Smart Phones Making Travel Smoother
As business owners increasingly adopt smartphones, applications and services are emerging to make business and leisure travel easier and less expensive by providing wireless information while you're planning a trip, en route and when you arrive at your destination.
Some of the most valuable wireless travel-related apps fall into several categories that can help you before and during your trip.
Before you head out, apps can help you find the least expensive way to travel, and can alert you to specific deals.
Most airlines and leading hotel chains have developed smartphone apps to help travelers check in remotely, receive updates about delays, or change their travel plans remotely. Hotel apps, for instance, allow registered users to book or change rooms, check in, and manage their loyalty program points wirelessly. Some allow you to schedule room service meals before you arrive, potentially saving you time after you've checked in.
Apps can also help you organize and share itinerary data with family members and colleagues, and can also connect with social networking platforms if you'd like to share your plans more broadly.
Popular travel planning apps include TripIt, TripAdvisor, Hipmunk, Kayak, and others.
If you're traveling by air, a number of airlines are offering travelers the option of replacing paper-based boarding passes with barcodes that are sent directly to their smartphone screens. This service can be especially helpful for your trip home, since you may not have access to a printer on the road.
Similarly, apps can help you monitor your flight status, as can wireless alerts from your airline. If you're meeting someone at the airport, he or she can also follow your flight online and keep track of whether you're landing later than planned.
Popular choices include FlightView for air travelers and Waze for car travel. XE Currency can help international travels manage currency exchange rates.
When you arrive at your destination, your smartphone's navigation app can help you get from point to point, either by driving (complete with up-to-the-minute traffic conditions), walking, or using public transportation.
Need an ATM or pharmacy? Your phone can help you with the closest options, or direct you to 24-hour outlets if that's what you need. Some applications can also use your location data to direct you to the nearest public restroom.
Popular local-info apps among travelers include Yelp, City Mapper, Google Maps, Field Trip, Foodspotting, and others.
An ever-growing range of applications and services optimized for mobile handsets can offer business and leisure travelers wireless access to important information that can make their trips easier and less expensive.