Travel Apps for Exceptional Assistants

An exceptional EA anticipates and executes plans that reflect the preferences of her/his travellers, be it airlines and seating location on the aircraft, means of transport between airport and accommodation or meeting locales, hotel and fitness facilities, currency exchange, visa and immunization planning, and rewards points that may accrue to the company or to the individual.

Whether you’re arranging travel for your boss or planning personal holidays, there are a number of apps that can enhance both itinerary planning and the travel itself.

Tripit cTripit (free or $0.99) and Tripit Pro ($49/year) – You can print off realms of pages of hard copy confirmations, or you can download Tripit to your iPhone or iPad. All right, I’m among those who will still maintain a hard copy of key information in my carry-on bag, but it’s a treat to simply take all those travel confirmation e-mails from airlines, hotels and more, and forward them to plans@tripit.com for consolidation of all such details into in interactive itinerary – an itinerary that you can share by e-mail, Facebook and LinkedIn. Sign up with your e-mail address and create a password, and then verify your e-mail to begin using this winner of multiple awards.

The difference between the free and upgraded versions is that the upgraded versions don’t expose you to advertising. If you or your boss travel frequently, a $49 per annum upgrade to Tripit Pro will get you flight monitoring for potential cost savings, notification of flight delays and options for alternate flights. Tripit Pro stores your travel reward accounts and tracks rewards points; it sends you an alert if the price of your flight drops and your airfare is eligible for a refund of the difference in price. If you select the Pro version, its Inner Circle enables a traveller to automatically share trip itineraries with one’s partner/spouse and includes complimentary one-year memberships to Hertz #1 Club Gold and Regus Gold, providing access to 1,200 business lounges around the world.

FlightBoard FlightTrrack1FlightTrack (free), FlightTrack Pro ($9.99) and FlightBoard ($3.99) – Whether you’re sending your boss on business travel, heading to a conference yourself, preparing to pick someone up at the airport or preparing for your family’s personal travel, FlightTrack is seen by many as a traveller’s dream.

Mobiata’s app is designed for use on an iPhone or iPad and, depending on whether you download the free or fee-version, covers 3,000 or 5,000+ airports and 1,400 airlines (did you know there were this many?), and provides real-time updates.

Tap on a zoomable map to check a flight’s precise locale, and use FlightTrack to check for departure and arrival times, including terminal and gate numbers; the app’s cancellation and delay updates enable you to check for alternate flights. Depending on the version you download, you can share flight status by various media; e-mail, Facebook and Twitter; you can also store seat numbers and add notes. The maps work in offline mode while on the plane, and the upgraded version offers airport delay predications and sync with your Tripit flight itineraries. While Forbes says, “If you travel by air, you’re going to want this application”, the New York Times succinctly declares it to be “Brilliant”.Download FlightBoard, and you have the equivalent of an airport’s arrival and departure boards on your iPhone.

Additional Travel Apps

Weather

  • Celsius – International Travel Weather Calculator (free and $.99 versions) – Celsius relies on push technology to display real time temperatures on your iPhone or iPad screen, along with 10-day forecasts and detailed weather reports for cities worldwide.
  • Weather+ (free and $.99) – If you have  iOS 6, then Weather+ provides information on wind direction and speed, humidity, precipitation, pressure and visibility, and five-day forecasts for all worldwide weather stations. You can rearrange the settings of the widgets to suit your preferences – text only, or clock and daily forecast, clock, daily and hourly forecast, and so on. You can view forecasts for unlimited cities around the planet on this app designed for the iPhone, iPad and iPod, and can switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit, as well as kilometers and miles. The New York Times categorises Weather+ as “the most useful weather app”.
  • Yahoo! Weather (free) – Yahoo backs its forecasts with photos to reflect the locale, current weather conditions and time of day. You can swipe the screen horizontally to select from locations you’ve searched, and a vertical swipe of the screen will provide detailed weather information.

Currency Exchange

  • XE Currency (free) and XE Currency Pro ($1.99) – You’ve likely used the web version of this currency converter, which refreshes rates every minute and stores the previously uploaded rates so that they’re accessible even if Wi-Fi access isn’t. You can use this app to convert prices without relying on internet access. The Pro version is advertising free, and enables you to simultaneously monitor twice as many currencies as the free version.

Expense Tracking

  • Expensify (free, with versions for both the iPhone and iPad) – The Wall Street Journal declares, “Expensify  is like a virtual accountant”, and Business Insider and Forbes join in the praise, offering that it is “The Best Business Travel App”( BI) and “A mobile app that helps you run your business” (Forbes). Any assistant or executive who has scrambled to locate receipts will appreciate that Expensify may be used to take photos of receipts, and select reports to which the expense should be allocated. With SmartScan technology, your app will read the receipt to create the expense record, eliminating manual entries. If you’ve lost a receipt, you can import your credit card transactions to generate (for our US readers) what Expensify identifies as IRS guaranteed eReceipts for purchases under $75. This app can also be useful for tracking personal travel expenses.

There’s No Place Like Home

  • If keeping informed with what’s going on at home is important, download apps for your preferred media source before departing.

Location-Specific Conference, Tourism, Dining, Entertainment and Transit Apps

  • Use your Smartphone, iPad/tablet to search out location-specific information for any given trip, before departing. You’ll be amazed by the scope of what’s available.
  • Are you departing for, or sending someone to, a conference? Check the conference website and watch for updates from the hosts since, increasingly, well organised functions have apps that make it a breeze to review the agenda to identify which sessions you want to attend, and then tap on another icon to pull up the conference centre or hotel floor plan to help find your way through the maze of conference centre meeting rooms.

Have you been using these or other travel apps? Do your homework to assess what will work best for you, both personally and in your professional role, and enjoy the travel on your horizon.

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