Today's business traveler has plenty of essential tools, but none is more critical than the mobile phone. Once just a tool for communication, these devices began to morph into mobile offices over a dozen years ago with the introduction of the first Blackberry.
Today, with the app explosion, they've become even more important — and developers have created hundreds of applications to help road warriors become more efficient and better able to navigate unfamiliar towns. We've dug up 10 apps for iPhones and Androids that no business traveler should be without.
By Chris Morris
Posted 11 January 2012
Accidents happen, but if you live out of your car (or are driving in an unfamiliar city), they're especially inconvenient. This auto accident assistant lets you capture the time and location of mishaps, as well as take pictures of the damage, store contact information of the other driver, witnesses and more and wraps it all up in a PDF file. You can also find nearby taxi and/or towing services. (Available for iPhone and Android.)
There are plenty of to-do list apps on the market, but none are as well designed as this one. Managing your task list as well as projects and important events is easy and well managed. It's a pricey app ($10 for iPhone and $20 for iPad), but the ability to sync to the Mac version of the program makes it a favorite among travelers.
Hailing a cab isn't always an option – especially in towns where the locals generally drive themselves. This app lets you book a cab on the go in over 40 major U.S. cities. There's no more waiting on hold with dispatchers and no misunderstandings about where you're supposed to be picked up. (Available for iPhone and Android.)
One of the complaints about the road-warrior life is how little time travelers actually have to themselves. The day is filled with meetings and the nights often packed with dinners and social functions. Instapaper lets you save web pages for offline reading, letting you read articles, blog posts and more that you learn about during the day without having to remember where you'd seen them. Even better, the app strips the ads, graphics and extras from the page (helping you concentrate more), then optimizes the text for your screen. (Available for iPhone)
Airlines might boast about their on-time records, but frequent travelers know delays are commonplace. This app gives real-time status updates on flights (including gate and baggage claim numbers) and pushes alerts to you automatically. It also tracks your hotel and rental car confirmation numbers – and it's all done automatically, without you having to enter the information manually. (Available for iPhone and Android.)
Most weather apps stop at giving a forecast. This one visually suggests the right apparel for the day. Rain coming? It'll show an avatar with rain jackets and an umbrella. Sunny? He'll be wearing sunglasses.
It's an at-a-glance application that gives you just a little bit of your time back — and was named by Apple as one of the best apps of 2011.
As bad as it can be to be stuck on the road for days on end, it's sometimes worse coming home, knowing that you've got expense-report paperwork waiting for you.
With Expensify, you can organize your expenses as you go, taking pictures of receipts with your phone's camera, then having the entire thing wrapped up in a PDF that you can send off to accounting. (Available for iPhone and Android.)
Reading documents on your mobile phone is easy, but signing them used to be impossible. Now, though, you can go completely digital, bypassing the printer, scanner, fax machine – and pen. It's not just quick, it has a layer of security, validating your signature through the company's servers – and keeping a copy of everything you've signed on file via cloud storage. (Available for iPhone; coming soon to Android.)
If you're ringing up sales while you're on the go, this is an indispensable tool that turns your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch into a credit card reader.
You'll need to order an attachment from the company and they do take a percentage of your sale as commission, but there are no contracts or other fees.
Receipts are sent electronically to your customers and the money is automatically deposited into your company's account. (Available for iPhone and Android.)
Most road warriors don't have a lot of time to play tourist, but if you do you want to make the most of that time.
Viator pulls from the reviews of over a quarter million people to showcase and let you quickly book everything from tours to activities.
Tickets and vouchers are stored on your phone, so you don't need to hunt down a business center to print out a ticket, either. (Available for iPhone.)