Travel Apps, a Day in the Life

Today was a travel day. On days like these, I use my devices differently than normal. What follows is an account of the apps I used throughout the day while on the road. Traveling, as you might expect, takes me away from the office where I normally get work done. However, that doesn't mean there isn't stuff to do.

Just under 24 hours before departure time, I open the American Airlines app and checked into my flight. It gave me an electronic boarding pass.

At 8:30 in the morning on travel day, I turned on my MacBook Air and used Microsoft's Remote Desktop for Mac to dial into my work computer where I enabled my out-of-office message and checked email.

At 8:45 I opened TripIt, a free trip organizer that shows a single list of itineraries. When I make travel plans, I forward a copy of each confirmation to the TripIt service. It collects all my trip details and distills them to a single easy-to-read list that looks great on a smartphone.

I joined a telephone conference at 9:00 that lasted an hour. Halfway through that call, I launched the TripIt again to copy my shuttle van confirmation number. Then, I opened the SuperShuttle app. It allows you to see the location of your assigned van on its way to pick you up. My van was less than 10 minutes away. So, while still on the conference call, I gathered my laptop and luggage and prepared to leave my home. Within just a few minutes the van arrived. I boarded the shuttle and finished my call as it pulled onto the highway.

At 10:00 I joined a GoToMeeting webinar with audio. I used the iPhone app to join. It gives you an easy way to use Voice over Internet for audio, but I chose the option to dial in using my telephone. The app is able to see meeting details in the calendar and dial into a call automatically. Oh, and it lets you view a shared screen right on the phone.

I arrived at the airport around 10:30 and made my way through security. Apple's Passbook held my boarding pass, but I had to end my telephone call to use it. The iPhone screen kept turning off when trying to scan the bar code — iPhones shut off the screen during telephone calls when you bring the phone to your face (or another object). After checking in, I rejoined the conference. Then, I placed everything into plastic bins on conveyer so they could be x-rayed while I went through the airport metal detectors. Afterward, I picked up the call, already in progress.

At around 11:00 I found my gate and joined the webinar with GoToMeeting on my iPad. In this way, I could see the screen on my iPad while talking on my phone.

At around 11:30 AM Flight Update, a $10 app that integrates with TripIt to retrieve a list of upcoming flights, alerted me a gate change. Flight Update provides all the features of TripIt pro for one flat fee. It alerts you to gate changes and delays for any scheduled flights.

I opened Chrome River to review and approve a few expense reports. Chrome River is an expense reporting and invoice tracking tool that works if you have an existing account with the company.

At 12:15 I learned my flight was delayed. So, I opened ComiXology. It's a comic book app. And even though recent changes have made it a little more difficult to buy comics in a seamless way, it's still possible with a few extra taps and logins. I bought a couple of issues to read at the airport while I waited to my flight.

Once my flight left LAX and the plane was safely above 10,000 feet, I connected to Gogo inflight internet. During the flight, I used Remote Desktop to read and reply to work email.

In addition to apps, I used the iPhone 5s, iPad mini, MacBook Air, Mophie juick pack air, and the Kindle Paperwhite.

Let me know if you use any special apps when you travel.