Practice Management

Your smartphone or tablet can pack handy tools to help you navigate your next business trip

By Beatrice Paez |

Even experienced travellers can become jetlagged, bleary-eyed and disoriented when venturing into unfamiliar territory. To minimize travel anxiety, you can turn to apps that help you plot your journey.

There now are travel apps for practically every conceivable purpose. Hypochondriacs headed to a new environment can take comfort in Sickweather, which alerts you — in real time — if you are entering an area known to pose high risk of contagious diseases. For the nervous flier, there's Am I Going Down? (for iOS and Andriod), which calculates the probability of a crash on your particular flight. And for the solo traveller, there's React Mobile, which allows you to share your location with contacts if you feel unsafe.

As a business traveller, consider packing any of the following apps as your in-pocket travel companion:

> Getting around on the ground
Sure, Uber remains the go-to app for hailing rides on home turf. But when you've booked a meeting in a foreign city, you might prefer to reserve your ride in advance.

Blacklane is a reliable service that allows you to pre-arrange transportation, says Brian Robertson, chief operating officer at Vision Travel in Toronto. Confirmation details include the professional driver's name, mobile number and car model. The service is available in 200 cities worldwide.

On foot, the offline-map app Maps.Me makes it easer to navigate any city — and it spares you exorbitant roaming data charges.

Blacklane: iOS, Android
Cost: free

Maps.Me: iOS, Android, BlackBerry
Cost: free

> For downtime
Ulmon, which Robertson uses, is similar to Maps.Me but offers insider tips on where to go and allows you to pin places to visit.

Texture, the subscription-based magazine app, has a search function that can be turned into a discovery tool, says Mike Newton, a portfolio manager with Scotia Wealth Management in Toronto. He uses it to pull up articles stretching back several issues on destinations of interest.

Ulmon: iOS, Android
Cost: free

Texture: iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
Cost: from $9.99/month

> In translation
While English speakers can get by in many foreign destinations, you're more likely to charm locals if you know a few phrases in their language. Newton occasionally pulls up Google Translate in a pinch, but for a deeper dive into another language, try Duolingo. Duolingo takes a video-game approach to language lessons, offering various levels of proficiency and exercises.

Google Translate: iOS, Android
Cost: free

Duolingo: iOS, Anroid, Windows Phone
Cost: free

> Organizing your itinerary
TripIt and TripCase pack all the logistical details you need in one place, Robertson says, from flight and hotel confirmations to restaurant reservations. For both apps, you can forward the information to a central email managed by the app, to produce a master itinerary.

Robertson also relies on FlightStats for monitoring cancellations, delays and travel advisories. It's usually as up-to-date as airline-specific apps, saving you from downloading them all.

FlighStats: iOS, Android
Cost: free

TripIt: iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone,
Cost: free

TripCase: iOS, Android
Cost: free

> Working on the go
Taskmasters favour Asana, which acts as a space for team members to discuss projects, delegate responsibilities and create to-do lists.

For face-to-face communications, is a video-conferencing platform that enables you to share presentation materials that can be viewed on a mobile device. This app also has a "whiteboard" function, where you can sketch out ideas or upload images.

Asana: iOS, Android
Cost: free iOS, Android
Cost: free

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