By Michael D’alimonte
Any time you’re traveling for business, there’s always a mild sense of urgency in the air. No matter how many leisurely activities you might be able to squeeze into your short stay, you know that at one point during your trip, you will need to be at a specific place at a specific time. A meeting, a conference, a business lunch, or all three and more, you’re expected to be at these locations right on time, even though you may not know the city too well. Good thing your phone can keep you on track.
Getting around while traveling (for business or pleasure) has truly never been easier thanks to the plethora of apps that can instantly show you how to get around whatever city you may be in. You’ll never find yourself wanting when it comes to travel/public transport apps, though rather than rifle through a bunch when you should be hopping on a bus or subway to your meeting, let us show you some of the best for business travellers:
Not very pretty or all that in-depth, MetrO may lack a lot of the frills fancier apps have, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less useful. Actually, the fact that it is super simplistic may be a plus for some, as it does make the app pretty easy to use. All you need to do is download whatever city you may be in (over 400 available worldwide) on the app, pick a route, and MetrO will do the rest, giving you options on the type of available transport. A brief online user-guide is also online for anyone that is confused by the app’s interface.
Intuitive to use and to the point, TransitTimes+ is very much like a jazzed up Google Maps, though that should be read as a compliment. Useful features include vehicle-tracking (only in certain cities) to let you anticipate the arrival of a bus/train, offline route guidance if you didn’t spring for a foreign data plan, and on-route alerts so you know which stop to get off. Do note that TransitTimes+ mainly supports American cities, along with some major cities in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.
Download: iTunes/Google Play
Hailed as one of the best travel-apps on the market, and for good reason, TransitApp is easily one of your best app-options when traveling in North America. TransitApp boasts an impressive list of features (trip-planning, vehicle tracking, saving locations) but one of the best features is its integration of all types of transport, from bus to public bikes to Ubers and Car2Go’s. If you’re not a public transit type of person, and rather take a cab or car, then TransitApp is equally useful, as the app will still show you the quickest route to your destination no matter the mode of transport. All that and a very easy-to-use interface and design make TransitApp a solid travel app go-to option.
If you’re the type of traveler who needs constant guidance when venturing into unknown roads or routes, then HERE may be the perfect app for you. Much like the other apps on this list, HERE offers route-planning and the ability to save maps for offline use, but what really makes the app stand out is its voice-guided navigation service. Never get lost on the bus or while driving your car because HERE will let you know where to go and how to get back on-route, in case you do take a detour. HERE does have some other cool features (traffic and accident reports, maps of malls and airports) but the voice-guidance definitely gives the app an edge over the competition.
Download: Google Play
City Maps 2Go
Despite being better suited for those traveling abroad for pleasure, City Maps 2Go still has a lot to offer business travelers going around a specific city. For one, all of the map-info offered is compiled by OpenStreetMap, a Wikipedia-like resource where users update map data. Having users contribute to the maps may seem a bit strange, but it generally allows for very up-to-date information, along with tidbits of knowledge only locals would know. There’s also an emphasis on landmarks, restaurants, and venues to the app’s maps, so if you do want to check out the best spots the city you’re staying in has to offer, City Maps 2Go can offer a lot of suggestions.
Need to get around in a European nation? Then Offi’s probably your best bet. Linked with the transport network to a specific city, Offi will give you an accurate prediction of how long you’re going to take, letting you know the route using local maps. Again, Offi is Europe-focused with only two North American cities offered, so only download the app if you’re going across the pond.
Download: Google Play
Road Warrior Route Planner
So for most of this list we’ve assumed you’re going to be taking public transit while on your business trip, but that may not be the reality for many. All of those folks driving to their destination by car, and plan on getting around using your own auto, then Road Warrior Route Planner is a great app-option. Designed for couriers in mind, RWRP will help you plan out the best route to take using their own custom algorithm specifically maid for the business traveler in mind.
Download: Google Play
Bonus: A City’s Public Transport App
Kind of a no-brainer, but still worth pointing out, is the fact that nearly every city has their own app designed for public transit. In fact, some cities have more than a few. Downloading one of the apps above will definitely save you some room on your phone since they can be used in various cities, though if you find yourself traveling to one place quite frequently, or if none of the other apps have info on your destination, then it’s best to do a quick search on whatever app store you’re using to find a city-specific app. Usually made by locals and integrating the area’s public transit network’s info, you’ll probably be A-okay going this route. Just make sure to read user reviews to ensure you’re downloading a city’s best public transit app, because as said, there are usually a few per city.
And if all else fails, just take an Uber to where you need to go.