A great philosopher Lao Tzu once told: “A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving”. With all the respect for Lao one should admit such a great saying is hardly applicable to a business travel. Although a business travel can and should include moments of discovery and rest, still a business travel is done for business. A classic image of business traveler is a neat gentlemen in a suite with his laptop open sitting by your side on a plane. He’s not watching movies to kill time. He is perfectioning his presentation, looking through his to-do list or translating the letter to email it to his foreign partners. He will hardly do all that without appropriate applications. So what should a business traveler have in his Mac business tool set?
Arrivals and departures ($4.99 in Mac App Store)
The official beginning of a journey starts as soon as you enter an airport. The first thing you will do – is head off to the nearest departures and arrivals screen and start looking for your flight. Then check-in, passport control. Then staring at the screen again, especially in case of a delay. Than looking for a seat, preferably in front or near the screen to check it from time to time. That happens a lot, especially if you have indirect flight. But what if you could have that same screen on your laptop, which you carry around anyway? Arrivals and departures app displays not only the corresponding information on the flight you choose, but also includes an interactive map of the flights, which arrive or depart the selected airport. You can search the airport you need (the app has more than 4000 of them) and check the status of the selected flight. The information is also available for 2 days in advance.
Keynote ($19.99 in Mac App Store)
So you have finally boarded and now have some time to prepare your presentation. The tool you should definitely have and use is Keynote (a part of iWork productivity suite, which Apple has recently promised to become free of charge). Keynote is a must-have presentation tool with a considerable set of themes, transitions and animations fit any taste. If you are a happy owner of a full “Apple kit” – like iPhone or iPod you can also use Keynote Remote – a tool that allows to control your presentation remotely from an iPhone or iPod. Keynote Remote became free of charge just few days ago and is available from the iTunes App Store. Keynote Remote needs either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to connect to your device.
Passport photo studio ($8.95; demo version is available)
Passport photo studio is a simple and useful app which you can use to make photos for documents by yourself. It comes in handy when you don’t have time to walk around looking for a photo booth or instant photo services. So when you need a photo, you can take it by yourself with a camera in front of a light background. Then you launch the app and select the photo you’ve taken. Then you adjust it in accordance with the requirements and print it. You can adjust your photo in a way it meets official requirements of the USA or UK. However, you can use the app not only for passport photo needs but also in any case you need such a neutral style photo – ID’s, badges, resumes, etc.
B1 Free Archiver (free)
When you go for a travel, all the more for a business travel, a good idea will be to make scans of your personal documents (like passport) and keep them in electronic format. It’s obviously not nice to be robbed or lose your documents but it gets only worse when it happens abroad, for example. In such a bad case your e-copies will come useful. However it’s a bad idea to keep the copies of your documents unprotected, no matter where you keep them – on a flash drive, computer or cloud service. Anyway, you can protect them easily – add them to a password-protected archive. To that end you can use B1 Free Archiver – a free compression and decompression tool, which can encrypt your files with 256 bit AES encryption algorithm. So after you make all the scans you need – organize them into a folder, add it to an archive and protect it with a password up to your choice. After that you can keep it anywhere you want with no fear someone gets access to it.
Wunderlist (free; available on Mac App store)
As every business person you have a lot of things to plan and to do. Those are not only business meetings, conferences and deadlines but also any part of your life that needs to be scheduled. In that case, not to forget anything (even buying presents from your trip for your kid) you can keep it on your Mac. Wunderlist is a free, easy and elegant app, which has a neat interface and is not overloaded with the functionality you will hardly need. Wunderlist organizes your tasks into neat lists (like Work, Private, Movies to watch, etc). You can add any list you want and also set the app in a way it will remind you of a thing you need to do beforehand. You can also share your list entries with others by sending them an invitation by email.
Clear Day ($0.99)
Before going for a business travel you must have been preparing day and night to make your best and to show them all how diligent and hardworking you are. You have polished your speech on a plane instead of taking a refreshing nap, you have looked through the text of that contract again and again. You have done everything that depends on you and there is nothing that can interfere with your plans. But you forgot one thing – while you go on making business, nature and the weather go on in there habitual pace and don’t really care they can ruin someone’s first impression or important day. To be prepared for anything that the weather in another city might have there for you – use Clear Day. It’s a sleek and mostly visual app, which gives you information on weather conditions in a city you select. Moreover, you can select multiple cities if it’s not a one destination trip or if you want to keep watching whether your kid dresses up properly while you are away.
As a person who came to another city or country for business, one of the most important things is to stay connected. Mobile is not enough in case you need to send some files or documents, or look up something on the net. Therefore you would appreciate if your laptop could promptly catch the strongest WiFi signal available nearby. To that end use iStumbler. It’s a free of charge app that shows all the nearby Wi-Fi networks, Bluetooth devices and Bonjour services with all information, organized into a neat chart. With iStumbler you can see each network’s name, mode, channel, frequency, geographic location, etc. You can adjust the interface in a way that is most comfortable for you.
Universal translator (free; available in Mac App store)
If you happened to go for a business trip abroad there is a slight possibility of your feeling uncomfortable for the reason of not being able to explain yourself. A decent dictionary is certainly a must when travelling to other countries. In case of everyday communication you will hardly need a desktop translator – better install a simple dictionary on your smartphone. However, if you do a lot of business correspondence with your foreign partners a desktop dictionary is a must. Universal translator is a free dictionary for Mac, which works with more than 50 languages. The app has a simple pleasant interface with two panes and two selectors at the top to choose and check with what languages you are working at the moment. You can translate not only separate words, but also sentences and phrases. Clicking a “loudspeaker” icon you can hear how the word or sentence sounds. Unfortunately mobile version is not available.
Yammer (free version is available)
If you need to keep in touch with the coworkers you left at home you can certainly use email or any social network. But when you have to exchange a couple of short messages email looks too cumbersome, and your all-around social network – too messy as you have not only co-workers there but also your family, friends and lots of people you barely know. In this case a certain social network where only your coworkers are available looks like a nice solution. Yammer is an enterprise social network, within which you can freely communicate with your co-workers no matter where you are. Registration procedure is simple and clear – you register with your corporate mail, fill down the emails of your colleagues, choose groups (company departments) you mostly work with and eventually add your photo. The basic version is free of charge, however you can update to any of the paid plans.
Skype (free version is available)
Skype doesn’t require any preliminary presentation as if you have traveled at least once in your life for a long time or lived away from your family you must have certainly used it. However, if not, you should definitely download and install it on your Mac. In case of a business trip you may need not only to chit-chat with your family and friends, but also to hold some serious conference calls with several participants. You might use Mac’s native iChat, but this program is not available for Windows and you can not be sure that every participant of an online conference uses Mac OS. In this case a cross-platform Skype is the best solution, as it is available practically for every device and OS. You can set audio conference call for up to 25 people (this option is free). Video conference is available for up to 4 people free of charge and up to 10 people if you upgrade to Skype premium plan (price depends on your country).
As you can see, a business travel list doesn’t include Lonely Planet apps or TripAdvisor, though, depending on the industry, you might also need them. But in general this neat must-have 10 list covers everything you might need to stay productive. So, have a safe journey and close that deal!