on how much you’ve spent.
Problem: Multiple travel reservations.
Long gone are the days of printing out hotel and flight reservations and itineraries. Founded in 2006, TripIt is one of the original travel app solutions, organizing all of your travel plans into one place. What’s more, TripIt Pro includes perks like real-time flight alerts, alternate flights, fare refund notifications, and the ability to track reward program points in one location.
Problem: A pile of travel receipts.
Concur, which owns TripIt, dates back far longer, to the mid-1990s, providing a solution for travel and expense management. This is particularly helpful for frequent business travelers, as those receipts can quickly pile up while traveling. With Concur, you don’t have to carry around your receipts on your trip until you get home to record and make copies of your expenses. With the Concur app you can snap a photo of your receipts, assign line items for them and then track all in one place for the trip you’re on. Furthermore, you can actually book all of your travel in the app.
Problem: Not knowing a country’s currency exchange rates.
Solution: XE Currency
XE Currency is one of the simplest, most practical international travel apps available, displaying the rates of every current world currency. XE Currency shows both live proprietary exchange rates and historical charts, plus it stores the last updated rates, so you can see rates even when you don’t have Internet. Perhaps the biggest advantage, however, is being able to calculate prices with the currency converter, rather than having to calculate in your head or ask someone while you’re traveling.
Problem: Unfamiliar words and phrases in a foreign language.
Solution: Google Translate
With more than 100 different world languages, it’s inevitable while traveling that you’re going to come across words and phrases at airports and on menus and signs that you don’t recognize. While there are tons of different translation apps, my go-to is Google Translate, since you can actually point your phone’s camera at words to translate the text. Furthermore, Google Translate can translate more than 100 languages by just typing, and offers more than 50 different offline language translations. Another go-to language app is TripLingo, which includes features like phrasebooks, voice translator, learning tools, and a tip/currency calculator.
Problem: Undetermined airport traffic and security expectations.
Solution: My TSA
Most people would agree that the most stressful part of traveling is getting to the airport, through security, and to your gate. But it’s often a crapshoot, as you never know how busy the airport and security lines will be. But that’s where My TSA, from TSA itself, comes in. From the app, you can check how historically busy the airport is on your day and time of travel while seeing current security checkpoint wait times. However, the accuracy of checkpoint times is dependent on users regularly updating it.
Problem: Trouble finding Wi-Fi.
Solution:WiFi Map/WiFi Finder
For business travelers, finding accessible, reliable Wi-Fi is easier said than done. However, there are a number of apps for finding Wi-Fi, including WiFi Map and WiFi Finder. Both apps work similarly, displaying a map of nearby Wi-Fi networks. Furthermore, they show passwords and comments from users for the Wi-Fi of restaurants, cafes, airports and other Wi-Fi hotspots. WiFi Finder boasts 50,000 cities within their app, while WiFi Map claims more than 100,000,000 hotspot locations.