Smartphones have made travel incredibly easy these days. The explosion of mobile apps has given us the ability to travel with very little baggage – which I absolutely love, because I’m on the road a lot meeting with accreditors all over the United States and Canada. Whether you are a volunteer or evaluator for an accreditation agency, jet setter, business flier or novice traveler, the mobile app revolution might be the best thing to happen to travelers since the invention of the automobile. My love for technology and user experience drives my passion for great apps to utilize. So, here is a list of my favorites to make your next trip that much easier.
Organizing travel just got automagical. You handle the booking. They take care of the rest. Simply forward all your hotel, flight, car rental, and restaurant confirmation emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. From there, your emails are transformed into a master itinerary for every trip so all your plans are in one place. TripIt offers detailed, daily itinerary with important dates, times, and confirmation numbers, plus directions, maps, weather, and more. The best part? You can view your itinerary anytime, on any device — even when you’re offline. The free mobile app gives you 24/7 access to your important travel plans. This also integrates with other types of travel and expense software like Concur.
PackPoint will organize what you need to pack based on length of travel, weather at your destination, and any activities planned during your trip. It was featured in The LA Times, The Washington Post, Lifehacker, Fast Company’s Co.DESIGN, and The Next Web. I love this app because it builds a custom packing list so I have everything I need for travel. It even gives me a website link that I can share with fellow travelers so they know what to pack too. Check out http://bit.ly/1iaOhIF for an example.
Can you say “UBER Awesome”? Uber is evolving the way the world moves. By seamlessly connecting riders to drivers through their easy to use app, you can request a car right from your mobile phone or the Web with a few quick taps. It has a cool map with GPS tracking to watch the dispatched driver move towards your location. The ride is charged to your credit card, with no need of cash in hand to be exchanged. And, expense the trip with an e-receipt right through your smartphone. They have drivers in over 200 cities today and a rapidly expanding global presence that continues to bring people and their cities closer. I’ve used it several times, and I love the fact of having control over hiring a driver for transport. I have never experienced a car service quite like this!
Available on iTunes and Google Play for download.
This is an interesting app. They provide hand-selected hotels at great prices on your mobile device. I discovered it after experiencing a cancelled flight and being stranded overnight. The app is also great for travelers who like to leave their travel plans to the last minute. It shows the best deals on the best hotels, from Basic to Luxe and you can either book a room that evening, or up to seven days in advance. And out of curiosity, I did a comparison between their fees and with other booking sites. They seem to have a great selection of hotels with comparable, if not better deals than other travel sites.
Available on iTunes and Google Play for download.
Trover is my go-to app for finding really interesting spots both near and far. It’s like Instagram, but with useful data that can be used in planning your trips and most definitely satisfy your wanderlust with a stunning collection of geo-tagged traveler photos shared by others. You can create visual bucket lists of where you want to go, and see where others have been. Post photos of your own discoveries and join a global community that’s all about travel. What I love most about this app, is seeing parts of the world through the eyes of others. It is just plain awesome.
Available for iTunes and Google Play for download.
Ever have dinner with a group of people and find out that your tipping styles are different? I spent my early twenties bartending and waiting on tables. I know how important tips are, but some people don’t. And add a group of people to the mix, makes it even more difficult to split the bill appropriately. Well your tipping woes are over. This little app makes tipping easy. Tipulator allows you to easily split the check among friends and colleagues, choose from various rounding options, calculate tips excluding sales tax and use the palindrome feature to prevent frauds. Tipulator is a beautiful, easy and fun app to use.
If you are a food snob, you need to try out Chefs Feed. Want to know where Mario Batali gets his carnitas taco fix? Where Wolfgang Puck goes for sushi or where Thomas Keller goes for pasta? Chefs Feed has the answers. With thousands of high-end to hole-in-the-wall restaurant recommendations straight from the mouths of the country’s best chefs, you’ll learn where to go, and most importantly, what to order. I always use this app, and it’s never steered me wrong.
I love international travel, but without proper understanding on how to convert currency properly could lead to a costly mistake, or embarrassment. This app gives you the ability to convert every world currency. It offers live proprietary currency rates and charts, and even stores the last updated rates so it works when the Internet doesn’t. This easy-to-use currency calculator has received over 20 million downloads, making it the most popular foreign exchange app on the market. The app converts money from all over the world, and helps users to better understand what they should expect to receive after an exchange (before fees). Since it makes use of your smartphone’s internet connection, exchange rates are constantly updated with real-time data, ensuring your exchange calculations are in line with international currency markets.
Are you one of those people that have a rewards card for every store you shop at? It always seemed liked I was constantly digging through my wallet and purse to find my Marriott, Hilton or AAA cards. Instead of carrying around dozens of rewards cards in my wallet, I preloaded these cards onto the CardStar app and have them ready for scanning. The great thing about this app is that you can receive notifications of store promos or discounts from the merchant. Plus, if you take the time to setup the Cloud backup feature, you never have to load up these cards again if you lose or need to restore your phone.
What apps and tricks do you use for traveling? I’d love to hear your tips.