As a global business executive, I know first hand the demands of travel. I spent more than 120 days out of the year on the road, and have supported the traveling workforces of clients every day. So how do I stay connected? Here are my thoughts on the best apps for Android smart phones – a critical tool for helping me stay in touch and on top of things while traveling.
“Like most people I use my smart phone as both a communications tool and mini computer while traveling or on the road. My Apple iPhone is my primary device, because I like its exhaustive selection of applications. However, for those times when I need to travel with a second handset (to save on data roaming costs or to access local networks), I use my Android OS phone, which also offers a great range of apps.
I am constantly testing and sampling new apps to meet both my own requirements as well as those of our clients. Below is a list of my favorite travel apps – those that I find indispensible to helping me stay engaged even as I cross time zones. I selected them based on three criteria:
1. Provision of knowledge or data that I don’t possess myself
2. Backed up by expertise and a richer web-based content version
3. Ease, speed and functionality of the application version
Here are the key travel applications that I would recommend for iPhone and iPod Touch users:
This application is the powerhouse of all my travel management requirements. I can centralize and view all my relevant travel information from flights, accommodation, meetings and various other travel support options. WorldMate (Gold) is the portable version of the online (cloud-based) application. WorldMate even helps me visually map out locations, distances and travel requirements between airports, hotels and meetings in Google maps.
This application has some overlap with WorldMate. However, I use TripIt because it primarily allows me to share my travel location and dates with colleagues, clients and even family. My itinerary can then be synchronised to prevent conflicts, or keep select contacts informed of my travels. This application works great with social networks such as LinkedIn. It also tracks my cumulative trips, countries visited, cities, miles and nights spent on the road. Lastly, it links me to the International SOS travel group so we can see where our fellow team members are traveling or have been.
An inevitable part of traveling is accounting for expenditure on expenses. Therefore, I find this tool excellent for keeping independent and accurate tabs on all my spending, expenses and other reimbursables. The cumulative archive of all my trips also helps in planning and future budgeting.
I have a lot of meetings. It seems everyone in every company has a slightly different platform for managing e-mail and scheduling calendars. Additionally, I loathe endless e-mails and text messages back and forth purely to determine availability and the best time to meet. Setting a meeting time can be complicated enough with just one person but is further compounded when multiple parties are involved! Tungle is the perfect tool, centralizing all of my meeting appointments and quickly and simply determining both my availability and that of the client, colleague or other parties. This tool is fantastic as it synchronizes my desktop calendar, mobile device and web-based applications.
Before I even commit to a trip or a meeting I like to know if there are compatible flights for the time and location required. I find FlightTrack Pro an outstanding tool to determine the reliability and flight options to and from specific locations. In addition this tool also gives me the probability of departure and arrival running according to schedule. This application is great not only for my own travel, but also for being able to track the arrival and departure flights of friends and family.
This is an excellent productivity tool that I find invaluable for travel also. Evernote enables me to cut & paste, capture, drop or simply add all the information relating to a particular trip or multiple trips. This application synchronizes between desktop applications (Outlook, Word, Internet Explorer, clipboard, etc). This ensures that all the information such as itineraries, hotel bookings, restaurants, navigation guides to client offices, local or translated phrases, maps and anything else I synchronized is available in electronic format whenever I might need it. I create separate folders for each location or activity, enabling me to quickly and efficiently access the information without opening my laptop or carrying around lots of printed or duplicated sheets of paper.
Because I’m constantly bouncing around from one location to another, I often find myself in locations that I may not very familiar with. It is important to me than I make informed decisions or find locations quickly and efficiently. I therefore use this application to help me find other people in my network, ATMs, restaurants, supermarkets or anything else I may need quickly and simply
I’m constantly working on projects, information, issues or hobbies between multiple computers or formats. I use this daily to quickly share files and content between computers, colleagues, clients and myself. I can even review presentations and notes from my iPhone just before a walk on stage without having to print or open my laptop.
The management of information – and in particular contacts – is becoming increasingly challenging. To help me with this process I use this application to make an immediate copy or store a contact business card. The information is scanned directly into my contacts list, but I can also reference this directly on my iPhone. Built-in functions allow me to call, text, email, or navigate to a particular address directly from the electronic copy of the business card. This application has saved me hours of heartache and provided timely access to valuable contacts and details.
Part of the excitement of travel is often from the challenges foreign environments bring. Everywhere is different. Different measurements, different currencies, different languages and so on. This application can help with converting pretty much anything I want transferred from one unit of measure/language into something else.