I am constantly amazed at the innovations between technology and travel. Did you know that an app can allow you to skip those long customs lines? Or that you can get rewards for staying below your travel budget?
The perks between travel and convenience through technology aren't going away anytime soon. While traveling for business can be stressful, if you've got a smartphone you can make the journey smoother and more productive. I've rounded up some of the best apps available for iOS and Android that'll make traveling more pleasant.
If you've ever traveled overseas and back to the United States, you've likely filled out a blue and white declaration card that asks about your journey and what goods you are bringing into the U.S. This free app does away with that.
Officially recognized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Mobile Passport app requires the same pertinent information regarding you and your trip that the card does. However, once completed, CBP will issue a receipt to you which you then present to an officer for inspection. As an added bonus, users of this app have a designated line that is often shorter than the other customs lines.
If you've ever felt overwhelmed by confirmation emails and booking references, you should download the free TripIt app. Forward all of your emails to TripIt and it will create a master itinerary that can be accessed offline and on other devices. You can also share your plans with others.
Additionally, if you're a frequent traveler, TripIt offers to find alternate flights, seat options, refund notifications, and even keeps track of all the reward points earned for $49/year. The central dashboard and synced calendar tools can be used to manage a team of traveling employees.
I don't know about you but I find packing to be one of the more tedious tasks when preparing to travel. PackPoint helps with the process by building a packing list for you. Simply enter the dates, places, and reasons for your trip and PackPoint will create a list of items you should consider bringing based on your answers. You can add people to your packing list and even connect your list to your TripIt account. This app costs $2.99.
If you are a business traveler or manager, you need this free app. TravelBank helps you budget your trips and makes it easy and convenient to upload expense reports. Booking travel, creating a budget, and scanning receipts are some of the features that are offered on TravelBank. And if you end up beating your budget, you can receive rewards for services such as Lyft, Uber, and Airbnb.
Have you ever had a long layover in a city and just wanted a place to shower, rest, and catch up on work for a few hours before an evening flight? Dayuse.com allows you to do just that. This free app allows you to book a hotel room for use during the day at up to 75% off the price of staying overnight. You can cancel anytime and pay when you arrive. Additionally, you are free to use the hotel amenities and can have services delivered to you.
If you've ever wanted access to an airport lounge, this app can help. LoungeBuddy lets you book access to airport lounges worldwide, up to two months in advance or even on the day of travel. You don't have to be a first-class or business class flyer to use the app. But if you are, the app can help you determine if you have free access to a lounge near your destination.
App in the Air
Billed as a "Personal Flight Assistant", this free app keeps you up to date on your flight status. It creates a timeline that shows estimated check-in, boarding, take-off, and landing times. It can also keep you up to date on weather and currency. Users are encouraged to leave tips for others which can include best coffee shops in the airport or best places to charge your phone.
These apps can help both personally, professionally, and even collectively as an office. Even better, most of them are free to use. Download these must have apps before your next trip.