Travel is not always a joy ride. In some cases, it's a "stress full" exercise. You miss a flight, forget to confirm a car rental, or just get cranky when you can't find a sandwich. These new apps can help reduce some of the stress involved. They are intended for more immediate answers and provide assistance with a bit more hand holding.
1. Audi On Demand
Most rental car services don't quite provide all of the concierge services you might find at a luxury hotel. They hand you the keys and tell you to head to the parking lot. Audi On Demand is different. You can book the car and have it delivered to any destination you want. When you first book the car, a driver shows you how everything works. It's spendy--around $300 per day for an Audi S5 convertible--but handy. For now, it only works in the San Francisco area but will expand soon.
You might not be a cyclist or want to rent a bike for a few hours when you are meeting with investors for a startup or need to give a presentation across town. Yet, I've used this app before in a pinch. It works like AirBnB for bikes. You find someone around you willing to rent a bike, then pay a rental fee. In my case, it was around $18 per day, but provided transportation (and some fun) for an entire day.
This service works a bit like Audi on Demand and, ironically, also caters to the Audi crowd. Yet, it works more like a traditional rental car company. You rent an Audi A4 using an app. When you get to the airport, it's waiting for you. To unlock it and head off to your meeting or the hotel, you also use the app. It's crazy simple. I tested it in Las Vegas once and they have expanded to multiple cities of late.
Chatbots are growing in popularity. This one, meant for business or leisure travel, is run mostly by humans who can look up flights and hotel rates (and chat about the weather). There's a bot involved that looks flights, hotels, and other travel options. When you travel, the bot also reminds you about the flight and tells you about any delays. I used it recently for a trip and the agents were helpful and the bot found an awesome deal based on my travel preferences. Bonus that you can also ask about public transportation schedules. It's in a limited invite phase.
It's not meant specifically for travel, but it can be a travel saver. The app looks through your calendar and can dial all of the numbers you need for a conference call, which is helpful if you are in a hurry or sitting in a taxi. I've used it in between conference sessions at events when I didn't have time to look up the conference bridge.