The Best Apps for Productivity Across Time Zones

For many folks, travel is a way to escape from the daily grind, relax, and gain some much-needed rejuvenation. But for the world’s more than 480 million business travelers, travel too often involves worrying about missed emails, dropped expense reports, or scheduling meetings or keeping a project on track from across different time zones.

It can be tough to get work done far away from the office, but that’s where each of these apps comes in. Every entry on this list meets a specific need of the modern business traveler. Taken together, they offer business travelers a maximum-productivity package that will help ensure you’re able to get work done pretty much anywhere.

Asana

Asana is perfect for anyone who needs to tackle collaborative projects with a remote team. It’s developed by one of the co-founders of Facebook, and it’s just as on-trend as the behemoth social media platform. The app lets you lay out the steps necessary to complete a project, assign each task to a collaborator, track the project’s progress, and communicate with other team members—all without being in the same room or worrying about scheduling a phone call across time zones.

CamCard

Perfect for trips on which you anticipate doing lots of networking, CamCard allows you to digitally store business cards and contact information for new prospects or collaborators. So there’ll be no more panicking when you get home and realize you lost that potential new client’s contact info en route.

Docusign

For the executive on the go: Docusign makes it easy to digitally execute contracts, manage transactions, and issue legally binding electronic signatures across mobile devices. The service prides itself on being usable from virtually anywhere in the world (it’s already in use in 43 languages and 188 countries), and it’s secure as it is functional.

Dropbox

No matter where you are in the world, you can access all of your files from Dropbox. If you know you’ll need access to certain documents while traveling, simply upload them to the service ahead of your trip. Then you’ll be able to access them from any device, at any time. (It sure beats having to wait several hours until a coworker wakes up and can email you the documents you need.) You can also easily share files with simple links.

Expensify

Never worry about processing expense reports on the go again. Expensify allows users to quickly import card transactions, add cash expenses, record billable expenses, auto-categorize expenses, create custom invoices, ditch paper receipts, issue reimbursements, and more—and it will do it all while supporting more than 160 currencies and international taxes.

HipChat

For those times when you need to communicate with your team in real-time (but you’re in, say, Bangkok while the rest of your team is in NYC), turn to HipChat. The app offers a group chat service that’s available on desktops, tablets, or smartphones. The app will also deliver messages to your phone even when you’re signed off, so that you and your teammates will be able to reach each other at any time should a pressing issue arise.

Hipmunk

Sure, we’re shamelessly self-promoting. But it’s only because we think we’ve made the best travel app on the market. Hipmunk’s app eliminates wasted time in the planning stages of a trip by finding the best hotel and flight deals, providing free flight fare alerts, and offering instant booking. Business travelers can also use the app to coordinate group travel. Leave the trip planning to us so you can get back to work.

World Time Buddy

World Time Buddy is a world clock, time zone converter, and online meeting scheduler all in one convenient app. Need to plan a conference call with someone inSan Francisco while you’re in Dublin? Skip the math and simply plug in what time zone you’re in, what time zone they’re in, and bada boom: The app will provide you with a selection of compatible meeting times. The app also tracks market hours.

XE Currency

If your business travels take you to multiple countries in one go and you need to calculate currencies in a hurry, then XE Currency has you covered. The app allows users to view historical charts and current exchange rates and calculate prices from a mobile device. You can also create customized comparison charts for prices anywhere in the world.

The only downside to these apps? They’ll limit your excuses for not getting work done during your travels. Welcome to the great big mobile world!

 

This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on February 18, 2016.

5 Top US Boutique Hotels for Business Travelers

Having somewhere comfortable and homey to rest your head at night when traveling for business can make the experience much more enjoyable. There are many hotels catering to business travelers across America, but most are chain hotels with impersonal, bustling atmospheres. Sometimes, when traveling for work, it’s more comfortable to stay somewhere smaller and more intimate, and a good alternative is the boutique hotel. Read on to find out more about the best boutique hotels for Business travelers.

1. The Setai Hotel, Miami

If you’re traveling to Miami, chances are you’ll want to take advantage of the city’s entertainment while you’re there; thus, The Setai, in the heart of South Beach, is a great option for business travelers. The hotel features a business center with iMac workstations, free color copiers and fax machines, free printing, complementary office supplies to use and a dedicated help team. For an affordable stay on South Beach, check out Hipmunk deals at The Setai Miami.

2. Hotel Lincoln,Chicago

Hotel Lincoln Chicago, from the Joie de Vivre hotel company, is located outside of the hustle and bustle of the loop, making it a good place to get some sleep. The hotel features complementary Wi-Fi throughout, and all of the rooms are outfitted with a work desk and iHome docking station. The hotel also has a business center and several bookable meeting rooms.

3. Refinery Hotel, New York City

New York is an extremely popular destination for business travelers, and the Refinery Hotel, located in the city’s Fashion District, is a great place for them to stay. Each room has a writing desk, iHome docking station and free WiFi. The hotel also has convenient services like valet parking, concierge and fitness center. The Refinery also offers complementary business services like A/V equipment and printing.

4. The Benjamin Hotel, New York City

Another popular boutique option in the Big Apple is the Benjamin Hotel. The hotel has kitchenettes inside each room, so weary travelers make their own breakfast if they have to get before an early meeting. Guests at the Benjamin can ensure they’re well-rested for their next meeting via the hotel’s Rest & Renew Sleep Program, which offers insomniatic guests a pillow menu, sleep concierge, sleep masks, white noise machines, dream dictionaries and more.

5. Hotel Vitale, San Francisco

Another Joie de Vivre Hotel, the Hotel Vitale San Francisco is located in the very bustling Financial District. The hotel features work desks in each room with ergonomic chairs and safes big enough for laptops, as well as free WiFi, laundry and dry cleaning services, complementary newspapers and a soaking tub for the end of a very long workday.

 

This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on January 19, 2016.

How To Make Hotel Wi-Fi Work For You

Adventures are exciting. When you’re in a new place, all the impressions are exciting and refreshing. At the end of the day, however, when it’s time to unwind, it can be necessary to recharge your batteries. Part of recharging in the modern era includes checking your email, social media, and the news. You need to catch up with friends and family, and also on work emails. Away from home, you’re already out of your comfort zone, but at least you have your devices with you.

Fortunately, in 2015, almost all hotels have internet — but unfortunately, many hotels still charge for Wi-Fi. How can this be? The United Nations declared already in 2011 that internet access is a basic human right. In this article, we will discuss how to hook up to Wi-Fi for free as often as possible, no matter where you are.

1. Consider Hotel Price Class

While some of the most expensive hotels charge for Wi-Fi, while some of the most basic hotels — read: cheapest hotels — offer it for free. But the world is a complicated place.

The logic generally seems to be that if a customer is already paying $300 to stay one night in New York, why wouldn’t they pay a few more bucks just to get online? On the other hand, budget hotels, where customers are known not to have a lot of money to spare, often don’t charge for Wi-Fi access. That might drive potential customers away. There are exceptions to this pattern, but popular options like Best Western can usually be relied upon for immediate gratification without any sneaky charges. Other basic hotels with free Wi-Fi include Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn, Econo Lodge, Holiday Inn Express, La Quinta, and Rodeway Inn.

 

Not all luxury hotels, however, charge for Wi-Fi. Especially among those catering to the younger, hipper crowd, Wi-Fi is known to be a necessity, not a luxury, and that’s reflected in the hotels’ values and pricing. In New York, a stay at the Ace Hotelincludes complimentary Wi-Fi; in San Francisco, the Sir Francis Drake Hotel on Union Square does the same.

 

2. Know the Loyalty Programs

The Sir Francis Drake Hotel is a member of the Kimpton family of hotels and restaurants, which offers rewards to its customers. If you want to stay in a luxury hotel, but you find out Wi-Fi is not provided free of charge at that property, consider joining the hotel’s loyalty program. For example, loyalty programs with the aforementioned Kimpton family, Fairmont, Joie de Vivre, the Wyndham hotel group, Club Carlson, or IHG Rewards all offer free Wi-Fi to members on their properties. On a slightly more exclusive scale are the programs for Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, and other hotel chains. These offer free Wi-Fi as rewards for numbers of stays to elite members. It can take some time to acquire the benefits — 50 nights for Marriott Gold members, for example — but their rewards are luxurious and available in many cities, from Las Vegas to Copenhagen.

 

3. Take Credit

Another way to access benefits from top brand hotels is to sign up for a credit card with them. The Ritz-Carlton rewards card from Chase comes with free Gold status with Ritz-Carlton during your first year of membership. These benefits include an increase in value by 25 percent on rewards points, complimentary room upgrades, and hotel credits in addition to free in-room internet. You can also earn travel credit and other membership benefits.

With the American Express Platinum Card or Business Card, you can get Gold status at Starwood hotels. Other benefits the American Express Platinum card offers include an additional 40,000 points upon sign up, airport lounge access, airline credit, priority airport screening in certain locations if you are qualified and accepted to select programs, airline ticket savings, and access to unlimited Wi-Fi at over a million hotspots internationally. Knowing potential credit card benefits and utilizing their assets can add up to a lot more than just deals on gas and groceries. You can even use these benefits to streamline a globetrotting life.

4. Look Other Places

No matter where you are and your level of familiarity with your destination, with a few simple tricks, you can almost always find an internet connection. No one wants to get stuck paying for Wi-Fi in the comfort of their own hotel room. Also keep in mind that if you’re rushing to your hotel in Las Vegas, you can usually stop at a cafe, restaurant, or library to access internet for free. As Wi-Fi is increasingly viewed as a common good and social necessity, you’ll soon be able to engage your platforms from wherever you find yourself — whether you anticipated the destination or not.

One of the most exciting parts of living in this era is the spontaneity of everyday life. When you know how to find Wi-Fi hotspots, you can make anywhere your base for as long as you end up staying there. Familiarizing yourself with local cultures and trying specialties, whether it’s barbecue in Memphis or a European duvet in Venice, during downtime is all part of the adventure.

 

This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on January 14, 2016.