Small business owners are always on the go. With fewer employees and smaller geographic coverage, small business owners and their employees can be on the road (and in the air) far more often than their big business counterparts. To help you navigate the maze of available apps for small business travel, we've compiled a list of the 17 most essential apps your small business can use to help make traveling easier, less expensive, more organized (and more fun)!
A penny saved
Many small business owners are familiar with Hipmunk’s online search engine for affordable flights and hotels, but the mobile version turns it up a notch. The app maintains the familiar ability to sort flights by ‘agony’ factor (including flight length and number of stops), and the ability to find a last minute hotel. It also syncs with your calendar to book travel that fits with your schedule, searches for accommodations near your meeting space and provides a heat map of spots close to restaurants, shopping and nightlife.
When you run a small business, last minute travel is sometimes a reality. With the slogan Plan less, live more the Hotel Tonight app lets you search for the most affordable deals on last minute hotels, up to seven days in advance of your trip. Just three taps and a swipe of your finger is all it takes to book a room, making the process quick and easy for the small business owner on the go. The detailed hotel profiles and 24/7 support means you’ll rest easy once you arrive.
Billed as the No. 1 Mobile Travel App, Kayak allows you to compare hundreds of travel sites in seconds on your smartphone or tablet. Search for flights, hotels and rental cars and manage your itinerary all in one place. You can also use Kayak to track flight status, get price alerts, find airport maps and more. The comprehensive app allows you to sort flights by expense, duration and departure and arrival times. If you need more detail, the app also provides information on how often a flight arrives on time, the fare code, aircraft model, distance, and number of remaining seats.
Keep it simple by allowing the TripIt app to store your entire travel itinerary in one place. The app will provide you all the information you need for your trip—from flight schedules, hotel bookings, meeting schedules and more—all in one easily accessible location, including easy to use calendar organization. Forward all confirmation emails to your TripIt account, and let the application take care of the rest, so you can take care of more pressing concerns.
Packing is not on most small business owners’ lists of fun things to do. But when business travel looms, smart packing is a necessity. The Packing Pro app lets you create a master list that can be sorted by family member (and even pets). Choose from sample lists pre-built for business travels or those who travel light. Modify these lists to suit your needs, or create your own list from scratch. The apps pre-built expert assistance will create a custom list based on your criteria (number of travelers, duration, temperature, destination, etc.). Categories include medical, healthrelated items, and specific clothing styles (evening gowns, anyone?). Pre-trip, mid-trip, and post-trip checklists make this app a beginning-to-end resource for the organized traveler — or for the traveler who dreams of becoming one.-
If you were the President of the United States, you’d likely enter every meeting with a carefully prepared dossier on everyone present. Most small business owners don’t have the same resources, but Refresh aims to get you a few steps closer. The app will search the Internet and social networks, providing important information about those you’ll be connecting with on your trip. Discover shared interests and important moments prior to meeting in order to optimize your connection and make meetings more meaningful. Bonus: Link to Evernote to transfer your notes, keeping all important information in one central location.
You’ve done everything right leading up to your trip, and now you can rely on Gate Guru to get you door to door on your day of travel itself. Traveling can often be a stressful and frustrating experience but the Gate Guru app aims to change that, displaying current and future trips, a detailed itinerary, real time updates like security wait times and flight delays, as well as airport specific information. Reserve a discounted rental car in just two taps, or track your travel stats and compare your rank with other users, all from the app interface.
Not renting a car? Hopstop will help you get from Point A to Point B by finding a subway, bus, train, bike, and walking routes in more than 600 cities worldwide. Transit maps, station routes, and station schedules will help you get where you need to go, worry free. Need a cab? The app will even calculate the estimated fare.
It can be hard to navigate a strange city, especially when you have no idea where to find the things that you need. The AroundMe app will quickly find services and businesses in your vicinity to help you find exactly what you’re looking for, from banks to hospitals to gas stations, to the perfect corner coffee shop for that emergency latte. Once you’ve found where you need to go, the directions feature will get you there.
Dude, where’s my car? The only thing worse that not being able to find your parked car, is not being able to find your parked rental car in a strange city after a long day of meetings. With Honk, you can avoid that dreaded experience and save yourself from expensive and unwanted parking tickets with a quick swipe. Written or voice memos, photos and GPS functions (including step-by-step walking directions) will get you quickly back to your parked car. ATMs, cafes, parking garages, and gas stations can also be located via the app. Bonus: Use the minute-by-minute parking meter display, and you’ll also make it back in time to beat that traffic cop waiting to slide that ticket under your wiper.
Take care of business
Yes, it’s the granddaddy of stay-organized-do-all-the-things apps for a reason. If you’ve not yet converted to this superpower app, your upcoming trip is the perfect excuse. Create searchable meeting notes, folders to share word docs or excel spreadsheets with collaborators, build pre-trip checklists, forward important emails and save receipts. You can also create a notebook for each trip — saving boarding passes, hotel and car reservations, schedules, maps, and important contact information for each trip in one safe place. Best of all, it’s cloud based; all of your work is automatically synced and can be accessed on any device that has Evernote installed.
Tired of traveling with a wallet stuffed with receipts for everything from your rental car to your morning coffee? Concur keeps your expenses organized, tracked, saved with the ease of taking a photo. Expense reports can be quickly and easily submitted online or by the mobile app. Reimbursements can be processed more quickly and many charges can be reimbursed directly to bank accounts. Bonus: It integrates with TripIt for business.
Never be without an important file again. This cloud-based app allows you to save and sync documents across all of your devices, and easily create joint folders to share or work with others. No matter where you are, use Dropbox to to easily collaborate with connections on your trip, or to seamlessly update documents for co-workers back in the office. Mark documents as "favorites" to make them accessible offline or at 30,000 feet.
Ever been away from home and unable to find a decent wireless connection to save your life? It’s frustrating on any occasion, but if you depend on an online connection to do your work, it’s essential. The WiFi Finder app will scan for wi-fi hotspots near your location and search for free public wi-fi anywhere in the world. Now you can be sure that you can send that important document exactly when you need to, instead of having to wait until you’re back at your hotel.
Don’t forget to have fun
Along with helpful abilities like tracking real-time news, weather, traffic, transit, parking and directions, MyCityWay also gives you instant access to what is happening around you with the tap of a tile. The app learns from you, delivering relevant information all day long, based on factors like your location, intent and time of day, helping you explore restaurants, shops, nightlife, or to find that all-important public restroom.
You’ve worked hard and are ready for a little bit of fun before heading home. Peek will help you search, discover and book interesting experiences, providing personalized options based on location and interests. On initial open, the app prompts users through a personality quiz to determine the activities best suited to their tastes, then makes suggestions suited to individual preference, which are filterable based on price and points of interest. Peek uses geo-location to serve up nearby activities and often offers same day booking, integrating with Apple’s passbook to enable voucher redemption and provides email confirmation, directions and maps.
Stay safe and plan ahead. There’s no doubt that by the end of a long day or week of business meetings, a night out on the town can look pretty appealing. With this app in hand, you won’t have to worry about ending up stranded or standing out on a dark street corner hailing a cab late at night. Curb allows you to book a cab nearby, track it’s geographic location and pay for the ride with your credit card — all without leaving the app. Getting you home safe and sound, and in time to rest up for that 8am meeting!