By Renee Booth
In the spirit of taking care of business and having fun, I wanted to share my thoughts on the types of devices and apps that can make work and business travel much more appealing. While these devices and apps can become distractions, with the proper discipline they can actually help to improve your disposition and make you more effective and productive as you strive for balance in your life. The suggestions below are worth considering for your list of “must haves”.
My five favorite devices:
- Smartphone - This should go without saying, really. The cellphone is at the center of one of our most important resources, data. Cell phones allow you to keep in touch through talk, text, and social media. The world is at your fingertips, including researching people, places and things. It’s simply essential to function in day to day modern life.
- Tablet - Laptops are still required, but when you are on the move, a tablet and a good Bluetooth keyboard can make all the difference. It’s easier to carry, doesn’t take forever to load, and functions much like a laptop. While you may still feel the need to hold on to your laptop, tablets are becoming powerful enough to eventually make lugging around a laptop obsolete.
- Battery Packs - Portable batteries are convenient and prevent you from roaming airports, train stations, and office buildings looking for an outlet. These small pocket- sized devices can help to ensure that you have the power necessary to send that important email or make a special call in a timely way.
- Wireless Headphones - To preserve your dignity as you walk and talk, wireless headphones are a smart choice. They are usually comfortable and eliminate the awkwardness of cords hanging around your body, while keeping your device neatly tucked away.
- Portable Streaming Device - When traveling, you can take your television with you and watch it the way you want. You no longer need to accept what the hotel has to offer. You can bring along a nifty portable streaming device (e.g., Roku Stick, Apple TV, Fire Stick) to stream your favorite shows and make you feel more at home.
While the above items are fantastic hardware, what about some of the great software that comes with them. Below is a list of six programs I cannot live without:
- Transportation Apps (Plane/Train/Taxi) - It’s a good idea to download the apps of your travel companies. It’s the easiest way to track your trains, planes, Uber, taxis, and limos. You can make changes in an instant and receive alerts that can help you to rearrange your travel plans immediately. Apps to consider include Amtrak, Waze, American Airlines, and Google Maps.
- News Apps - Signing up for your favorite news app will ensure that you receive headline news alerts to keep you informed as news happens. Apps to consider include Apple News, CNN, Fox News, NPR, and New York Times.
- Entertainment Apps - Take your music, movies, games and other entertainment with you via your app collection. Apps to consider include Netflix, Hulu, YouTube TV, and Amazon Prime. Make sure you have enough memory on your device and download when you have Wi-Fi access before you go. Personalized entertainment while business traveling can help keep you in the frame of mind to be your best.
- GPS Apps - Sometimes your driver doesn’t know where he/she is going, and sometimes you have to walk. Waze and Google Maps are perfect apps for this. Having a GPS app is a life saver in a new area especially. You can get to where you are going and even guide others there without appearing frazzled.
- Dining Apps - For many, dining out is an important part of the work experience. In a new town and not sure where to eat? Got a layover and want to find something near the airport? Need to make sure the local hotspot has a reservation available for an important client? Open Table and Yelp apps are a great way to make sure your dining needs are met.
- Fitness Apps - Fitness is important, especially when you are traveling. Whether you like to walk, swim, go to the gym, or exercise in your hotel room, a fitness app can provide you with the motivation and information to help you stay healthy. Tracking your walking using a Fitbit or using exercise apps such as REI Trail Run and Rock My Run are a fun way to stay on track with your fitness goals while working away from home.
Prepared with your arsenal of devices and apps, you are ready to do business in a way that helps you be productive, get what you need when you need it, and to feel like home even when you are away from home. Take stock of what you currently use and see which one you might want to add to your collection!