Slideshow

In Pictures: 15 Must-Have Android, iOS apps for business travelers

Seasoned business travelers share their favorite Android and iOS apps for booking flights and hotels, navigating airports and unfamiliar cities, staying in touch while on the move, and much more.

  • Apps for Business Travelers Business travel is back, according to a new Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) report that says U.S. business travelers spent $72.8 billion in the second quarter of 2014, up 7.1 percent over the same period last year. U.S. travellers are also busier while on the road. "Business travelers are doing more per trip than they ever have before," according to GBTA Vice President of Research Joe Bates, who spoke with USA Today. "They might go to two cities instead of one, or they might spend four nights on the trip instead of two." Android and iOS apps can help make those busy business trips less stressful and more productive. We asked frequent business travelers for their favorites and came up with the following 15 apps. (Note: The most popular app is at the end of the list.)

  • Hipmunk Android (free) and iOS (free) Hipmunk is a valuable mobile app and search engine for booking air travel and hotels. "One of its interesting features is that it provides you with what they call an 'Agony factor,' which integrates aspects you might not like about a flight, such as multiple layovers, the length of the flight, and inconvenient departure or arrival times," says Andrew Schrage, founder and CEO, Money Crashers. Hipmunk is also popular because of its user-friendly interface and ability to find bargains.

  • FlightBoard Android ($4) and iOS ($4) Webby Award winner (2012) FlightBoard displays airline arrival and departure information for every airport in the world. "It's absolutely fantastic in case I have a canceled or delayed flight," says professional comedian Dan Nainan. "It also comes in handy when an airline lies to me and tells me that a flight is delayed because of weather. I can see what's going on with the other airlines and call them out on it. This has earned me hundreds of dollars in airline flight credits as compensation."

  • AwardWallet Android (free) and iOS (free) If you fly on multiple airlines, you probably have multiple airline reward programs to track. AwardWallet is the app for you. "It supports more loyalty programs than most of the other rewards tracking apps, so you can track all of your rewards from one place," according to Money Crashers' Andrew Schrage. "It gives you reminders on expiring points as well." You can also access reward accounts without an Internet connection. Note: Some airlines, including Delta and United, don't let you import mileage points into AwardWallet.

  • GateGuru Android (free) and iOS (free) GateGuru provides airport terminal maps and a searchable index of businesses inside airports in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia. "Whenever I'm in an airport, it shows me what kind of restaurants are around me, which is fantastic because then I'm not tempted to eat fast food," says comic Dan Nainan. "In addition to functioning as a traditional airport navigation app, you can also read user reviews on restaurants, shopping and other amenities offered at the airport," says Money Crashers' Schrage. It's worth noting, however, that neither app has been updated since summer 2013.

  • HotelTonight Android (free) and iOS (free) HotelTonight's website and apps are designed to help travelers find well-priced hotel rooms in as little as a moment's notice or up to seven days in advance. "Business networking when traveling in cities like New York and L.A. means that dinner leads to another dinner, which leads to drinks or a games night," says Trevor Doerksen, founder and CEO, Mobovivo.com. "I don't know if the last conversation will happen in Santa Monica or Burbank. I just need a place close to where the last conversation took place — something with a good price that I can book while stopped at a red light. HotelTonight, along with Airbnb's app, has frequently kept me from sleeping in the rental car."

  • Airbnb Android (free) and iOS (free) The famous (some might say infamous) Airbnb apps connect people looking for an interesting place to stay, beyond a hotel or bed and breakfast, with others who have apartments, homes or other accommodations to rent. Airbnb apps are "great for folks who really want to save on the cost of lodging," says Money Crashers' Schrage. "You can easily cut your costs by as much as 50 percent." Mobovivo.com's Doerksen adds that Airbnb hosts "are always so interesting, and I like their recommendations more than the hotel concierge's."

  • MapQuest Android (free) and iOS (free) AOL-owned MapQuest was among the Web's first mapping services. In recent years, though, Google, Garmin, Waze and others passed MapQuest in popularity. But "MapQuest is the best GPS app bar none," according to comedian Dan Nainan. "It calls out the street names, and you can push buttons to see where gas stations, hotels and restaurants are." You can also use the app to create multi-stop routes, click on nearby gas stations to compare current gas prices and book hotel rooms.

  • MapFactor Android (free) The MapFactor app, which is exclusive to Android smartphones and tablets, lets you download and store global maps (from the open-source OpenStreetMap) on your mobile device. The app also provides reliable turn-by-turn directions, according to Money Crashers' Schrage. "One of its added features that you won't find with most other navigation apps is that it alerts you when you're nearing speed-detection cameras," he says. The app plays an audible warning when a qualifying camera is nearby.

  • ForeverMap 2 Android ($1) and iOS ($3) ForeverMap2, known simply as GPS Navigation & Maps on Android, calls itself a "worldwide travel map." All of the app's features, including a built-in "Wiki travel guide," are available both on and offline. "If you're worried about roaming costs while traveling, ForeverMap 2 lets you download maps from around the world before you go," says Jenny Stephens, general manager for the Americas, Skyscanner. "You can save precious battery life, too, while traveling by using the route guidance within the app with your phone in Airplane Mode."

  • Glympse Android (free) and iOS (free) Glympse doesn't help you get to your location, but it keeps others informed of your whereabouts via your device's GPS. Though some might cringe at the thought of sharing their location, Glympse is "by far one of the most useful apps I've ever used," says Nainan. "Let's say you're going to meet somebody and they're wondering where you are. You send them a Glympse, and they can immediately track where you are and how fast you're moving. There's no privacy issue, because you control how long they can see your movements, up to four hours. That way, they're not going to keep calling you and asking 'Where are you?'"

  • GoToMeeting Android (free) and iOS (free) GoToMeeting lets you join, host and schedule Web chats with multiple parties and attend webinars. It gives "the busy business traveler the ability to connect anytime and anywhere via virtual meetings," says Eduardo Herrera, APR chief communications officer, Liberty Capital Group. "I never miss a conference call or professional development webinar. All upcoming scheduled meetings are conveniently listed and joinable with a tap. Whether I'm on the road or at a coffee shop, I'm connected. Best of all, I can maintain my lifestyle without sacrificing commitment to my company or clients. Aside from the recent iOS 8 bugs, the GoTo Meeting app has been highly reliable."

  • Viber Android (free) and iOS (free) Viber is a popular messaging app that lets you text, call and send photo and video messages for free to other Viber users via Wi-Fi or cellular networks. A recent software update added the ability to make video calls, and there are desktop Windows and Mac apps available as well. Nainan says the "extremely easy-to-use" Viber is "the new Skype."

  • Cyber Dust Android (free) and iOS (free) Cyber Dust, similar to Snapchat, is a communications app that sends encrypted messages. After a recipient opens and reads a Cyber Dust message, it's deleted within seconds. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban co-founded the startup that developed the app. "I'm always messaging people while traveling, so having security and confidentiality when sending messages makes this a must-have app," says Jason Nik, life coach and author of The Warrior's Odyssey. "Additionally, all messages that aren't read disappear after 12 hours. This means everyone I communicate with on the app knows they need to read my messages soon, decreasing the time I'd have had to wait if I sent an email."

  • Sleep Cycle Android ($1) and iOS ($1) Sleep Cycle is a popular alarm clock app from Northcube AB. "Not only does [Sleep Cycle] let me know the amount and quality of sleep I get on the road, it has a great alarm clock that wakes me up gradually and has a snooze feature," says Jay Hammond, president of Informed Ideas. Sleep Cycle uses your smartphone's accelerometer to monitor your movements and looks for the best time to wake you during a preset 30-minute period. For the feature to work, you have to put your smartphone on your mattress.

  • TripIt Android (free) and iOS (free) TripIt, a travel-organizer app and website, earned the most nods for favorite travel app from our reviewers. The app provides summaries of all of your upcoming trips, which it gathers by scanning your email inbox for travel-related receipts (such as airline flight itineraries), through forwarded email or via manual entry. The summaries are clear, concise and extremely helpful, says Nainan. "I used to forget if I'd already reserved a car or a hotel in the city, but now TripIt keeps me on top of everything." There are ad-free TripIt apps for Android and iOS that cost $1 each. The TripIt Pro service ($49 per year) adds must-have features such as real-time flight alerts, flight-refund notifications and more.

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