Photo: Dragana Gordic/Shutterstock

9 Apps That Take the Frustration Out of Travel

Technology + Gear
by Tim Wenger Feb 19, 2018

Those who travel frequently know the frustration of keeping on top of work, itineraries, and personal stuff while on the go. Tracking expenses to file and contacts to follow up with is a just the tip of the iceberg — what about strong internet? Exercise? A good local meal?

For work-related travel, another thing that is endlessly frustrating is dealing with communication across multiple channels. Where one person uses Slack, another uses Ryver, and where one uses RedBooth, another uses Asana.

I’m the type of person who needs to process his thoughts, and writing them on paper is still the best way I’ve found to do that. I always travel with a moleskin notebook and am constantly jotting stuff down. That said, there are a handful of organizational apps that I absolutely love when on the road. I recommend these for minimizing simple frustrations that come with frequent travel.

1. For organizing travel itineraries: TripIt

The single most beneficial app for frequent travelers is TripIt. Send your travel itineraries and confirmation receipts to the app and it automatically imports them into one complete itinerary for your trip. Work multiple trips at a time, and add personal notes to each one. Their Pro version even imports flight details and updates and other up-to-the-minute travel features. I’ve yet to find a better tool for keeping travel plans all in one place. Plus, it keeps a backlog of past trips so that I can go back and look at the more hectic itineraries so that I don’t make similar mistakes again.

2. For working out on the road: SworkIt

SworkIt is a free exercise and stretching app that is awesome for travel and around the house. With options for upper body, core strength, yoga + pilates, and more, it makes exercising when you’re busy easier than ever. Not a full replacement for the gym, but a damn good start.

3. For general organization: Evernote

I constantly take notes on the road — breakfast, scenery, conversations. Something might be useful for a story down the line, or just might be something I don’t want to forget. Evernote makes it super easy to organize my thoughts, story ideas, notes regarding a specific client or project, song lyrics, or whatever else comes to my head into specific notebooks. Clipping webpages off the internet and storing them in the right notebook is super easy, as is taking screenshots and importing photos. If you find yourself arriving home from a trip with sloppy writing scribbled on hotel notepads, bar napkins, and receipts, Evernote is definitely for you.

4. For tracking expenses: Expensify

Expensify works like a done-up version of an Excel spreadsheet, and also allows for quick submission of expense forms to employers and clients. Add receipts, itemize each expense, and easily come up with the total balance due. This app eliminates the hassle of expense tracking when working for outlets that don’t have a standardized process.

5. For editing Instagram photos on the go: Aviary

Aviary is quick, free, and consistent. For Instagram, it eliminates any need to get into Photoshop or other more time-consuming photo-editing software. When traveling, I throw all of my Instagram photos through Aviary before scheduling posts to make slight adjustments to the exposure and color. As a bonus, I’m still able to throw in #nofilter without being (totally) full of shit.

6. For finding local hotspots: travelstoke

As an editor at Matador I might be biased here, but travelstoke is incredible for finding verified spots for a good meal, hike, cocktail, or tips on local customs or lingo. User-submitted spots include photos, tips and reviews — it’s kind of like Yelp meets Instagram meets Lonely Planet.

7. For finding vegetarian-friendly restaurants: Happy Cow

Those of us who are mostly or fully meatless know the struggle. I’m not one to inconvenience a group of fellow travelers, but I’m also not going to pay $12 for a Boca Burger. Happy Cow costs $3.99, but is a trusted way to find a veggie-friendly meal that you actually want to pay for in cities across the globe.

8. For finding nearby free internet: Café WiFi

Oh, glorious day. Cafe WiFi searches for nearby WiFi, tries to connect automatically, and includes tips, passwords, and other information that is readily available about nearby cafes and businesses. As a bonus, it also tests WiFi speed.

9. For finding trusted places to work remotely: Workfrom

Workfrom is in some ways similar to Café Wifi — it tests WiFi speeds, stores network passwords that other users have submitted, and shows the distance between you and nearby WiFi hotspots. But it’s specifically designed for remote work. Users post photos of spots they work, but they can also note important details like whether or not there are ample power outlets, how loud a place is, what type of seating they have, and the general vibe the user got by setting up shop there for an afternoon. It’s invaluable.

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