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Small Biz Apps: What I’m Using While Traveling for Business

Author: Katie Truesdell Date: April 04, 2014

Four owners share their favorite apps while on the road—or in the air.

Staying on top of deadlines, emails, phone calls and staff issues is time-consuming enough for small business owners. Add booking hotels and rental cars to your to-do list. Now manage it all while stuck in an airport security line. Business travel sure can complicate the day-to-day of running a small business. Here’s what small business owners are using to manage both business operations and business travel.

Apps for Managing Your Business Travel

TripIt

What It Is: Forward your confirmation emails—for flights, hotels, rental cars, etc.—to plans@tripit.com, and TripIt organizes them into one itinerary. You can also have them imported automatically from your email account.

Best App Feature: “One of my favorite features is the ability to share or sync my trip with my family members and my assistant,” says Stacia Pierce, CEO of Ultimate Lifestyle Enterprises in Orlando, who travels three to four days each week for television appearances and radio interviews. “Since TripIt keeps me up to date on delays and changes to my travel plans, and my assistant gets real-time alerts along with me, it is very easy for us to make instant adjustments due to gate changes or cancellations.”

Cost: TripIt basic is free, TripIt Pro is $49/year (comparisons here), and TripIt for Teams costs between $29 and $159/month, depending on team size.

Expensify

What It Is: After automatically importing all credit card transactions and capturing mileage, time and other reimbursable expenses, this app creates expense reports for you.

Best Feature: Maura Thomas, speaker, trainer, author and founder of RegainYourTime.com in Austin, Texas, recommends Expensify because it frees her from receipts—she just takes a photo of the receipt with her camera phone and then trashes the paper copy. No more receipt-stuffed wallets or valuable time spent scanning later on. “Also because it automatically creates expense reports at the touch of a button, saving hours of time,” she says.

Cost: Free for individual users; between $6 and $11/month for businesses, depending on company size and number of users.

Apps for Managing Your Business While Traveling

VPN Express

What It Is: A VPN, or virtual private network, is a secure intermediary used when connecting to and browsing the Internet. It encrypts communications; hides IP addresses/locations; protects users from hackers, thieves and third-party tracking; and allows users to avoid censorship, surveillance and location restrictions.

Best Feature: A VPN’s heightened security, anonymity and access to restricted sites (such as Facebook in China) has allowed Catherine Heald, CEO and cofounder of New York City-based Remote Lands, a designer of luxury travel goods focused on Asia, to stay connected and run her business, no matter how far away she is.

Many apps provide VPN service, but Heald recommends VPN Express for its speed and auto configuration settings, which even the least technologically savvy user can understand.

Cost: Free

Soonr

What It Is: Soonr is a project-management and collaboration app. Its benefits include password protection on files, editing capabilities on mobile devices, a dashboard displaying project activity and a commenting system.

Best Feature: Because Soonr saves documents to the cloud, team members can make changes to them in real time. This is a boon, says Dana Marlowe, principal partner of consulting firm Accessibility Partners, LLC, in Silver Spring, Md. Everyone knows he or she is working on the most recent version, and it never gets buried in a co-worker’s inbox.

Cost: Soonr Pro is $9.95/user/month, and Soonr Enterprise is $19.95/user/month (comparisons here). Custom pricing is also available.

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