Common Apps like Google Maps or Lyft, Not Included

14 Frequent Flyers Share Their Favorite Sanity-Saving Travel Apps


March 5, 2020 Tech By
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Just like every other part of life, apps make traveling easier. But a lot of the go-to picks are obvious. Google Maps and Apple Maps. Ride sharing apps such as Uber or Lyft. Entertainment apps like Instagram, YouTube, Spotify.

Instead, I set out to find some of the less obvious apps that people use when they’re on the road. Apps that help them to stay energized, entertained and productive. As well as apps that just help them learn about a new city. With this spirit, I asked some of the people who travel most — aka, frequent flyers — about their favorite travel apps.

Jeff Coffin, Saxophonist for Dave Matthews Band

Jeff Coffin is a composer, educator and musician who currently plays the saxophone for Dave Matthews Band. He’s also a past band member of Bela Fleck & the Flecktones.

App: Sky Guide (iOS only)
Price: $3
“Aside from the usual apps we all likely use, I have a particular favorite I use over and over: Sky Guide. I spent a number of my childhood years in Maine in a remote town on the 35th parallel and we had a 360-degree view of the sky from our farm. My dad shared his love for the stars with us. We saw comets, satellites, the Northern Lights, meteor showers, and we even saw Skylab fly over once! That cosmic gazing stuck with me through the years and I still love to see what is up in the night sky in different parts of the world. Sky Guide gives me more information than I could possibly remember and it even tells me the position of the Space Station! How cool is that!?! I know when I am away that my family is seeing the same moon and stars that I am and that gives me some comfort and makes me feel closer to them from so many miles away.” — Jeff Coffin

Tom Aulet, CEO and Co-Founder of Ergatta

Ergatta is a Brooklyn startup that recently unveiled the Digital Rower, a rowing machine with a large display that masks rowing workouts as competitive games. It’s sort of like Peloton, but for rowing, but games instead of class workouts.

App: Weav Run (Free) (iOS, Android waitlist)
Price: Free
“Hotel gyms can be a bit grim, so I try to run outside to get a workout in. The best thing to jazz up a run: Weav Run. They have stem licenses for all their music, which means that they can remix each song at different BPM’s. The app actually speeds up and slows down the music in response to your speed — so if you go faster, the music speeds up, and vice versa. Great way to make a run on the road longer, faster and less boring.” — Tom Aulet

Rebecca Ward, Communications Manager (EMEA) at Audio-Technica

Audio-Technica is a Japanese audio company that makes some of our favorite earbuds, headphones, microphones, turntables and other audio equipment.

App: Citymapper (iOS, Android)
Price: Free
“I usually travel three to four times per month within Europe and then six times a year to the USA and Japan, where our headquarters are located in a building designed by the Akasaka Yoshiaki Laboratory, which is full of natural light and art collected by the Matsushita family. As a family-owned business, I’ve found that Audio-Technica embraces face-to-face meetings, so a lot of my travel is to our offices throughout the world to discuss marketing messaging and brand development with my colleagues. We also work with lots of great creative agencies across Europe, so I try and catch up with them all in person at least four times a year.

For the past eight years, I’ve relied on Citymapper to get me from A to B. It combines all of the useful data from maps and local transportation apps and offers you a multitude of options for travel with an intuitive and playful design. The app calculates all the potential routes to your destination and offers cost comparisons between every option, including taxis, public transportation or even a combination of different transport methods. I really like that they also estimate the number of calories you would burn by walking or cycling, so it can also serve as a useful fitness tool. The app only works in major cities throughout the world (for now) but they continue to add new locations and you can vote for the city you would like them to add next.” — Rebecca Ward

Gísli Grímsson, Salt Maker at Saltverk

Saltverk is a hand-harvested, sustainable sea salt from the remote Westfjords of Iceland. It’s one of the few entirely sustainable flaky sea salt producers in the world.

App: Lonely Planet Guides (iOS, Android); Raisin (iOS, Android)
Price: Free; Free
“I travel eight to 10 times a year, and maybe 75 percent work, 25 percent personal. Last year we did a trade show with Saltverk in the U.S. and meetings and pop-ups in Copenhagen [Denmark] with our restaurant, Skál!, as well as on Saltverk duty. Lonely Planet Guides is a very good app for knowing the local secrets in each city. It has a pretty straightforward design and it’s easy to use. It usually has more info than many other apps in the same category. Raisin is a French app for finding bars/restaurants/stores that sell natural/low-intervention wines. I’m a big natural-wine enthusiast, and therefore the app always comes in handy in a new place!” — Gísli Grímsson

Benoît Rebus, Head of Global Innovative Partnerships at Qobuz

Qobuz is a music streaming with the largest catalogue of hi-res audio. It recently ditched MP3 streaming quality for a single one-plan option that includes unlimited access to its entire hi-res and CD lossless music catalog.

App: Timeshifter (iOS, Android)
Price: Free
“When it comes to professional travels but you’re not traveling business class, you want to make sure that you will be in the best shape possible to do, well, business. Managing time zones is probably the most difficult thing among the trip organization and back to back meetings calendar. Time zones affect your body and health so you’ve better be prepared for that! This is where the Timeshifter app comes in. It will help you to act according to your sleeping habits aligned with your flight and destination time. It worked very well for my trip to CES in Las Vegas from Paris. A typical year of traveling for me would be the Bristol Hi-Fi Show, High-End Munich, New York office, IFA Berlin, sometimes MWC in Barcelona, well not this year, or new markets launch events like Milano. I also travel to visit our partners’ manufacture like Naim Audio in Salisbury (UK) most recently. I think Timeshifter is superior from its competitors in terms of UI and personalization.” — Benoît Rebus

Alex Klein, Co-Founder and CEO of Kano

Kano is tech startup that creates build-your-own computer kits and coding kits for kids.

App: WhatsApp (iOS, Android)
Price: Free
“I swear by WhatsApp. You can send gifs, but also have serious conversations about work or your personal life.” — Alex Klein

Coy Christmas, CEO of Fasetto

Fasetto is a hardware and software company that creates technology solutions for an increasingly connected world.

App: Dark Skies (iOS, Android)
Price: $4
“My favorite travel app is Dark Skies. It allows me to know exactly what has happened, will happen and where it will happen in the way of weather with minute to minute accuracy no matter where I am. It’s the best travel companion.” — Coy Christmas

Carlos Gomez Andonaegui, Co-Founder of Spinciti

Spinciti is an electric bike company whose latest e-bike, the Amsterdam, is currently running an Indiegogo campaign.

App: Runkeeper (iOS, Android)
Price: Free
“I use Runkeeper when I travel as a way to discover new places. No matter where in the world I am, I can track a nice morning run and compare routes. I have found that running is the best way to discover places. Last year I logged amazing morning runs in 3 continents. The nicest one was in Rome at 7am.” — Carlos Gomez Andonaegui

Chris Burkard, Adventure Photographer

Chris Burkard is an adventure photographer who has amassed well over 3 million followers on Instagram. He has won numerous awards for his cold weather surf photography, and has worked on campaigns for numerous high-profile clients, including Apple, Toyota, Sony, The North Face and Patagonia.

App: PhotoPills (iOS, Android)
Price: $10
PhotoPills is an app I use religiously on all of my trips. The app can help show you exactly where the Milky Way, Sun, or Moon will be in a location and at what time. Essentially you hold the phone up to the landscape in front of you and it will show where and when those elements will be there. For instance, if you want a shot of the sun rising over the horizon, this app will show you exactly where it will rise and at what time which is incredible for planning. I use it on all my trips and it has been especially helpful on projects where I’ve shot events like lunar eclipses. It’s a must for any photographer and is a critical scouting tool for any type of job where planning around sunrise and sunset is important. Also great for the determined sight seer who wants to make the most of their day!” — Chris Burkard

Christopher Donohue, Bassist for Emmylou Harris

Christopher Donohue is the bassist for 12-time Grammy Award winner Emmylou Harris.

App: White Noise (iOS, Android)
Price: $1
“White Noise is by far my most useful travel app. It comes with 40 stock sounds ranging from white/blue/pink/brown noise (brown is my favorite) to various nature and mechanical audio environments. The pitches of each sound are adjustable and the app also features a sleep clock and alarm function. Aside from using it as a sleep aid, White Noise is perfect for blocking out unwanted speech and noise around you if you’re trying to read, rest, or sometimes just enjoy a mindful moment with a cup of coffee.” — Christopher Donohue

Neil Ferrier, Founder of Discommon

Discommon is an industrial design & engineering firm that collaborates with other companies for various design projects. They are also privately commissioned to create one-of-a-kind pieces, such as desks and coffee tables. They also create high-end men’s accessories, such as wallets, bottle openers and pocket knives.

App: HotelTonight (iOS, Android), Mr and Mrs Smith (iOS), Whoop (iOS, Android)
Price: Free, free and free
“There are three apps I can’t live without when on the road. I personally live off of HotelTonight. My travel is often short notice and tends to change last minute. The app gives me this strange sense of freedom, to feel flexible to change as the projects/clients demand. What makes it special is I pull the app up and lodging is usually booked within 60 seconds. If I’m staying somewhere more than a night, Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a close second. They have never done me wrong on a quality hotel. Finally, once settled in at my destination, Whoop is another one I depend on during days on the road. It is a sleep-and-strain tracking app and armband combo. It pushes me to sleep enough and lets me know when I can go flat out at the gym on a more mellow workday.” — Neil Ferrier

Marika Patto, VP Product for Zagg Brands

Zagg is a company best known for its smartphone accessories such as screen protectors, Bluetooth keyboards, portable battery cases. Zagg is also the parent company of Mophie, Invisible Shield, iFrogz and Braven.

App: XE Currency (iOS, Android) , Down Dog (iOS, Android), (iOS, Android)
Price: Free, free and free
“I don’t travel as much as I used to, basically only once per year internationally and a few times domestically for business, I do travel more for pleasure. Outside the common ones, I like XE Currency. [It shows] live rates, works offline, and stores 180+ currencies so wherever you go you can quickly figure out what things cost. Down Dog is very customizable yoga app that shows lots of different workouts you can do in a hotel room. If I travel somewhere I haven’t been to before (especially International), I use FLIO, it’s great for finding what’s available at the airport, and advice on how to get around/from/to the airports.” — Marika Patto

Carly Stein, Founder of Beekeeper’s Naturals

Beekeeper’s Naturals makes organic, sustainable products that help your immune sstem, brain activity and overall health. All the products are made using ingredients produced by bees.

App: Five Minute Journal (iOS, Android)
Price: $5
“I absolutely love writing in my Five Minute Journal as a way to begin and end my days with a little dose of gratitude. It’s so important to train our brains to focus on what is going right in our lives, because it’s really easy to focus only on the negatives (humans are hardwired that way). Because my job requires me to be on-the-go so often, I tend to travel light. Using the Five Minute Journal app allows me to easily maintain this positive practice anywhere—even on a red-eye flight.” — Carly Stein

Ajay Mehta, Founder of Birthday Candles

Birthday Candles makes personalized, hand-poured, scented candles that are based on astrology, numerology, and tarot – there are 365 customized candles, one for every birthday.

App: Instapaper (iOS, Android)
Price: Free
“I use Instapaper pretty much every day when I’m on the road. I think of it as my own personal magazine — whenever I see a long piece that looks interesting, I save it to Instapaper to read later. I need a large chunk of time to read one of those 10,000 word New Yorker deep dives, so the plane or a long car ride is perfect. I love that Instapaper stores articles offline and in a very readable, well-designed, minimalist format — I know I can dive into a long read on the plane with fewer distractions and I love having a full Instapaper archive of interesting stuff to read. ” — Ajay Mehta

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Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Tucker Bowe

Tucker Bowe has been on Gear Patrol's editorial team since 2014. As a Tech Staff Writer, he tracks everything in the consumer tech space, from headphones to smartphones, wearables to home theater systems. If it lights up or makes noise, he probably covers it.

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