Whether you are planning to take a trip for business or pleasure, these ten applications are sure to make your life easier.
Search for everything travel related (flights, rental cars, hotels, etc.) all in one place! This application is available for the iPhone, Android, Windows, and Amazon’s Kindle Fire.
- Lonely Planet Travel Guides.
Download this free app to have access to hundreds of Guide Books right at your fingertips. You can download the app from the Apple Store and can also download ebooks as well.
- UNESCO World Heritage App.
This app is $2.99 and available from the Apple Store for iPhone and iPad. The cost is worthwhile since you get access to location maps for all sites; over 650 photos; the ability to search by country, classification, or name; create your favorites and plot them onto Google Maps; links back to the UNESCO site for more information.
Another travel guide app that acts as your personal, mobile tour guide around most world cities. You can download this app on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. Create a unique travel itinerary with the sites that you want to see. mTrip has a nice offline map feature that allows you to view maps and navigate around the city when you don’t have an internet connection. You can even send your friends and family members virtual postcards via email or Facebook.
This app is available for the iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android phones and tablets and provides you with travel guides, reviews from other users, and you can even download offline city guides which you do not need an internet connection for and they won’t charge your phone for roaming.
Is a free app that allows you to view and book hotels worldwide, access your reservations even when you are offline, and track and redeem points. Available for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows.
A new way to search for flights and hotels is by using the cute app Hipmunk (which appropriately features a chipmunk as it’s mascot). The search results are easy to see and easy to book. You can filter the flight searchs by “agony” which will show you flights by the least amount of fly time, layovers, and price. The hotel search results shows at a glance if the hotel provides parking, wifi, fees, etc.
This is another free app that allows you to search for flights. It is available for iPod, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, and Windows 8. You can filter it by showing the cheapest days to fly (if your dates are flexible), it also shows you the cheapest times to fly. Filter searches by take off/landing times, prices, and airlines. It is available in over 28 languages and 68 currencies too!
The name says it all – use this free app to keep yourself organized and on track when you are getting ready to pack for your next upcoming trip. Features include: unlimited list building and you can reuse past lists; a catalog of over 300 items to choose from; add any item to any category; you can enter quantities and notes for each item; and email the list to anyone when you are done, etc. Available for Apple and Android.
- JetLag Genie.
The perfect companion for a long trip oversees to help you beat jetlag. Available for iPhone or iPod touch, this app prepares you for your upcoming trip by allowing you to create customized daily plans before, during, and after you arrive at your final destination. Input your normal sleep patterns and flight information to get customized results. There is a melatonin guide too.
Planning any vacation or business trip can be a headache but with these top travel applications at your fingertips, your next trip is just a click away. If you are traveling with in the United States and prefer to stay in a fully furnished residential property rather than a hotel, then check out AvenueWest Managed Corporate Housing now in Boston, Colorado Springs, Dallas, Denver, Fort Collins, Phoenix, and San Francisco.
If you are a frequent business traveler, then these 5 apps are a must have to make your trip go as smooth as possible!
Points.com - this ingenious site allows you to combine all of your rewards points in one place! You can redeem them for travel, exchange points with other travelers, and even buy more mileage points. Consolidate all of your mileage rewards in one place and reap the benefits.
Expensify - this free app will allow you to import all of your expenses from your bank account or credit card and will create a PDF report. You can also scan receipts directly into the app for cash purchases. There is also a mileage log to keep you organized.
CardMunch - do you consistently loose business cards? Well fret no more! The CardMunch app allows you to take a picture of the business card and it will automatically create a contact for you in your phone with all of their information. The app also pulls in their LinkedIn profile information since this app was recently acquired by them.
XE Currency - for you frequent International business travelers, this app is the perfect tool to see real-time currency rates and conversions! There are more that 180 currencies and best of all, this app is FREE!
Wi-Fi Finder - working while traveling usually requires an internet connection. Wi-Fi Finder makes it easy to locate free and paid wireless networks near you anytime! You can also download an offline database to help you find networks when you are offline. It is available for iOS and Google Play.
There are so many great resources out there to aid the frequent business traveler along their journey. Hopefully, these tools will help your business even more – especially while on the go!
Technology advances are happening all the time and more questions arise each and every day. While reading USA Today’s Tech section, Kim Komando’s column jumped out. Below are some great questions and answers for not only business travelers, but everyone who uses technology.
Q: What should be done if my smart phone is stolen?
Whenever you get a new smartphone, you should be sure that all of your data is backed up and have an app that will automatically wipe your phone clean and track its location. FindMyPhone is an app that you can download onto any Apple products, Android, or Google Play. This app will let you locate your phone, lock your device, erase all your data, etc. You should always have your devices set up with a password also in case it ever does get taken. Never leave your smartphone unattended in public. CarboniteMobile is another app that works with Apple or Android devices that will protect your smartphone.
Q: How can an older camera be updated to make it faster?
A: You can always update your camera’s firmware which should make it faster and might also add some new features. Refer to your user manual to see if they have any quick tips of how you can update your camera. Also, check out the manufacturer’s website which should have the new firmware software listed. Be sure to clear your SD card before you install the update(s) to your camera.
Q: Should a public wi-fi network be used for sensitive information such as banking?
Public networks are unsecure and so it isn’t advisable to use them to check your finances here or anything with sensitive, secure information. Most banks have a mobile app that can be downloaded and used on your mobile network which is more secure if it is necessary to check your account(s) while on the go.
Q: Is there anyway to send text messages for free?
A: Yes, there are several free apps that you can download that will allow you to send text messages for free.
Whatsapp is an app that works with Apple and Android devices that allows you to text anyone with the app for free – including internationally! You can also send pictures, share your location, have a group chat, etc.
TextFree is an app that allows you to text any number – even if it’s not a smartphone – for free. This app gives you a real number to use and you can accept inbound calls for free too. They also give you 10 minutes free to make outbound calls and additional minutes can be purchased for a low rate. This app is available for Apple and Android devices.
These are just some of the numerous technical questions and answers that are floating around out there. Hopefully this helps you save money and time and will allow you to have more fun on your smartphone and other devices safely.
A recent article posted at NBCNews.com Business uses Zillow’s Break Even Horizon to determine the top 10 cities where renting is more economically sound than buying and how long it takes on average to break even if purchasing a home. This figure is calculated based on the net cost of purchasing a home vs. renting the same house. Here are the top 10 cities renting costs less than buying:
New York City, NY. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 5 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $2,016; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 19.4%
Renting an apartment in the city would save more money than purchasing a home unless you were going to be living in NYC for more than 5 years. The average home price is $462,500. A 20% down payment is going to be $93,000 for a home this much and with the current rate of 3.277% and a 30 year fixed mortgage, you are looking at a monthly mortgage payment of $2,145 which is higher than the current rental index.
Seattle, WA. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 4.3 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $1,850; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 4.7%
Waterfront property in Seattle averages about $392,200 as of December 2012.
Boston, MA. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.9 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $2,299; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 11.3%
Based on 25 new single family homes for sale in Boston, MA, the average home costs $727,200. A 20% down payment is $145,000 with a 3.277% interest rate, your monthly mortgage payment would be $3,334. Renting in Boston on average would be a monthly savings of $1,035.
Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, CA tied for 4th for the amount of years it would take to break even if purchasing a home.
Washington, D.C. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.7 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $2,439; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 7%
There has been an increase in new home development in the D.C. area. As of December last year, the average home cost $402,400 which is up by 10%.
San Francisco, CA. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.9 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $3,281; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 12%
San Fran has seen an 18% increase in home sale prices year after year! Currently, the average home costs $770,600. A 20% down payment of $154,000 with the current interest rate of 3.277% would be a $3,529 monthly payment. By renting, you would save on average of $248 a month.
Portland, OR. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.6 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $1,423; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index:
Portland has the most bike commuters in the U.S. Last year, 21.49% of homes sold were sold at a loss, but the average value of homes has risen 8.8% ($257,400).
San Diego, CA. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.4 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $2,116; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 2.9%
The average San Diego home value is up 11% making the average home $404,100.
Los Angeles, CA and San Jose, CA tied for 7th place based upon the number of years it would take to break even after purchasing a home in either location.
Los Angeles, CA. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.3 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $2,311; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 2.3%
Los Angeles has a very high unemployment rate and the home rates dropped about 35% which actually makes L.A. more affordable for home owners. The average home costs $399,800 which was up by 9.7% as of December 2012. If you put down a 20% payment of $80,000 with the 3.277 interest rate with a fixed 30 year mortgage, your monthly payment is going to be $1,863.
San Jose, CA. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.3 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $2,513; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 4.5%
San Jose, CA has a lot more people interested in purchasing homes since the average annual income is $92,500. San Jose has a very high employment rate with over 6,000 technology companies. The average home in San Jose is $544,600 so if you put down 20% ($109,000) + 3.277% + 30 years = $2,514 monthly mortgage payment which is $1 higher per month than the current rental index!
Denver, CO. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 2.8 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $1,468; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 9.3%
As of December 2012, Denver’s average home value was up by 14.1% with the average home costing $233,700.
Austin, TX. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 2.7 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $1,516; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 6.2%
At the end of last year, Austin had an overall home value increase of 4.7% = $209,900.
Nashville, TN. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 2.6 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $1,190; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 3.8%
The average home cost is now $140,000, which is up by 6%.
Most of the cities listed above experienced an overall increase last year in their median home values which is great news overall for the market!
Let’s face it, travel in general is filled with stress but business travelers experience these much more frequently. A recent poll from TripIt determined the top 5 most common stresses associated with travel:
- Exercise. 67% of frequent travelers said that the pressure to exercise was stressful – 17% of these responders found it to be extremely stressful.
- Healthy Eating. 66% of responders found eating healthy to be a challenge and added to the overall stress of traveling – 19% said it was extremely stressful.
- To do list upon return. 64% found the pressure of tasks needing to be done when they returned home to be a significant source of stress while traveling.
- Airport Security. Of the people that were polled, 59% found airport security to be very stressful.
- Driving in a new city. The lowest on the top 5 travel stresses is driving in a new city. 54% of respondents found this to be very stressful when they travel.
Since exercise and healthy eating are the two highest stresses for frequent business travelers, here is a list of suggestions that TripIt recommended to help alleviate some of your stress:
Bring healthy, portable snacks with you so you won’t be as temped to buy un-healthy snacks when the hunger sets in. Bring along some almonds or a banana to help tie you over between meals.
Instead of ordering a large dinner, choose a small plate or an appetizer for dinner instead. If you opt for a salad, keep in mind that the dressing has a ton of fat and calories so it’s best kept on the side. Salad is not always the healthiest choice on the menu either so be smart when choosing.
Instead of using escalators or moving sidewalks, try taking the stairs or walk to keep you moving.
Track how many steps you are taking with a pedometer or an app on your phone.
- Ask for a map of the local area with running/walking trails or nearby parks.
- Do crunches, pushups, jumping jacks, chair dips, stretching, and any other activity that doesn’t require any equipment in your room.
It is a stressful world we live in and the constant traveling makes life that much more hectic. Hopefully these tips from TripIt will make your future business trips less stressful, more active, and healthier.
Safe travels everyone!
Many of us have a 9-5 job or jobs in the service industry where we don’t have a lot of time to go on long, lavish vacations. A recent blog post by Nomadic Matt titled “How Can You Travel More Even if You Work a 9-5 Job” sheds some light on how you can use your time off most effectively while still being able to travel – even with a limited amount.
Most American’s have 2 weeks vacation per year plus the weekends = 110 travel days. Most of us also get holidays off and have some three day weekends here and there which gives us even more time to travel each year. Sure, it isn’t consecutive time but you could take a long vacation by using your 2 weeks in a row. Here are some tips on how you can maximize your time to travel a lot more this year:
Weekends. Sure the weekends only offer 2 full days (unless it’s a 3 day weekend) but that is plenty of time to explore a city close to you.
Find a location that is closer to you. If you are in America then traveling to Australia for only one week would be a waste since your travel time takes up almost 3 days! Instead, take a trip to Central America which is closer. Generally the closer the destination, the cheaper the flight is going to be too.
Be a tourist in your own city. Take time to explore the city you currently live in. Go to the museums, tourist attractions, new areas you have never been, etc. Being a tourist in your own city will give you new insight on where you live.
- Don’t try to see it all at once. Instead of trying to see everything in a short amount of time, focus on a couple attractions and destinations that you want to go see. This way, you will be less overwhelmed and will have more time to enjoy the place you are visiting.
Next time you feel like getting away, remember these 4 tips that will make your experience more fun in less time. As the famous Roy Rogers croons, “Happy trails to you, until we meet again. Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then.”
Personal Real Estate Investor Magazine is hosting the Investor Provider Leadership Summit in Baltimore, MD April 25th-26th at the Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel, 101 W Fayette St, Baltimore MD 21201.
Become familiar with strategies, service leaders, providers, and side channels that could increase your overall sales and revenue. The past event was very successful in producing hundreds of property sales to both domestic and international property investors.
Learn more about how you can make money from investment properties and hear from our very own Kimberly Smith of AvenueWest Managed Corporate Housing with her segment on the “High Margin Rental Niche.”
Don’t hesitate to register for this great event – there are only a few seats left! We hope to see you there!
If you have ever traveled alone or are planning on going soon, there are many rewards like the opportunity to experience everything that you wish to and to meet new people, but there are also precautions that need to be taken.
In the March 2013 addition of “Healthcare Traveler” there was an article published called “Safety Measures for the Solo Traveler” meant to advise single healthcare travelers on some safety measures they should take. But, these tips should be used for anyone traveling alone.
- Tell a family member or friend your travel plans. Be sure you give all the details of your travel plans with someone back home that you trust including your new address and phone number of where you will be staying. Leave them with your travel itinerary too and check in with them regularly to let them know you are safe. If you have your security settings on Facebook set to friends and family only, then posting status updates might also be a good way to let others know of your whereabouts in case anything happens.
- Double check your cell-phone company’s coverage in the new area. Be sure that your cell phone will work well in the new area you are going to – sometimes cellular providers do not have superior coverage in other areas as they might where you currently live. Go to their website and check the map of coverage.
- Get to your destination while it is still light out. You will be able to find your way around much easier in unfamiliar territory if you can see by the light of day.
- Have a GPS App on your phone (if you don’t already). Get one that will show you walking routes as well. It is also a good idea to map the surrounding areas of the place you are staying prior to getting there to determine any possible bad areas that you want to avoid.
- Don’t share too much personal information to new people you meet. Meeting new friends is great but be leery to give them any information about where you are staying or the fact that you are traveling alone as you never know who you might be talking to these days.
- Be careful if you decide to drink. If you are a drinker, don’t leave your drink unattended and don’t drink too much especially when you are first meeting new people. You want to remain in the right state of mind in case anything happens.
The majority of the time traveling alone is a very rewarding experience and nothing bad happens. But, just be smart whenever you are traveling to a new place – alone or otherwise – but especially when you are on your own.
Stay safe out there!
The past couple weeks, we have been reviewing 5 travel tips that can be applied to your life as well inspired by Amanda’s Blog “A Dangerous Business” and her post “26 Things Travel Has Taught Me.” Here are 5 more tips:
Everyone has a unique travel style that fits them. Some prefer roughing it with a backpack and no real agenda while others prefer the life of luxury and seek elegance in their travels too. Don’t worry about what others might think about your preferences as these can potentially change as you get older or with different circumstances. The bottom line is, have fun no matter what kind of traveler you are!
Hostel’s are convenient and cheap alternatives for travelers on a budget. These are a great way to meet others if you are venturing alone. In some countries, you can even work the front desk for free accommodations.
Technology means we are never really alone anymore. Technology has allowed us to book everything from flights, accommodations, rental cars, tour operators, etc. all online. We can also instantly connect with our friends and family using social media and applications such as Skype even if we are across the world!
Still Being able to read an old-fashioned map will come in handy. Yes technology has allowed for online mapping systems and GPS that can pin-point our exact location but sometimes they don’t do the trick. Map-reading is a great skill to still embody, especially when there is no internet access.
If you happen to still get lost along the way, be sure to relish in the experience (as long as you are still safe). Getting lost in a new place can allow you to interact with the locals, find hidden treasures, and get off of the beaten tourist path so get lost often.
We hope that these travel tips will be applied to your day-to-day lives as well! Safe journey’s everyone!