Modern Life

5 types of apps every global business traveler needs

On your next international business trip, stay connected, productive and have a little fun, too.

By Ryan Craggs — January 29, 2019

Today’s technology makes it easy to connect with colleagues and potential partners around the world without leaving our offices, sometimes there’s no substitute for a face-to-face meeting. Corporate travel is on the rise, with spending on sending employees to meetings and offices around the globe expected to produce a $1.6 billion travel market by 2020. While business travel promotes company growth, it also means that more people are taking more trips.

These road warriors are interested in flexible tools, the sharing economy and ways of managing their travel experience, as well as tacking on bleisure trips to make the most of their time away. Having certain key apps on your smartphone and tablet are just as necessary as your passport and universal plug adapter, especially if your company’s corporate travel desk is half a world away. Here are the best apps for business travelers to stay productive, in touch and on time while on the road.

Anete Lusina


Many global cities have great public transportation. Navigating them is another story. Your best bet is downloading an app that covers a wide number of systems, like Citymapper or Moovit, which includes cities across the globe such as Beijing, Brussels and Brisbane. Both apps provide the best route from your location to your destination on trains, buses and even bike shares, along with detailed route maps and information on service changes. For the times you need a car, Uber is still the best choice, as it covers cities in more than 70 countries — more than any other rideshare app. In Europe, you can also download MyTaxi, which will connect you with licensed cabs in dozens of cities.

Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay lighten the burden of juggling tickets. Apple Wallet and the wallet features on Samsung Pay and Google Pay allow you to store boarding passes, train tickets such as the Heathrow Express or Spain's Renfe system, and even some event tickets, right to your mobile device. Using your phone beats a frantic search of your pockets or purse when you're at the gate or ticket barrier.


Yuan, yen, pounds and pesos; keeping track of what currency you're using and how much that equals in dollars is what XE Currency does best. This free app gives live updates on currency values, and calculates conversions. With 65 million downloads, it’s a proven commodity.

When it comes time to make those payments, consider loading Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay to your phone. You can leave your credit card back in your hotel room, as these payment platforms use encrypted wireless transfers. You'll find contactless payments in most of Europe, China, Japan, South Korea, Brazil and anywhere you see that Near Field Communication (NFC) tap-to-pay symbol that looks like radio waves. Contactless payments have proved popular in large cities like London, where half of pay-as-you-go Tube riders use contactless payments, and one in eight uses a smartphone or smart watch.


English can only get you so far, so make sure to have Google Translate handy. With more than 6 million Google Play reviews and 103 languages available, it’s like having one of those U.N. headsets in your pocket. It can even use your camera to translate signs and menus by scanning photos you take with your phone’s camera.

As for staying in touch on the other side of the globe, that's easier than ever. WhatsApp, the No. 3 app in all of social media, has 1.5 billion users worldwide, offers end-to-end encryption and works just like sending an SMS — but it uses data instead of your texting plan. It even lets you make voice and video calls, too.

For team connectivity on the road, Slack has the best seamless mobile/desktop interactions, along with the ability to share documents and integrate other apps like Google Drive and Trello, make project management a breeze.

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If you want a comprehensive view of the airports you’re flying in and out of, FLIO tracks flights, provides detailed maps with points like charging stations and restaurants reviews, and where and how to connect to free Wi-Fi. For travelers in transit in the U.S. and the U.K., the Grap app makes picking up a meal before your next flight less stressful between connections. Just choose a restaurant, order what you want and pick it up when you get there.

For business travelers, lounge access is crucial. Enter your airline and flight number along with any lounge memberships or premium credit cards, and LoungeBuddy will know exactly which lounges you can access, how they're rated and when they close. No more curling up next to an outlet by the gate.


Often business lunches and dinners are a must, and sometimes room service is the only option, but for corporate travelers with time to explore, discovering the local food scene can be an Instagrammable highlight of their trip. Many long-standing review apps such as Zomato and Zagat are useful, but for travelers in the U.S. and Canada, ChefsFeed offers videos, guides and reviews written by some of the world’s top chefs who point travelers to the best spots near them. And for vegans and vegetarians on the road, Happy Cow covers more than 180 countries and makes suggesting an alternative to that steakhouse a snap.

Did you know?

  • China, India, Brazil and Russia saw the most growth in business travel market in 2017, while the UK and Japan declined slightly.
  • 75 percent of respondents in Hilton Hotels & Resorts’ 2018 survey of 1,200 U.S. business travelers between the ages of 23 and 35 said business travel is a major work perk.
  • 80 percent of respondents in TripActions’ 2018 survey said they are more excited about their job after traveling.
  • In the same survey, 39 percent of business travelers said they have to handle problems by themselves when problems arise on a trip.
  • In a  2018 report from the Global Business Travel Association and Hilton, 89 percent of business travelers said they were likely to extend a work trip for leisure reasons.


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