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Useful Apps When Traveling Domestically

Useful Apps When Traveling Domestically

Often, business travel takes people to cities they've never been and involves a very tightly packed schedule. To help you save time and money when visiting a U.S. city, there are a handful of apps to make finding exactly what businesses or services you need very simple. Your iPhone or iPad can literally become a very reliable personal concierge that's available to you at any time and anywhere.

While there are specific apps to help you find the closest pharmacy, for example, the free Around Me app allows you to choose what type of business or service you're looking for, by name or general category. This app (shown in Figure 2) then uses the iPhone or iPad's GPS system to figure out exactly where you are in order to pinpoint the closest location(s) for what you want or need, whether it's a coffee shop, dry cleaner, gas station, hospital, hotel, ATM machine, full-service bank, restaurant, or the closest Apple Store.

The Around Me app can truly be an indispensible tool for quickly finding local services or businesses, and then navigating your way to them using the turn-by-turn directions offered by Around Me and the Maps app built into your iPhone or iPad.

Many of your favorite chain restaurants and businesses, like Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Chipotle, Subway, Baja Fresh, UPS, and FedEx Office, also have their own custom apps that can help you find the closest location, wherever you happen to be. Or if you're looking for a restaurant recommendation, you can take advantage of the Zagat To Go Restaurant Guide app ($9.99) or one of many other apps available that offer fully searchable restaurant listings based on location, food type, price, quality, and a number of other factors.

If you want to find a restaurant near wherever you happen to be, check out the menu, get directions to its location, and make a reservation—all from your iPhone or iPad—you'll definitely want to utilize the free OpenTable app (shown in Figure 3), which allows you to access information about and make confirmed reservations with more than 14,000 restaurants throughout America, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

During business trips, some people don't like dining alone in restaurants. Thus, they wind up ordering room service from their hotel. Instead of having to order from your hotel's often over-priced room service menu, which typically offers only a small selection, the free GrubHub app (shown in Figure 4) pinpoints your location, and then displays a listing of local restaurants that deliver (often for free, or for a small extra delivery charge). This app works in more than a dozen major U.S. cities, and includes more than 13,000 restaurants. It provides an excellent and cost-cutting alternative to ordering hotel room service.

The GrubHub app allows you to quickly search for local restaurants that deliver, view their menus, and either call that restaurant to place an order or actually place your order online directly from the app.

If you're traveling on a tight budget and you're a member of AAA, the free AAA Discounts app pinpoints your location and then informs you of local hotels, restaurants, attractions, and other businesses or services that offer sometimes significant discounts to AAA members. Currently, more than 110,000 participating businesses and attractions in the U.S. and Canada offer AAA and CAA discounts. People who get into the habit of using this simple app when traveling often wind up saving hundreds of dollars per year.

As you're jet setting between cities, if you happen to forget an important occasion, such as a loved one's birthday or your own wedding anniversary, you can use your iPhone or iPad to quickly send flowers or a gift to someone using the free 1800Flowers app. Same-day delivery is often available.

If you use your iPhone or iPad's built-in Calendar app, and enter in important recurring dates once, like birthdays, anniversaries and holidays, you can be reminded several days in advance to plan for the occasion.

From the iPhone or iPad's Contacts app, you can also enter someone's birthday or anniversary date as part of their record (as shown in Figure 5). When entering or editing someone's contact information from the iPhone or iPad, tap the green and white plus sign ('+') icon on the Contact Info screen that says "Add Field," and then select Birthday or Date (for a recurring event, such as an anniversary). Enter the appropriate date once.

This information will automatically be displayed, year after year, within the Calendar app, which can be synced to the calendar or scheduling program you regularly use on your PC or Mac.

While traveling, you can also use your iPhone or iPad to keep up with emails and/or to read or view Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Pages, Numbers, or Keynote files. (On the iPad, when using the Pages, Numbers, and/or Keynote apps, these files can also be edited, as opposed to just viewed.)

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