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The traditional emergency travel checklist as you walk out the door tends to be “Tickets? Money? Passport?”, but these days it’s worth adding “Smartphone?” to your list of essentials if you’re travelling for work.
As a technology consultant and someone who’s generally just passionate about tech, I’m always looking for ways technology can make my life easier. On a recent trip to the States, it dawned on me just how invaluable it is to have a smartphone in your pocket, equipped with smart traveller apps to make my trip easier. It’s true that some people can become a little too attached to their handheld gadgets, but you shouldn’t underestimate how useful they can be when you’re in unfamiliar territory.
There is a plethora of smart traveller apps out there worthy of mention, but here are a few of my favourites:
There’s something to be said for wandering the streets of a new city and discovering its hidden treasures, but when you’re on the clock you simply need the fastest way to get from A to B. Part of Google Maps’ attraction is that it’s integrated with so many different modes of transport, from Uber and live traffic feeds to train, bus and ferry timetables. Not only does it stop you getting lost, but Google Maps also makes it easier to plan your trips in advance.
Rather than trying to put a Google search query into words, with Google Goggles you can simply snap a photo of something and run it through Google’s image search to find out more about it. It can also translate foreign text on the fly, similar to Google Translate.
It’s similar to Google Maps but specifically designed for in-car navigation when you’re behind the wheel. Waze is extremely easy to use, factors in live traffic updates and can even integrate with your calendar to tell you when you should leave for an appointment.
Depending where you’re travelling, sometimes Uber is the most convenient and cost-effective way to get around. You don’t need to mess around with cash, cards or paper receipts as it’s all handled in the app, which makes it easier to process your expenses when you get home. You’ve also got Uber Eats, which makes for a great alternative to room service.
An excellent tool for managing your travel itinerary, TripIt lets you track your flight, hire car and accommodation bookings all in the one smart app. It makes it easy to check for upgrades and even issues real-time flight alerts if there’s a delay.
If you can’t afford to forget an important password when you’re far from home then 1Password might be the answer. Compatible with computers, smartphones and tablets, 1Password puts your passwords at your fingertips, but still keeps them safe from prying eyes.
For all the advancements in modern technology, we’re still attached to the idea of handing out old-fashioned business cards. Rather than just throwing them in your bag, CamCard lets you snap a photo of a business card to scan the details and create a contact in your address book.
Whether you’re travelling for business, pleasure or a bit of both, TripAdvisor is great way to plan your trip in advance so you can hit the ground running. It’s full of great advice to help you avoid falling for those typical tourist traps.
If you’re looking to avoid the sting of international roaming then VoIP services like Skype can come to your rescue, either running on your desktop or mobile gadgets.
Netflix & Spotify
When you’re ready for some downtime it’s great to have your favourite movies and music at your fingertips; you might even throw a Bluetooth speaker in your bag to get your hotel room rocking. Netflix’s addition of offline mode now lets you watch videos when you don’t have internet access, such as when you’re stuck on a long-haul flight.