Booking business trips can be a pain – especially if you have to do it yourself, and are on a budget. The Internet made things a lot better, offering more information and simplfying matters by making elongated phone calls and trips to the travel agent redundent.
And now in the mobile first, app driven era, there are plenty of applications that make it cheaper and easier to get things sorted. Some will give you ideas of what to do when you get there, making the experience of business travel a bit more pleasurable.
So here is our guide on the best apps to help you plan your next trip on your smartphone or tablet. You can thank us from the boardroom – or the sun lounger – later.
“You handle the booking. We take care of the rest.” Bold claims from TripIt, but this is their M.O., so we mustn’t quibble. TripIt specialises in pulling together all of the elements of your holiday – flight times, hotel bookings, rental car papers – and turning it into a smart, interactive itinerary that you can access at any time, even offline. Using information from the confirmation emails that come in droves once you book everything, the app works “automagically” to make the process of going away all the more simpler. And that’s something we all crave, isn’t it?
The first instance of one of the more mainstream inclusions to this list, the notion of Booking.com will no doubt already be on your radar. But their accompanying app is especially ideal if you decide to tag on a few extra days as it helps you find the best deals for hotels near to your location, add nights to your stay or cancel bookings altogether.
Another of the leading contenders in the “oh yeah, them” stakes, TripAdvisor actually offer five different apps that cover all of their services. There’s two separate apps for mobile and tablet that offer everything that’s already on their flagship website (book hotels and flights; thousands of reviews on all things holiday), while their SeatGuru (which helps you find the best seats on hundreds of airlines), GateGuru (a pocket guide to hundreds of airports worldwide) and thefork (which enables you to book a table at some of the best restaurants across the globe) platforms have been converted to app form to be downloaded at your convenience.
Much like TripIT, TripCase aims to help you realise all your travel plans in the most painless and stress-free way possible by organising all of your confirmations emails into one handy digital itinerary. Their mission – to “deliver the right information at the right time” – may sound a bit corporate and blah, but the functionality of their management app is highly-rated in travel circles: it’s also available in nine languages, which is a nice addition.
One of the biggest travel-technological sensations to come out in recent years, you probably already know about (and may have indeed partaken in) the Airbnb revolution. But just in case you’re not up on the travel phenomenon, well: the app offers over 600,000 accommodation listings in 34,000 cities across the world that can be booked with just a couple of taps. A fine alternative to hotel-staying, Airbnb provides more of a homely and unconventional means of travelling – you may even feel compelled to offer up your own home as an Airbnb listing after using the app.
A bit of a wildcard entry, but if you’re going away and have nothing but meetings to look forward to, then it might be a good idea to do some research first – and where better to start than by finding out where the best watering holes are located in your destination? Untappd is on hand to be your drinking buddy by listing the best bars and pubs that are closest to your location, with user reviews, photos and directions available – no more stumbling about on the main strip for you, drinky.
When going abroad, you probably need to source some of the local currency before you depart. XE Currency exists to help you find out the going exchange rates, calculate prices and view historical charts (whatever that means), which you’ll find to be very handy before and during your stay.
Hotels, hotels, hotels – Hotels.com is here to help you book your hotel, unsurprisingly. Enabling super-fast bookings and pages and pages of filtered-to-your-specification options, the app also presents you with the best last-minute deals if you’re in dire need of accommodation/a quick getaway. Plus, if you “collect” 10 nights with them you can get one night’s free stay through their reward scheme – EXCITING!
Not an app for the canoeing enthusiasts among you, Kayak actually hooks you up with the cheapest flights, hotels and car hires to help you “save money with mobile-only rates and private deals” that are exclusive to the travel service. It’s particularly good for planning your trip as the new ‘Save’ button (which didn’t exist before for some reason) “lets you quickly add your favourite flights, hotels and car hires to a KAYAK trip, [enabling you to] review and purchase on the go or book later when you get back to your computer.” You can also monitor price changes, share plans with friends and family, and book directly from your saved list of hotels/flights/kayaks.
And finally, we have Travel List – remember how, when packing you always seem to forget something? Well those days are over, friend: Travel List is the digital packing list that you’ve always needed. Build a list of to-bring items that are organised by category – such as clothes, personal care products, travel documents – tap items that you’ve already packed, and add reminder for items that need to be packed at the last minute – like your passport. Don’t forget your passport, now: that would ruin your trip and probably get you in trouble with your boss, now wouldn’t it? Download Travel List, and that horror scenario can’t possibly unfold. Probably.
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