From tools to track expenses to interactive city guides, there’s an abundance of apps offering help to road warriers on business trips. Happily, quite a few of these programmes are offered for free, often with the option to upgrade to a paid version. Here we have tested out five of these apps promising to make your mobile life easier.
In brief: Offering to provide information on what’s around you in a new place, this app pinpoints places ranging from restaurants to police stations nearby through a map (also available for android)
How it works: The app determines your location through your phone’s GPS system and then provides categorised lists of places nearby. One of them consists of locations with entries on Wikipedia, others show you nearby restaurants, hotels, tourist sites with reviews on Tripadvisor, or police stations in the area. Selecting an individual listing leads you to information about it and suggested routes to reach the location for both drivers or walkers. Alternatively, you can choose to view all the listed places in a category as pinpoints on a map.
Pitfalls: Listings in some categories such as post offices are not as comprehensive as they should be even for major cities
In brief: Developed by LinkedIn, this app is a handy tool for turning business cards into electronic contacts
How it works: You use the iPhone camera to take a photo of a business card and convert it into a digital listing. According to the CardMunch website, each card submitted is “transcribed, edited and reviewed by multiple workers”. This takes several hours, after which the card’s information appears as a contact listing on the app. With the input details the app can try to find the new contact on LinkedIn, saving you from having to do the search yourself. You can also easily transfer the information to your iPhone address book.
Pitfalls: Like all data being transferred online, contacts in CardMunch are arguably not totally secure
In brief: A programme that helps you keep a record each day and store photographs of receipts
How it works: The app has an easy to use interface. From the main screen, choose to record income by hitting the big green button, or an expense by hitting the big red button. You then type in the amount and select a category for the expense (transport, food, laundry etc). The app also lets you attach a photo of a receipt to each record. It records a history of your expenses and income, which can then be emailed. The record appears in the email as a table that is easily copied into Excel, and images of the receipts you have taken are shown below the table.
Pitfalls: While the basic app is free, using additional features such as working in multiple currencies or keeping two sets of expenses requires purchasing the upgraded version.
In brief: This app seeks to cover all bases and provide information about both your flight and arrival destination in one place
How it works: First you input your flight details, the app then provides a basic guide to the departure airport with shop and restaurant listings, transit information and updates on traffic delays nearby. It provides the status of your flight and will send SMS alerts if there are delays. It also offers a travel guide to the city you’re visiting collating online reviews, event listings and Wikitravel info as well as the weather forecast.
Pitfalls: Flights by smaller airlines are not recognised by the app, some users have reported that the flight status updates can be unreliable, and travel info on smaller destinations is scanty.
In brief: An app offering tools for managing loyalty accounts (also available for android)
How it works: You can search through the lists on the app for the reward schemes of which you are a member. Then enter your login details for each particular loyalty account and once that’s done, the Award Wallet app will draw information from all the input accounts, showing you a table with all the membership numbers, statuses, current balances and expiry dates. The app also lets you add non-travel related loyalty accounts such as My Starbuck Rewards.
Pitfalls: Some reward programmes may not work with the app, others such as American Airlines have blocked access through Awards Wallet. The complete lists of loyalty schemes supported by this programme can be found on the app’s website.