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Business Travel Apps You Need for 2017

December 30th, 2016 /

Standing in line at the Starbucks in Terminal C this week, I was struck by the realization that it feels like I spend my entire life scrolling. I scroll through news articles when waiting for boarding, I skim social media in the restaurant line, and I search flight and weather updates constantly. On every single business trip, I feel like I’m constantly flicking through my smartphone, searching for something.

After tracking how much time I spent staring at my screen, I decided to streamline some of my common airport pastimes. App developers have created some truly fantastic services for business travelers that make things so much easier, and get you the information you need much faster. However, there are also well-advertised apps that don’t seem to do much for the travel experience. Here are suggestions for apps that you’ll definitely want to check out, and those that you won’t want to waste your time (or phone space) on.

Apps can make business travel even more productive while saving valuable time. Image by Flickr user SOZIALHELDEN (CC BY 2.0)

Must-Have Business Travel Apps

The following are my absolute favorite apps to make business travel easier. If you’re a frequent flyer, I’d keep these as a key portion of your app storage year-round.

  • TripIt for itinerary viewing. This app is a lifesaver if you spend a lot of time scrolling through ten email folders looking for confirmation numbers for flights, hotels, and rental cars (a time waster I particularly despise). Simply link your email account to the app, and it will automatically put together a full itinerary for you of booked services and events, in chronological order, for every trip. This app truly takes a load off your plate, and you can instantly share your travel plans with colleagues via text, email, or social media—meaning that your assistant could, theoretically, set up each trip easily for you.
  • Circleback for business card contacts. Do you find your wallet absolutely bursting with business cards at the end of the business week? Does your office house a dusty drawer where a lifetime of business cards go to die a lingering death while you can’t possibly find the one you really need? This app digitizes your new contacts seamlessly. You can scan in business cards using your smartphone camera, and the app even aggregates contact info from social media to keep each person’s contact and company info current. Ditch the paper clutter and use this app to instantly locate the contact info you need.
  • Dufl for luxury clothes delivery. This service is definitely a luxury, but it’s one that I’m personally dying to try. As a business traveler, your carry-on likely contains the same clothes. If lugging it around at every airport and ironing everything at the hotel or paying for dry cleaning are parts of your routine you’d rather do without, you’ll want to check this app out. Dufl sends you a carry-on suitcase to fill with your own travel clothing items, and will get it to you wherever you travel. Your clothes will meet you at your hotel clean and pressed and ready for wear. If you dream of only traveling with a briefcase, this app is totally for you. At a price of $99 per trip, it may seem a bit costly—but you’ll be saving money on dry cleaning as well as the hassle of lugging around your bag every three days.
  • Loungebuddy for airport comfort. This app has saved me so many google searches and scrolling sessions, it’s not even funny. Plus, I’ve significantly improved my airport comfort level, especially when flights are delayed or I have an unfortunately long layover. Loungebuddy locates the nearest airport lounges that you qualify for based on your flight rewards profile, and you can even purchase instant access to lounges that you’d normally not qualify for. You’ll also view traveler reviews and photos of each lounge to decide whether a purchase is worth it—before you pay to enter.
if you're looking for the best business travel apps 2017, do your research

We all spend so much time on our phones—why not make them even more productive? Image by Flickr user Esther Vargas (CC BY 2.0)

Only If You Have Extra Space

These apps are great little extras that might come in handy every now and then, but probably don’t need to be permanent additions to your smartphone app library.

  • Avast for wifi hotspots. As a frequent flyer, managing your data consumption can be difficult. We all know that “unlimited” data plans aren’t truly free, whether that means overage charges or slowed speeds over a certain threshold of gigabytes. It may benefit you (and your phone bill) to actively use wifi hotspots whenever possible when you travel, but you definitely don’t want to be wasting time searching manually for them. That’s where this app comes in handy. Avast Wifi Finder uses your phone’s GPS to locate strong signals and safe connections near you so that you can save your data. It’s way better than trolling your phone’s network connections list for unlocked hotspots.
  • Follow My Car for finding your car. If you’re anything like me, parking in urban garages can be an utter nightmare. It’s nearly impossible to find your generic rental car in a brand new city within a ten-floor parking garage unless you’re incredibly attentive—which just might not be possible if you’re running to an important meeting. This app places a GPS marker where you park your car and can even take a picture for you or set a parking meter reminder. It’s a real timesaver if you’re not prone to keeping a solid mental note of where you’ve parked.
  • Gateguru for instantaneous flight info. My regular weekday business flights are generally on time and predictable, but your travel schedule might be more chaotic. This app keeps you up-to-date on flight delays, gate changes, and the exact location of your aircraft to keep you always in the know. You also have curated access to airport amenities information based on your arrival or departure terminals. I might download this app for seasonal use during the stormy winter months, just to make sure my flights will get me where I need to go on time.
business travel apps 2017

Save phone space and utilize your app storage for the programs that really matter. Image by Flickr user Christian Hornick (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Business Travelers Can Skip These Apps

These apps are often recommended but haven’t proven useful in my business travel experience. Try them out if you like, but I wouldn’t recommend letting them take up permanent storage space.

  • Duolingo for language learning. I really want to love this free language acquisition app, but it just doesn’t serve me well as a frequent business traveler. The app is fun to use, but it relies heavily on audio listening and speaking exercises which are inherently awkward to do in public places (like airports or planes). It’s a bit of a hassle to turn these features off periodically (because they keep coming back), and the rest of the silent activities aren’t as fun or beneficial. Since I don’t have much alone time in an empty room to speak poor French phrases aloud to myself, I decided to pass on this one.
  • Google Translate for surviving foreign languages. I’d definitely recommend this app for frequent international travelers, but that’s just not my reality. Google Translate is fantastic for translating messages, signs, and even for pronouncing your translated text to non-English speakers. However, it’s not something I used once in the month that I had it on my home screen. Save this one for that one time you take a trip to Russia.

Well, there you have it: my suggestions for business travel apps you’ll want to experiment with in 2017. See how these work for you—hopefully they’ll reduce your searching and scrolling time as much as they have for me. You might actually have the opportunity to complete some more productive tasks in the security line in the new year.

If you’re looking for an even bigger way to save searching time and hassle for your frequent travels, you should definitely consider a membership with JetLux. We’ll provide you with a personal reservationist who can book sharply discounted rooms at some of the best luxury hotels in the country, and you hardly have to lift a finger.

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