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An app in time saves nine

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Useful tools aplenty available online

A growing number of time-pressed movers and shakers are turning to apps on their smart devices to manage their business travel better.

Trawl any online app store and you'll be overwhelmed by the number of travel apps that are available — some useful, others not so much. Many are region-specific and only worth downloading if you plan to visit certain locations — an app with the London Underground's stations, for example.

On the other hand, there are a few travel apps that are broadly useful. Here are our top five free favourites (pro versions without ads are charged for):

TripIt

Free for Android and Apple iOS

Any frequent business traveller will know the hassle of juggling paper-based itineraries, care hire and hotel vouchers, airline tickets and the volumes of other documentation that accompanies even the shortest trips. Register for the service and then email travel service confirmations to TripIt via the website and it collates everything electronically into an easy-to-read format for your smartphone or tablet app. It really is the simplest way to organise your business travel itinerary and can be used in companies of all sizes to share the travel calendars of several employees.

FlightTrack

Free for Android and Apple iOS

Here's a nifty app that lets you track flights in near real-time, complete with moving map. Search for a flight by carrier, flight number or route and it presents you with all the options on a particular date. Once you've selected the flight, you can watch its progress on a map and receive alerts about delays or gate changes, for example. It's like a virtual flight arrivals and departure board for your smart device. Seat maps, weather forecasts and delay forecasts are just some of the intelligent features that help you plan your trip to the airport whether you're travelling yourself or meeting a flight.

Google Translate

Free for Android and Apple iOS

If you're lost for words this handy translator deciphers words and phrases in 65 languages, including Afrikaans. You can speak the words or type the text you want translated in 17 of those languages and hear those translations spoken back to you in 40 languages. A handwriting option lets you input words using a stylus on devices that support the facility.

Priority Pass

Free for Android

If you're a frequent flyer you've probably stumbled across one of the 600 Priority Pass business lounges in airports across the world. Use this app to find the one closest to where you are and to get an idea of what facilities it offers.

Street View on Google Maps

Free on Android Live Street View on Google Maps

Free on Apple iOS

What you see is what you get with this app that literally shows you what where you're heading for actually looks like. Use Google Maps to get turn-by-turn directions to any meeting place anywhere in the world. Before you get there, you can familiarise yourself with 360 degree photo images of the surroundings. Okay, it's more about fun that commerce but who says you can't mix business with pleasure?

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