So I received an amazing unsolicited guest post from a friend of mine. My friend Noah travels for work quite often and has always been into the points and miles game. Thank you Noah for putting together such a great post! Glad to know I am not the only crazy one of my friends!
As a frequent business traveler, and someone who both is a technology enthusiast and works in the mobile space, I am constantly looking for the best phone and/or tablet apps to add convenience to my time in airports or away from home. Unfortunately, each time I search for the best travel apps on Google, I get virtually the same list, consisting of Kayak, TripIt, Priceline, HotelTonight, and a whole host of hotel and airline brand-specific apps. In most cases, I close out of that article thinking “no @@@@, Delta has an app. Thanks for nothing.”
So, as a good friend of Mr. and Mrs. Deals, I thought this was the perfect forum to give insight into some newer and/or lesser known apps that might add some efficiency to your voyages. You may be aware of some or all of these, but if not, be sure to check them out. I am not being paid for the post and have no affiliation (either implicit or expressed) with any of these developers or publishers… But hey, if you want to throw me a referral bonus, I’m happy to oblige the request.
- LodgeNet (http://www.lodgenet.com/OurSolutions/ForHotels/Pages/Mobile.aspx) – I’m gonna be honest here and say it… Hotel remote controls make me want to barf. My first stop upon entering a hotel is to get the bag from the ice bucket to ensconce the remote control, followed by next stop of the sink to wash my hands. So when I heard about this awesome new app, I did an eSprint to the app store. LodgeNet is the company that owns the platform that most hotel chains use to run their TVs and TV-based interactive options (seeing bill, ordering movies, etc). Their app lets you use your phone as a TV remote! And it is really easy to use!
- Uber (www.uber.com) – Ever get stuck looking for a cab in an unknown city, unsure of any other options? Well, that won’t be the case anymore once you download Uber, who describes themselves as “Everyone’s Private Driver.” All you have to do is install and put in your credit card info, and as their website explains, “Within minutes, a professional driver in a sleek black car will arrive curbside.” It is a seamless experience. The company does not yet cover every major city, and prices are increased (I estimate about 20-40% higher than a NYC cab), but the convenience often makes it well worth it. Side bonus: The price includes gratuity, so once at your destination, you say thank you, vacate the car, and get an email receipt within a few moments.
- GateGuru (www.gateguruapp.com) – OK, so airport food sucks. We all know it. And in times where I am in an airport around meal time, I am always trying to reference these confusing maps that give me little insight into much other than the name of an eatery. Is it a full restaurant? What type of food? Is it good? Luckily, GateGuru has me covered. This smart little guide tells me what eateries are in each major airport, where they are (reference to gate numbers), and how other diners have rated the experience. It cuts down tons of time looking for the best of evils, and gives you lots more control.
- GoGo (http://www.gogoair.com/gogo/cms/mobileIphone.do) – If you’re reading this blog, you are quite familiar with GoGo by now. But their app is sooooooo much faster than dealing with that stupid sign-in page! One-click sign in is the best thing since sliced bread.
- SkyScanner (http://www.skyscanner.com/mobile.html) – We don’t need to go through the bevy of price comparison apps. But this one deserves honorable mention. Most tell you when prices are cheaper around your preferred travel date, but their user experience is a bit more graphical. They show you a chart of what days are the cheapest for both the departure and return, and make it very easy to plan the most economical trip possible. Worth a download, for sure.
- LevelUp (www.thelevelup.com) – Don’t roll your eyes at me! I know, I know… Lots of folks already know about LevelUp. But I use it mostly when I travel to big American cities. For those that don’t know, LevelUp is a mobile phone payment system. Get to the register, open their app, and hold it up to the little register thingy, and your on-file credit card is charged. It is seamless and simple, and oh so convenient. They are backed by Google, so they are sort of a big deal. Get the app, you will love it.
- Referral link (you get $5 for using the code, and then I get $5 when you use up your $5): https://www.thelevelup.com/join/?promotion_code=141150
So that is all for now, but will try to keep up and do another post down the road, if you guys comment and like it (ahem…. no pressure). If I’ve missed any, please add your two cents below. Safe (and convenient) travels!