As a small business owner, travel may be a high priority part of how you do business. A study by Oxford Economics found that investing in face-to-face interactions with out-of-town clients and potential clients has a significant payoff — for every dollar invested in travel, companies made $9.50 in revenue and $2.90 in profit.
But as any seasoned business traveler knows, these excursions can be a major source of stress. From delayed flights to hard-to-navigate cities, travel is full of potential problems. A survey by CWT Solutions found that travel-related stress negatively affects both the traveling employee (or owner) and the company’s bottom line.
Fortunately, technology has come a long way in making travel simpler and easier. Travel apps are a particularly convenient and portable way to deal with a variety of travel issues.
TripIt is a free app that allows you to easily keep all of your travel information in one place. You no longer have to print out and keep track of boarding passes, hotel reservations, or rental service information. Instead, simply forward the confirmation emails from these venues to email@example.com.
TripIt then integrates this information into a travel itinerary which you can access from your smartphone — with or without WiFi access. The app also provides notifications for upcoming events, directions to all of your destinations and tools to share your information with interested parties.
TripIt also offers TripIt Pro, which for an annual subscription of $49 gives you access to additional features such as real-time flight alerts, notification if a better seat is available, the ability to track reward points in one place, and an “ad-free mobile app experience.”
TripIt is available on the iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone 7.
In the aforementioned survey, CWT Solutions asked business travelers to rate the stressfulness of common travel issues. Among the most stressful: Flight delays.
While no app can ensure that your flight will arrive on time, FlightTrack will keep you informed of any delays, changes or cancellations, and will provide you with alternative flight options.
In fact, FlightTrack can tell you anything you need to know about your flight, including your departure and landing times, gates and terminals, your aircraft model, and in some cases, your baggage carousel. For five dollars, you can get FlightTrack 5, which syncs with TripIt and integrates your detailed flight information with your travel itinerary.
FlightTrack is available on the iPhone, iPad and Android.
Hailing taxis to all of your destinations can be a stressful and time-consuming process. Curb (formerly Taxi Magic) is a free app that lets you book a nearby taxi with just the tap of a button. Using your smartphone’s GPS and local dispatch systems, the app sends a taxi to your exact location while allowing you to track its progress on your phone.
Curb also lets you pay directly from your phone, after which you’ll be sent an expense-report-friendly email receipt. The app also estimates your fare beforehand, and lets you message your driver directly in case your location or plans change.
Curb is available on iPhone and Android.
Evernote is a great organizational app. The app downloads to all of your devices, including computer, phone and websites, so you access it at every stage of your trip. It includes a text editor, photo upload tool, and voice recording device, allowing you to capture and save images, make to-do lists, schedule your plans and synchronize information with your travel companions.
The Evernote Web Clipper also lets you clip online articles to browse at your convenience. You can find and clip tourist destinations, restaurant menus and much more. The app will also help you keep track of all your business documents, including word documents, excel spreadsheets and important emails.
Evernote is available on the iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry and, of course, Windows devices.
So on your next business trip, don’t resign yourself to needless stress and hassle — travel smart with travel apps instead.
Updated June 2015