I write columns for two free TechnoLawyer newsletters that are distributed via email: SmallLaw and BigLaw. Although the newsletters have different target audiences, I encourage you to sign up for both of them because no matter what kind of law you practice you will often find useful tips in both newsletters. For example, while I work for a large law firm, I enjoyed Brett Burney's June 6, 2013 SmallLaw column on the best iPad apps for scanning documents. If you don't subscribe to the BigLaw newsletter, you should definitely click here to do so before July 9th because that issue will contain my interview with Jones Day attorney John Walker. John is a litigator in the firm's Atlanta office who represents clients in high-stakes products liability litigation around the country, and he is very savvy with technology. My BigLaw interview with John will focus on his favorite iPhone and iPad apps.
While talking to John, I learned that as a result of all of the travel that he does around the country, he has gotten very good at "travel hacking" — reaping maximum benefit from airline and hotel loyalty programs. In an average year, John earns close to one million miles/points on top of those that he earns from regular travel. That gives John and his family the opportunity to travel, even internationally, for free. John told me about a number of iPhone and iPad apps that he uses and recommends for travel hacking, many of which were new to me. Here are John's recommendations:
- OnTheFly: A front end to a great flight searching website (matrix.itasoftware.com), recently taken over by Google. It's my favorite resource for flexibly searching all airlines (except Southwest) at once. Click here for OnTheFly (free):
- GateGuru: I use this app for finding airline lounges in the U.S. and especially abroad. Especially helpful for "mileage runs," when you need to find a lounge with a shower. [Jeff adds: Here is a link to my review from 2010. The app now has a new interface, but I still use it almost every time I have a layover to figure out the best place to eat and to locate shops and services.] Click here for GateGuru (free):
- AwardWallet: Mobile front end to the website of the same name that helps track frequent flier (and frequent guest) miles/points across different programs, including expiration dates. Click here for AwardWallet (free):
- TripAdvisor: Front end to website; reviews of hotels and other attractions. Click here for link to mobile web app.
- ExpertFlyer: Web link to mobile version of subscription site that lets me check seat availability, upgrade availability, likelihood of being "bumped" from a flight, award availability, etc. across several airlines. In many cases I can see what the agents can see. Click here for the mobile website. Click here for the full website for more details and to sign up.
- KayakPro: I use it to search hotels primarily. Click here for KayakPro ($0.99):
- Southwest Airlines: App to search, buy, check in, etc. for Southwest flights. I don't fly them often, but using a travel "hack" last year, I obtained a ton of points and a "companion pass" that lets my wife fly free on Southwest on any itinerary (paid or award) that I book in 2012-2013. Click here for Southwest Airlines (free):
- FlightBoard: The app gives abundant gate information similar to what you might see at an airport. Especially good for (1) checking on the status of a flight arriving to one's departure gate; and (2) finding out what destinations are available from a particular airport. Click here for FlightBoard ($3.99):
- STAYConnect Mobile by LodgeNet: Good to use as a remote control for hotel TVs in many hotel chains (better than the nasty one hotels make available, which is rarely cleaned and sometimes sticky). Click here for STAYConnect Mobile (free):
- Priority Pass: Mobile app that accompanies my Priority Pass lounge membership (free with American Express platinum card) for lounge access in airports/terminals where don't have it with Delta. A lifesaver, especially for international travel. Click here for Priority Pass (free):
- SkyScanner: Another tool for searching flights. Click here for SkyScanner (free):
- Hyatt Hotels: Useful for finding Hyatt hotels and searching availability. I use this more following my recent "mattress run" for Diamond status with Hyatt. Click here for Hyatt Hotels (free):
- SPG: Useful for finding Starwood hotels and searching availability. I use this more following my recent "mattress run" for Platinum status with Starwood. Click here for SPG (free):
- Yelp: Similar to TripAdvisor, but I also use for restaurants. Click here for Yelp (free):
By the way, when you read the BigLaw article, you'll see that John names some of his favorite music apps, and he told me that he streams music from his iPhone to his stereo so that he and his four daughters can have a weekly dance party. Here is a cute picture of John's family.
Thanks, John, for the great tips on travel hacking with an iPhone or iPad, and also for taking the time to talk with me for the upcoming BigLaw article.
This article won the BigLaw Pick of the Week. BigLaw is a free weekly email newsletter that provides helpful information for midsize and large law firms and the corporate counsel who hire them.