I have a friend who spends so much time away from home on business that he’s tempted to write No Fixed Address on his personal information forms.
If that sounds like you, or even if you spend a small part of your working life on the road, you may want to know which apps can streamline your time away from home. A few of these apps are staples of road life, while some focus on specialty needs. Check to see if you can download information so you can read it when there is no internet connection.
These apps are free unless otherwise noted, and most are available for iOS and Android devices.
It’s good to be able to check info on flights, accommodation and transportation through a single app, and you can do that with Kayak, Booking.com, Wego, Skyscanner, Travelocity, Priceline.com and TripAdvisor (Nasdaq:TRIP), which is updated every two weeks. You can also create and keep your itinerary with these. A nice option with Kayak is having it show you the wait times at security lineups.
A lot of Canadians like the Air Canada (TSX:AC) app for booking, changing or cancelling flights, which you can also do with WestJet (TSX:WJA) and Aeroplan.
Like Skyscanner, Hopper advises travellers about discounts on flights and hotels, sending you notifications. In addition to providing flight schedules and airfare, Hipmunk sorts flight information by “agony” – price, flight duration and number of layovers.
Mr. No Fixed Address and other friends who travel recommend AllSubway HD ($1.39), which gives the rapid transit maps (205 of them and counting) for almost all cities in North America, Europe and Asia, as well as many in Africa, Australia and South America. The app has a very good zoom function to enlarge maps.
Rideways details transportation options at airports, including taxis, trains, rapid transit, buses and airport transfers. For less cost than a rental car, you might try Turo, which lists private individuals who rent their cars to visitors.
Some of my best friends are cab drivers, but I would be negligent not to mention Uber and Lyft as taxi alternatives.
While you are driving, ParkWhiz locates parking garages and lots and gives their rates.
Finding your way
Almost everyone has Google Maps, perhaps the trustiest map app with its traffic updates, transit maps, restaurant menus and indoor layouts of airports and other buildings. The maps on FetchMap ($3.99) can be magnified 16 times, with 16 times the detail. Maps.me, used for driving, walking or cycling, updates its maps daily. AroundMe (free, but $3.99 for the ad-free version) may be the best of the bunch. Tap on a subject and find all the relevant businesses in the area on the map – supermarkets, bars, parks, gas stations, hospitals, pharmacies.
A roof over your head
When it comes to hotels, in addition to Kayak, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Skyscanner and Trivago (Nasdaq:TRVG) there are three apps you can use for last-minute bookings: HotelTonight, with listings all over the world; LateRooms, probably the best for hotels in the U.K.; and HotelQuickly, for the Asia-Pacific region.
Prefer a house to a hotel, and don’t mind commuting to meetings? Airbnb lists places in homes for short or extended stays. Have bad luck with cancelled flights or long, unscheduled stopovers? Dayuse.com will find you a hotel where you can nap, shower or do whatever you can’t do at an airport lounge.
A lot of the map apps contain restaurant information, but Mr. No Fixed Address and other friends like OpenTable. Vegetarians will want to have HappyCow ($5.49), which lists vegan and vegetarian restaurants, as well as health food stores, in more than 180 countries. If you’re allergic to certain foods, put Allergy FT ($5.49) on your phone; it will notify servers in their language about your allergy.
SMS Translator, iTranslate, Waygo (for Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages) and Translate Box are all good for translating foreign languages. Google Translate, the granddaddy of them all, can translate conversations on the fly for 32 of its 103 languages.•