In today's world, business travel is a necessity. Whether you are on a big expense account going to Hawaii or a small per diem going to Poughkeepsie, iPhone apps and accessories can help take the pain out of travel. The following are some of the best apps and accessories available in terms of value, features, and reviews.
Before you leave:
There are a number of things you need to do before you travel, and there are plenty of apps to help you.
Airline Seat Guide ($1.99, app2.me/2954) helps you find the best airline seats and avoid the worst. The developer researched over 100 airlines and 1,200 aircraft and rates seats based on view of in-flight movie screens, proximity to restrooms, power outlet availability, and more.
AccuWeather (free, app2.me/2373) lets you access weather reports from around the world, including forecasts, video reports, weather alerts, animated radar, and more. Do you need to bring an umbrella on your trip or pack long underwear? Check out AccuWeather before you travel.
FlightTrack Pro–Live TripIt Flight Status Tracker ($9.99, app2.me/288) syncs with the online TripIt service (see above), allowing you to easily track all the legs of your flight and be alerted of possible flight delays.
Packing Pro ($2.99, app2.me/2955) lets you create packing lists to make sure you don't leave important items behind when you travel. You can use the templates that come with the app or create custom lists. You can even create seasonal lists (e.g., the "Winter" list might include a parka; the "Summer" list a windbreaker).
TripIt – Travel Organizer (free, app2.me/287) links to your TripIt account and stores your itineraries, allowing you to access them whether you're online or offline. You'll need to open a free TripIt account (tripit.com) and e-mail your flight, hotel, car reservations, etc. to it.
Enjoy your travels
Here are some accessories and apps that will breathe some life into your journey.
hf2 Headset + Earphones ($179, etymotic.com) are the most comfortable in-ear headset I have found. They completely block out any unwanted sounds and the audio quality is excellent. Snuggbuds ($29.95 to 39.95, snuggbuds.com) are a less expensive option that still produces high-quality audio.
Mind Wave 2: Isochronic Version ($1.99, app2.me/2956) plays 20 different "isochronic tones" that can block out the sounds of crying babies, chatty seatmates, or noisy hotel guests. Whether you want to sleep, study, reduce anxiety, or get energized, these tones help set the mood.
Wrap 310 ($249, vuzix.com/iwear) Widescreen Video Eyewear.Watch video or podcasts from your iPhone or iPad in a unique and private way. The video and sound quality will help the time fly.
Stay in touch
These apps help you stay in touch with your family, friends, business associates, and more.
Fring (free, app2.me/2329) lets you make free mobile voice and video calls and conduct to live IM chats with others on Fring and other Internet services (MSN Messenger, GoogleTalk, AIM, ICQ, Facebook, and Twitter). An iPhone 4 user can video chat with 3GS users via Fring, but the 3GS user needs to face their camera at a mirror so their face is visible to their camera.
LogMeIn Ignition ($29.99, app2.me/2425) lets you remotely control and access your home or office computer from your iPhone/iPod touch or iPad.
Skype (free, app2.me/2378) lets you make free or low-cost phone calls to home or the office, through a Wi-Fi or 3G connection.
Stay in touch with your favorite magazines and news sources: Many local, state, and national news sources have their own apps. For example, check out ABC7 - Los Angele news, weather & sports source (free, app2.me/2957), the New York Times app (free, app2.me/277), and the Huffington Post app (free, app2.me/2832). Many of your favorite magazines are available in electronic format via Zinio, and you can read them using the Zinio Magazine Newsstand & Reader (free, app2.me/2402, must subscribe to magazines). You can even enjoy some of your favorite news/comedy shows on your iOS device such as The Colbert Report's The Word (iPhone/iPod touch: $1.99, app2.me/2958; iPad: $2.99, app2.me/2959).
Stay organized on the go
Staying organized while you're traveling can be a nightmare. Here are some apps that will help you.
AppBox Pro ($0.99, app2.me/2438; free "Lite" version, app2.me/2963): The Pro version of this app has over 30 functions to help the traveler, including a currency converter, unit converter, translator, flashlight, tip calculator, and more. It even contains Google Reader and other Google apps.
CamCard (Business Card Reader) ($5.99, app2.me/2960; other version available) uses the iPhone's built-in camera to scans business cards, which it turns into text and copies to your Contacts list. (It keeps a digital copy of the card.)
Receipts ($4.99, app2.me/2962, free "Lite" version, app2.me/2961) helps you organize and track your business and personal expenses. You can create accounts and categories for all your receipts and sync them with Evernote and GoogleDocs. (The Lite version allows only 10 receipts.)
Evernote (free, app2.me/130) is an invaluable tool that lets you store documents, notes, photos, voice recordings, and other information in the cloud and access them wherever you are. The free version is all that's needed for most, but you get more features for $5 a month.
Find your way around
Finding your way around a new city can be a hassle. These apps help make it easier and more fun.
AutoPark ($4.99, app2.me/2965) helps you remember where you parked the rental car; useful in unfamiliar territory.
Free Wi-Fi Finder (free, app2.me/2966) helps you find and access free Wi-Fi hotspots around the world.
Geodelic (free, app2.me/2964) helps you find restaurants, retailers, and attractions close to your current location. It includes Open Table (restaurant reservations) and Yelp (restaurant reviews).
Global Help – First aid, embassy, emergency (SOS) numbers for world wide travel ($1.99, app2.me/2967) includes basic information about 165 countries, including greetings, communication styles, gestures, and taboos. It's useful, especially if you want to avoid insulting a foreign client.
SitOrSquat (free, app2.me/228) helps you find the closest restroom when you gotta go!
Trapster (free, app2.me/2861) helps you avoid speed traps around the U.S.
Taxi Magic (free, app2.me/257) helps you find and book a taxi based on your current location.
Cashe case from Tom Bihn ($30, tombihn.com) is a comfortable and secure way to carry your iPad in a purse, backpack, or briefcase.
MiLi Power Skin (iphonemili.com, approx. $40 through amazon.com and other sources) is a slim slip-on case with a built-in battery that adds from 8 to 30 hours of power, depending on your usage. It is currently available for the iPhone 3G or 3GS and uses a standard USB cord to charge.
Ristretto bag from Tom Bihn ($120, tombihn.com) is the most comfortable and practical bag for travelling with an iPad. It's not bulky or heavy, but there's plenty of room for essentials.