Trusty mobile tools and tips for the road warrior

The essential tips and apps for maximizing your mobility when traveling

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If you're flying, you should have your airline's app if it's available. I usually check in for my flight from the app, and if I am using the iPhone, I add the boarding pass to the Apple Passbook app -- it really does make getting on a flight easier. An airline app can also help you rebook a flight if there is a delay, and it usually has the contact information for the airline.

I also use an app called TripIt to manage my travel information, although WorldMate works very well, and Concur has a great app if your company uses its booking service for business travel. These apps help you keep track of confirmation numbers, times, and weather. I have found them invaluable when looking for the address of a hotel, finding a confirmation number, or just figuring out how to get around (many of them provide local maps in the app).

When I land at my destination airport, I find that one of my most valuable apps is Uber. Using it, I can call for a car to the hotel or wherever I need to go in a lot of cities. If Uber doesn't serve your destinations, check out apps like Hailo that allow you to call a taxi. I also download a local transit app, so I can get around on the subway or buses if the city I am in has public transportation. I, of course, have the Waze app in case I rent a car, and I use either Google Maps or Apple Maps, depending on what type of smartphone I have on me, for walking directions. Recently, I walked more 10 miles in downtown Amsterdam and didn't get lost once. I also didn't have to fumble with a map like many other people did.

Navigation and map apps are also great for finding nearby stores, such as Starbucks or the Apple Store. It's great to know where the local Starbucks are (they do exist in foreign countries) because the free Wi-Fi can be worth its weight in gold. The Apple Store also provides free Wi-Fi; I used it in Amsterdam one Sunday for about 10 minutes to make a free FaceTime call with my wife. It was easy and nothing went on the phone bill!

If you don't use a loyalty app like CardStar, you are missing out. I store all of my hotel, supermarket, drug store, and rental car numbers in it. No matter where I am, it becomes much easier to find the numbers from the app (which will display the barcode if there is one to be scanned) than to have a keychain or wallet filled with all the cards. Who wants to be bothered carrying all that around?

Use social media before you go somewhere to get tips on the location, weather, and everything else. I use Twitter extensively and have met many friends in real life in many places through the use of Twitter. Social media apps can also help amplify the message when you're having a problem, which may get you help more quickly.

In the end, using your mobile devices effectively invariably eases the pain of going somewhere new.

A version of this article, "Trusty mobile tools and tips for the road warrior," originally appeared at A Screw's Loose and is republished at with permission (© Brian Katz). Read more of Brian Katz's The Squeaky Wheel blog at or at A Screw's Loose. For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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