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Must-have Android apps for expats and business travelers

What far too many people overlook in their travel arsenal is the important role of apps for their mobile devices. Some software applications are not optional on the road, and with the selection available today, there are few excuses for leaving important infrastructure at home or un-purchased on an app store.

Every business traveler has their own go-to set of useful and convenient equipment to serve during crucial expeditions in the field. Many of these accessories, both hardware and software, remain part of their travel kit after proving their value when it matters most. 

Nothing is more expensive than arriving at a sales meeting, convention or public appearance only to find the one piece of equipment needed to close the deal isn't available. Most people have experienced such a crisis, and it always seems to happen after time to repair or replace has run out. 

What far too many people overlook in their travel arsenal is the important role of apps for their mobile devices. Some software applications are not optional on the road, and with the selection available today, there are few excuses for leaving important infrastructure at home or un-purchased on an app store. If you are traveling for a living, and you are looking for ways to up your game on the road with the best Android app options, here are some things to consider. 
Google Maps is still one of the top choices for business travelers, and for obvious reasons. In an unfamiliar city or even a moderately crowded downtown area near home, finding your way from one place to the next is always at the top of your priority list. 

Business travel will always have you running against the clock, so you can't afford to be lost in a strange place with your clients or customers wondering why you're late or worse, a no-show. One nice feature of the newest version of Maps is the real-time traffic updates. Even in a new town, getting stuck in traffic isn't going to do much for your business. 

Google Maps is available on almost all Android handsets by default, but if it isn't, it can be easily added to nearly any phone with a couple of taps. 

Surfshark VPN
A virtual private network, or VPN, is no longer an optional luxury in today's security-first environment. When traveling on business, there are numerous ways you can lose control of your personal or business information, and this is doubly true if you are "phoning home" to a server to access e-mail, proprietary servers, customer records or other sensitive corporate data. Download APK here to see if you can work the app into your toolset. 

A VPN creates an encrypted "tunnel" for your Internet connection from any location to one of Surfshark's proxies. This keeps any information you transmit on an unfamiliar Internet connection, like a public wi-fi hotspot, hotel network or airport service, encrypted and private. When you consider the expense of risking the alternative, the minimal cost of a solid VPN service for your mobile device is easy to justify. 

Surfshark is a good choice since it has a few additional features that’ll come in handy: such as preventing malware, trackers, and ads. It also offers encryption to all your traffic, which helps ensure privacy and data security. Plus, you can whitelist apps to bypass VPN connection which comes in handy if you’re trying to park with an app that needs to see your location.

While business travel may be inevitable, paying extra definitely shouldn't be. The sheer volume of loyalty programs available now can bewilder even the most conscientious coupon wrangler, which is why apps like AwardWallet were invented. 

The ability to view a summary of all your available reward programs and their statuses can make all the difference on a trip where you can either obtain new benefits at no additional expense or take advantage of benefits you already have.

If you have the ability to reduce your costs or get a valuable concession from an airline, hotel, car rental company or another travel service, an app like AwardWallet will make it much easier to remember and redeem your benefits. 

Even in an age of ubiquitous communications on every level from simple texts to video calls, having the ability to connect to any other Skype user in the world and exchange voice, video, text, and data is hard to replace with a second-best alternative. It should be pointed out that Skype and VPNs go together like bacon and eggs, especially if you are working with colleagues at the home office and sending sensitive data back and forth. 

Skype is also the go-to when it comes to checking in with family from remote locations, mainly because it can connect many kinds of devices with a single familiar interface. 

Skype is available on nearly every platform, and its network has been one of the most reliable on the web for some time. Considering the cost and quality level, there aren't many viable substitutes.

Uber and Tripit
If you know your route once you arrive, and you won't be needing much in the way of autonomous travel beyond that route, skipping the rental car and hiring Uber rides to get back and forth to your destinations might be a good option.

If the cost difference is negligible, or if you are transporting clients or customers, Tripit is a good option for finding a great deal on a rental car. If you have the time, it is often a good idea to price deals as far in advance as you can, as rental prices can fluctuate depending on availability, location and time of year.

There is nothing more entertaining than six sophisticated business people equipped with nineteen supercomputers, GPS, video phones, high definition tablets and enough memory capacity to store the Library of Congress in three languages all patting their jackets and pockets looking for a pen. 

Be the businessperson who can not only write down a phone number or street name on a moment's notice but do it while syncing the information across all your devices with Evernote. 

The time-tested note-taking app never goes out of fashion, especially in a world where we haven't figured out how to replace cocktail napkins as the medium for highly valuable names and numbers.


If your travels take you to rural areas with a lot of highways and clusters of businesses around off-ramps, iExit will make your life considerably better. While it is possible to duplicate this app's features with clever combinations of other apps, nothing beats being able to see what is available around the next off-ramp, especially if you have a favorite restaurant or you get benefits from filling up at a particular gas station. Not every trip will put you in a major city, so be prepared if your travels take you to those wide-open spaces. 

Part of the process of finding great apps is experimentation. Not every solution will work out, but when one does, it can enhance your life and dramatically improve the value of each business trip in ways often hard to imagine.

Technology writer - Strictly Digital | + Posts

Howard Dawson is a technology writer for Surfshark, specializing in privacy and security online. As an IT graduate and a writer, he enjoys exploring new topics that are relevant in today’s tech world.