Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

TripIt and Concur Traveler Services app for business travellers.

Geoff Teehan/Teehan+Lax inc

When John Lark was on his way back from a business trip this past September, his flight from Sydney, Australia, to Vancouver was late. That meant the president of Coherent Advice, a risk management consulting firm, wasn't going to make his connecting flight home to Ottawa. It also meant a handful of other business travellers on board weren't going to arrive in time to check in for the next leg of their journey to Europe.

Once they got off the plane in British Columbia, Mr. Lark and so many others around him frantically fired up their smartphones.

"There were about six other people in the same position, and we all had our iPhones out and we were all on TripIt Pro," Mr. Lark says, referring to a mobile travel application ( "Some were connecting to Frankfurt and some were connecting to Paris, and we were all madly looking for other connections."

Story continues below advertisement

They found them, too, thanks to the application that Mr. Lark, an app-happy frequent flier, describes as just as vital as a plane ticket itself.

Developed by "frustrated travellers" based in the Silicon Valley, TripIt organizes people's travel details into a master itinerary, even if flights, hotels, and car rentals were all booked on different websites. All the user has to do is forward confirmation e-mails and a single online plan is created, complete with maps, directions and weather reports.

TripIt Pro is the upgraded version that Mr. Lark relies on (and pays for). It alerts users when flights are late, finds alternative flights and will rebuild connections straight through to the final destination, sends e-mail notifications of gate changes, and more. It's essentially a virtual, personal travel assistant.

"Apps like TripIt empower you," says Mr. Lark, who has about 140 apps in his iPhone. "If you miss a flight and leave things in the hands of the airline, things can go sideways. Apps make you fully informed and better able to deal with challenges."

Carson Woo, a Stanley Kwok business professor at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia, says there's no denying the way mobile apps have improved the lives of business travellers.

"A lot of apps reduce the stress on the traveller," Dr. Woo says. "We can do things much faster and can use time more productively. They help us be more effective and efficient."

Dr. Woo's preferred app is XPense tracker (, which allows users to enter and organize business-related costs. Expenses can be securely forwarded to the user's place of employment for reimbursement, with exchange rates already calculated. In other words, Mr. Woo no longer has to sort through heaps of crumpled receipts once he's back from a trip overseas.

Story continues below advertisement

"Before, I'd have to struggle to find time to put in all my expenses and remember the exchange rate," he says. "Something like this is extremely helpful and reduces my work stress."

Besides TripIt and Xpense Tracker, here are a few more must-have apps for those who spend just as much time in airports as they do in their office:

Seat Guru

Founded by a frequent flier and now owned by, this app features the seat maps of hundreds of types of aircraft from nearly 100 airlines. "It goes through all the different configurations; which are good seats and bad seats, which ones have extra leg room, and which ones are in the emergency-exit row," Mr. Lark says. It even shows seats with "no overhead storage," which is critical information to the road warrior with no checked luggage. (


This app allows you to track flights while they're in the air and see the aircraft's actual, real-time position and flight path. It also offers an airport-delay map with radar weather that shows delay statuses for the busiest airports in North America. (

Story continues below advertisement

XE Currency

Every world currency is covered here, enabling users to keep track of live rates and calculate prices on the go. (


Not to be confused with a dictionary or phrase book, this speech-to-speech translation app is available in 20 languages, including Japanese, Mandarin, Arabic, Korean and Spanish. You say a sentence and your device speaks it aloud in the other language, just as a real-life interpreter would. (


The company describes its app as "a kind of restaurant slot machine." When visiting major cities in Canada, the United States, Australia and Britain, you hit the Shake button or shake your phone and it recommends a nearby restaurant.

Story continues below advertisement

You can shake again if you don't like what's coming up, and you can narrow your search based on neighbourhood, cuisines and price range. You can also see whether there are any tables available and make reservations.

Unlike other restaurant and food apps, Urbanspoon includes options for simple fare (such as pubs, diners and sandwich spots) that a traveller often craves to save money or refuel quickly. (

Jetlag Fighter

Created by Virgin Atlantic, the Jetlag Fighter features an "alertness meter," in-flight tips to overcome jet lag and a multimedia guide to the condition. A similar app is the JetLag Genie (, which helps you manage jet lag by logging in your flight details and usual bed and wake-up times. From there, the app recommends when to seek sunshine or darkness and when to nap. ( innovationzone/virginfamily/jetlagfighter.jsp)

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts

The hotel chain's frequently updated app allows travellers to check in before arrival, monitor local weather, access their Gold Passport account and connect to its Twitter-based concierge service. Another notable hotel app is that of W Hotels, which lets users access hundreds of hours of music from its ultra-hip custom mixes.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies