I travel regularly for business and personal and the use of mobile technologies has dramatically improved the overall experience. As I author this blog post, I am in the middle of a two-and-a-half week business trip throughout Asia Pacific including Singapore, Thailand, Australia and the Philippines and I can't imagine making the trip without a smartphone. Here are a few of my favorite mobile applications for travel:
- Travel plans: TripIt. All of my travel plans (hotel, airline, restaurants, etc.) all in one place. In addition, I've installed the TripIt app on my wife's phone so she can view my up to date travel plans
- Maps: Apple Maps, Google Maps, Waze. If I'm exploring on my own, I'll need maps so I won't get lost and get walking and public transport directions. I've also needed to give assistance to cab drivers on more than one occasion. If I'm driving. I'll use Waze which has great real-time traffic information.
- Taxis: Uber. While I can't use it everywhere, it's helped me get a cab on more than one occasion.
- Restaurants and hotels: TripAdvisor, Yelp. While I prefer to get restaurant recommendations from locals, sometimes I'm in the mood to explore.
- Weather: Weather Channel, My Radar. Be prepared!
- Clock: My smartphone functions as my alarm clock in the morning and helps me keep track of the current time, where I'm going and the time back home.
- Banking: Chase. Just because I'm traveling, doesn't mean that there aren't bills to be paid. As a long time Chase customer, I'm a big fan of their mobile banking app which allows me to pay bills view my account and make transfers on the go.
- Social: Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram. I enjoy checking in and posting pictures on Facebook and and Foursquare to share with family and friends. If I take what I think is a particularly good photo, I'll post to Instagram.
- Airline: Kayak, SeatGuru, airline check in applications, in flight entertainment apps. If I need to find a flight, Kayak is my go to application. Once I've booked a flight, I always use SeatGuru to make sure I get the best seat possible and I don't get stuck in a seat that doesn't recline next to the rest room. I'm a big fan of airline check in applications which allows me to go directly to the gate with an electronic boarding pass. In addition, several, including Delta, will automatically re-book if the flight is cancelled or delayed. Other useful functions include the ability to change my seat and view my frequent flyer points. In flight entertainment applications from Delta, Virgin, Rouge and others allow me to watch in-flight entertainment on my mobile devices.
- Communications: phone, FaceTime, iMessage. At the end of the day, a smartphone is also a phone and I use it to speak to colleagues, participate in conference calls and talk to family and friends back home. Apple tools like FaceTime allow me to see my wife and kids. iMessage/SMS is a great way to send and receive quick messages without getting lost in email.
- Language and currency exchange rate and conversion: Google Translate, XE Currency.
Finally, while not a mobile application, a critical tool for me is an external battery to keep my smartphones and tablets charged and ready. As a heavy smartphone user, I'm unable to get a full day from the battery - especially when using GPS and location services. My favorite external batter is the Anker Astro. While it's a bit bulky, the key advantage is that it can provide multiple recharges for both smartphones and tablets with its 13,000mAh capacity.
What are your favorite travel applications?