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Holiday Traveling Tips: From a Frequent Flyer – Who Happens to be a Map App Developer Too!

These days, most everyone relies on a smartphone for entertainment, email and the most updated news. But for CEO’s and other heads of companies, a smart phone and the apps they use are crucial to how they conduct business as well as how they personally travel during the holidays. What apps do they find useful? And if they have an app of their own, do they use it a lot? We checked in with Ted Florence, president of Avenza Systems Inc. and developer of an app called PDF Maps app designed to provide consumers with a way to navigate through most countries without the need for cell reception and the worry of accruing high data rate charges when traveling. How regularly does he use his own app and what others are on his priority list?

Below is a sneak peek into Ted’s iPhone, and his recommendations for the best apps to alleviate the holiday frustration and keep you on track when traveling domestically and internationally:

  1. My TSA – This is a great travel utility app courtesy of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). This app provides 24/7 access to information that passengers frequently request from the TSA including such things as: a tool to find out if an item is allowed in your carry-on or checked baggage; information on ID requirements and liquids rules; tips for packing and dressing to speed through security, and most importantly, real-time operating status for U.S. airports from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The real-time status reports include information as to the status of the security lines and the approximate wait times as well as the average flight delays at any moment.
  2. Avenza PDF Maps – Why create an app that you don’t find useful yourself? I travel internationally quite frequently to meet clients and this has got to be one of the best mapping utilities for the Apple mobile platform. The PDF Maps app is an all-encompassing solution for the use, and acquisition of GPS-enabled maps to mobile devices. It includes both an app for users to use, discover and purchase maps directly from and to their devices as well as a backend store to facilitate the transaction and delivery of the maps. Essentially it’s like iTunes for maps. Browse the in-app iTunes-like map store and find a free or inexpensive map that suits your travel purpose. Where this app becomes particularly valuable is when traveling abroad to areas of the world where data roaming can be very expensive or when traveling to areas with no cell service like your favourite national park or forest. Once an app is purchased (although many are free) it’s immediately delivered to your device and remains there for use even when you are offline. And all the maps work with the GPS and locational abilities of your device all the time.
  3. Currency – This app is a must-have utility for anyone traveling outside the country to areas where foreign currencies are involved. With this app you can quickly obtain the most up-to-date exchange rate for almost any currency and quickly calculate what that value is in US$ or any other desired currency. With this app you never have to worry about getting a fair rate at the currency exchange booth or overpaying for a product or service outside the country.
  4. AirportStatus – This is a nice little 99-cent app that provides real-time status updates for the flying conditions of all US airports. With this app you can quickly search for the current conditions of any airport, create a favourites list and easily estimate what delays you might face on your current business trip.
  5. Expense2Go – I really like this app because it helps me keep all my business expenses accurate, up-to-date and most importantly, organized. This app lets you keep all your expense information in one convenient place as your business trip unfolds including even grabbing a photo capture of the actual receipt so you don’t need to worry if you lose it. Expense items can be dated, categorized by type, notated and exported to Salesforce through the app’s Saleforce integration feature.
  6. SeatGuru – Finding good seat is always a challenge for any traveler but in particular for the busy business traveler for whom time and comfort are paramount concerns. Just like the SeatGuru website, this app lets you search for the seat map for any flight virtually worldwide and provides a complete seat map including the aircraft type and an quick breakdown of which seats are considered to be better than others and which are to be avoided. Searches can be done by flight number, routing and airline. The app even has a built in flight status feature so you can check to see if your flight is going to be on time or not.
  7. Your Favourite Airline’s App – Almost every airline now has an app of their own that provides the most up-to-date access to their flight schedule, flight status and frequent flyer systems and most also provide quick and easy mobile check-in and boarding pass delivery. Some even now integrate with the new Apple Passbook app to help you keep your boarding passes even more organized. As a Canadian I keep the Air Canada app front and centre on my iPhone but as I frequently travel in the US I also have the United and American Airlines apps on my device as well.
  8. FlightAware – This is a wonderful little utility that provides real-time visual tracking of a flights progress as it moves through the air. You can view a flight’s exact location on a map and also receive step by step updates of the flight’s status in a list form. I find this to indispensable when traveling on business as many flights rely on the arrival of an incoming flight from somewhere else and thus I can quickly find out where that incoming flight is at any moment and quickly ascertain if my outbound flight has a chance of being on time.

    About Ted Florence and Avenza Systems Inc.
    Ted Florence is the President of Avenza Systems Inc. Avenza Systems Inc. is an award-winning, privately held corporation that provides cartographers and GIS professionals with powerful software tools for making better maps. In addition to software offerings for Mac and Windows users, Avenza offers value-added data sets, product training, and consulting services. For more information visit