Productivity apps: how to stay on top of life while you’re travelling abroad

It’s not always easy to stay on top of life and work chores when you’re travelling, especially if on holiday. These apps can do some of the work for you, so you don’t come home to an overflowing inbox

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 March, 2016, 3:15pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 March, 2016, 5:05pm


IFTTT (“if this, then that”) automates tasks between over 270 channels, creating a series of “recipes”. For example, “if I post on Instagram, then post the picture to my Tumblr too”. You can automate all sorts of tasks, such as curating news alerts, receiving an SMS when a particular person (such as your boss) emails you, syncing multiple cloud storage folders and filing URLs to view later. For better productivity, IFTTT can schedule weekly to-dos and sync them with your calendar – which makes returning to work smoother. Other add-ons help take care of things at home: Sensibo enables you to control the air conditioning by SMS; Philips Hue manages your lights. You can even program your coffee machine to turn on the moment you walk in the door.


If you’re expected to stay on top of the latest news and events even when you’re away, Pocket is a simple but effective tool. Users save any online reading or videos to the app, which can also be accessed on computers via the Chrome or Firefox browser extensions. Manage the daily slew of information by filtering through newsletter emails and favoured websites and save the reading for later – when you’re by the pool, for example. A simple tagging function helps to filter and organise articles. Anything you’ve saved that’s trending on Pocket will be highlighted, so you know what others are reading. Pocket also recommends articles to you and allows you to follow other users to see what they read.


For those who travel for work, there’s nothing worse than having to track file your expenses when you come back to an overflowing inbox. Expensify allows you to note expenses on the go, making the task less time consuming when you return. A photo of a receipt is uploaded to the app, which then adds the information to a database, without the need to manually type it in. You can also add in time sheets or mileage. The app interfaces with other systems such as accounting and bookkeeping software Quickbooks and Xero, making it useful for entrepreneurs with both small and large businesses. Best of all, it’s paper-free.