While corporate travel can be exciting, it can also be stressful. We live in a great time, where technology makes it easier to pack our nine-to-five workload into meetings and flights with almost no downtime. The key is to identify what technology and apps are available and make sure they suit your needs.
Here are a few of the services and products that I've found immensely useful during my frequent trips abroad. The recommendations range from luggage with inbuilt chargers to travel sites for that all-important R&R.
I’ve tried a number of different suitcases throughout the years, but when I got my Bluesmart I knew I had found the one. As any business traveller, I’m always making calls and replying to emails, so even before arriving to my destination my phone is always out of battery. The Bluesmart suitcase has a really powerful battery that allows me to charge my phone, laptop and any electronic devices multiple times. I honestly couldn’t do without it now.
It comes with an integrated app that connects to my phone and sends me all the information I need to know. For example, it has location tracking anywhere in the world, which is brilliant for lost luggage. Plus it has a distance tracker that alerts me when my suitcase is coming out of baggage claim. In terms of security, it’s quite good as it automatically locks whenever I step away from it. Another great feature is its inbuilt scale which tells me if I’m within the limit of my weight allowance.
Corporate travellers continue to book flights and hotels in advance in a bid to get better deals. However, every now and then there is a last minute business trip that needs to be booked without almost any notice.
HotelTonight is a highly useful app to book last minute hotel deals at an accessible cost. You can book a hotel for tomorrow or even for tonight without paying hefty prices. Personalised airport guide
Navigating a new airport can be daunting, especially when you’re on a tight schedule. The trend toward larger airports with more amenities can make for an amazing travel experience, until you need to change terminals within minutes. TripChi is the ideal app to guide you through any airport, particularly when you have connecting flights or have a long layover.
Using TripChi on your phone enables you to find the best food and drink options, identify work stations and lounges, and learn about any special offers in the airport you’re passing through. You can enter your flight itinerary to get the best results. This is the perfect app so you never have to worry about missing a flight, go to the wrong gate or ending up checking in luggage that you thought would pass as carry-on.
Tracking expenses can be difficult when you’re on the road -- by the time you’re back in the office, you might have a bag full of receipts and might even have lost a few. With an expenses application like Expensify, travellers can take photos of their receipts and submit them directly to their company’s finance system. Expensify's SmartScan technology captures payments data directly from receipts through photos and automatically imports all approved transactions into the company’s accounting package. It creates a report based on itinerary dates and incurred expenses for every business trip, outlining the true cost of each trip.
By the time you’re back in the office, your expenses have already been submitted and are set to be reimbursed to you in your next paycheque. Expensify also enables companies to set specific policies regarding expenses, and its strict policy enforcement ensures compliance within every organisation.
TripAdvisor is my guide when I have a free afternoon or when I’m travelling to a city I’ve never been to before. I generally check out the top-rated places to eat or to visit — this always guarantees I’ll have a delicious meal or a great day exploring a new city. The thing about crowdsourced recommendations is that they tend to be less typical or touristic and are more in line with the vibe of that city.
While travelling for business can be stressful and is often packed with meetings, if you have the time I always recommend taking the opportunity to experience what new (or even familiar) cities have to offer.
Ross Fastuca is the CIO and co-founder of corporate travel platform Locomote.