Best free tools for team travel scheduling

Almost every millennial wants an exciting job that allows them to travel to as many places as possible. That is mainly because nobody can truly separate ‘business’ from ‘pleasure’, especially when they are travelling. But travelling can be exhausting and frustrating in the long run without the proper tools. Surely, there are plenty of apps out there that might better cater to your needs. But we want to mention some tools that (at least) have a free version. They can make scheduling and planning your travels easier and more enjoyable without having to pay for each and every one of them.

Suppose you are a project manager overseeing about 5–10 tech specialists. If they happen to travel frequently, even if it is locally, you might want to schedule and keep track of their travelling endeavors. Or even better, if you happen to travel here and there, organizing your travels can do wonders to your stress levels. If you dislike Outlook as much as we do, these tools will help you plan all the details.

Purpose: travel itinerary

App: Google Maps. With over 2 billion monthly active devices on Android alone, Google Maps is one of Google’s best services. Nevertheless, we suspect that not many users know that they can create their own customizable maps. Hit Menu > Your places > Maps > Create Map. It will open a Google Maps Editor in which you can create layers with your locations, destinations (for which you can select transportation modes: by car, by bicycle, on foot), add markers with any GPS coordinate you want (name them and add pictures), add directions, measure distances and areas, color-code your choices (and assign them your preferred icons), and group them for functionality. The base map has nine options, such as satellite, terrain, political, atlas, landmass, and so on. You can then share the map just like any other Google document, where people can view or edit your map, or via Facebook and Twitter. You can also embed it or export it. It’s also a great way to visualize routes and destinations. It will make you want to travel on your next day off.

Purpose: travel assistant

App: Tripit. Available not only on iOS and Android but also BlackBerry and Windows Phone, Tripit is your ultimate free travel assistant for both online and offline use. They do have ‘pro’ and ‘for teams’ versions, but you can still use its free features for your travel itinerary. It keeps your travel points in one place after you forward them your travel email confirmations. It’s great that you can store, edit, and sync your documents, and selectively share the travel plans you want. Tripit is most useful for confirmation numbers for flights, hotels, and restaurants. In a nutshell, it is your easy-to-use, all-inclusive personal travel assistant.

Purpose: booking

App: Hipmunk. Available for both iOS and Android, Hipmunk helps with your flight and hotel bookings and car rentals in a faster, easier way. What’s their best feature? You can sort your query by “Agony” (for flights), which is a combination of price, number of stops, and duration. Hipmunk supports eight different currencies; it offers good deals which you can compare to other sites. It also features a “Heat Map”, which presents hot spots of entertainment and relaxation. Its interface is user friendly and very ‘hip’ indeed.

Purpose: communication

App: iTranslate. If you are fortunate enough to travel abroad, then you will soon learn that breaking the language barrier has never been easier. iTranslate offers translations in over 90 languages for iOS and Android, both for online and offline use (‘pro’ version). Some of its best features are voice recognition by converting your spoken message to text and translating into your target language. Moreover, you can listen to translations in different voices and dialects. iTranslate identifies languages within seconds, and transliterates whichever script.

Purpose: tracking expenses

App: Receipts by Wave. While most people use financial trackers for their income and budgeting, travelling can be very hectic. Spreadsheets and Excel files certainly do not blend well with a cocktail on a beach. So, keep your receipt a little longer in your wallet and use Wave to track your expenses and send invoices. Available on iOS and Android, all you need to do is snap a picture of your receipt, review and edit the information captured (you can also do it offline, although you can only save it), and then record it to your Wave account. You can easily categorize your saved receipts and manage different folders. Although you have to be online to upload a document, Receipts by Wave is a great tool for small business accounting.

Purpose: miscellanea

App: Evernote. When you get down to business, use Evernote to take solid notes, clip articles, store them in a cloud, snap photos, and so on, and sync them across platforms. A lot can be said about Evernote, so we should not digress.

App: Wunderground. Although the name stands for W+underground, it is nothing short of a ‘Wunder’ (German for ‘miracle’), pun intended. We swear by this app. It offers reliable weather updates from different meteorological stations wherever you are. The forecast can be hourly, 10-day, and monthly, showing everything from precipitation, wind, atmospheric pressure, pollen, air quality, UV index, snow depth, humidity, dew point, and astronomy – every moon phase and sun position. It has maps, satellite data, videos, infographics, and news. You can also geek out by checking the weather history going back decades!

Purpose: ‘YOLO’

App: AroundMe. Are you freaking out that you forgot to plan for a specific destination? Did you miss a flight and have some time to spare in a new exciting city? With AroundMe, you can explore anything in your proximity from chic coffee shops to banks and hospitals. It is available on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone free of charge.

These are some tools to help with scheduling trips for you and your team. Hopefully, this post gave you and your team itchy feet. So schedule everything beforehand, and don’t forget to mix ‘business’ with ‘pleasure’.

November 27, 2017