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BrandView Communications is a consultancy founded by Laura McGowan Fry.  Laura is a customer insights professional who specializes in digital strategy, ux testing, and market research.
 

The Digital Road Warrior: Ten Apps that Simplify Life on the Road

As a marketing professional, I have put in my share of time on the road.  Business tavel has its perks but it also takes me away from my home making it difficult to stay connected to my loved ones and manage household tasks.

My Smartphone and tablet have proven invaluable helping me keep it all together.

The following apps help me stay in touch with loved ones when I’m traveling and keep our household humming.

Expensify has been a fantastic way to track all of my business expenses, mileage, time on projects and to scan receipts all from my phone or tablet.  I frequently travel the toll roads of metro Chicago.  Not all booths provide receipts.  Expensify has made keeping track of these expenses much easier. 

Facetime has made traveling for business a little less lonely.  As I eat dinner alone in snazzy restaurants around the country, I am now able to chat with my husband face-to-face, hear about his day and get a glimpse of our cocker spaniel.  The only drawback I have found is that it’s a little more difficult to say goodnight and sign off.

Evernote is a browser based tool that allows me to input and access (text, pictures, etc.) information from my Smartphone, tablet or computer.  Evernote helped me plan my wedding when traveling extensively for work.  I took pictures of flowers, cakes, dresses that I noticed during my travels.  I would then upload the pictures to my Evernote account, make notes to myself about where I saw them, what I liked about them and then emailed the pictures to service providers (e.g., pastry chef who made our cakes, the florist who made my bouquet, etc.).

Flight Stats gives me updated information on my flights (i.e., delays, cancellations, etc.) and  airport conditions.  This has proven incredibly valuable during bad weather and particularly busy travel times.

Chase’s app gives me the ability to deposit my expense checks outside of normal business hours by taking a picture from my Smartphone and inputting it into the Chase app. 

Weight Watchers eTools keeps me honest.  Dining in restaurants sounds great until you start to watch the weight come on.  eTools allows me track everything I am eating along with my daily exercise via their proprietary points system. 

Flipboard keeps me abreast of the latest world news.  It’s “flip-like” navigation is fun to interact with and allows for customization – you pick the types of content you want to have access to on a regular basis (e.g., design, technology,  photography, business, etc.) and Flipboard serves it up in real time.

Starbucks makes paying for my latest caffeine fix a breeze – and fun!  I put money on my account via my credit card.  When paying I swipe my phone across the store’s reader and my account is automatically debited.  The app also provides weekly free song downloads, free beverage awards, free in-store refills when you reach Gold status, eGift cards, and a store locator (essential for the business traveler).

TripIt keeps my travel itinerary in one easy to read app.  It chronologically organizes all of my travel plans: hotels , flights, meetings, rental cars, etc.  It also stores confirmation numbers, driving directions and local maps.  It’s a social tool allowing me to keep track of the travel plans of colleagues and friends, as well.

RunKeeper was one of the first apps I downloaded when I got my first iPhone about five years ago.  It has never let me down.  It maps my runs, tracks my mileage, and records my pace.   It’s fun looking back on all of the maps – a bit of a diary of where business and running has taken me over the past few years.

There are times when I curse technology.  There are times when I feel handcuffed to my iPhone and iPad.  But upon reflection, technology really does keep me connected (good or bad) and simplifies my life a bit.

Note: This post has also been submitted to CNN iReports