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12/1/2011
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5 Smartphone Camera Tips For Business Travelers

Forget Kodak moments, think sanity. Here are five ways you can use your smartphone's camera to make your next business trip go more smoothly.

I use my smartphone's camera to "take notes" and to help me remember things more often than I do to capture that Kodak Moment. In fact, the camera on my smartphone has become a vital tool not just in my personal life, but in my work life, too.

Traveling for business often takes us out of our environment and drops us in places where we need to remember things we're not accustomed to remembering, or be aware of things outside of our routines. Here are five smartphone camera tricks I've learned over the years to help make business trips less painful.

1) Hotel. If you're the forgetful type and have trouble remembering room numbers, here's a tip: take a picture of the number on your room's door. That way, when you get back after that late dinner, you won't need help finding your room. Better yet, if your hotel is in a downtown, city-like environment, take a picture of the front of the hotel so it is easier to find again.

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2) Receipts. I don't know anyone who likes to do expense reports. Ever tried filling out an expense report after you've lost half your receipts? Every time you sign for the bill, take a moment to pull out your smartphone and take a picture of the receipt. This way, if the receipt becomes lost, you'll still have a record of the expense and have a better chance at getting reimbursed.

3) IDs. Losing your identification on a business trip can be a catastrophe, especially when flying or traveling overseas. Although I still recommend that you have photocopies of your driver's license and passport, having images in your smartphone's gallery can't hurt either. This way, you can at least substantiate your claim that you're a U.S. citizen when knocking on the front door of an embassy somewhere in the middle of the night.

[For other creative uses of smartphones, read Awkward Social Situation? Smartphone To The Rescue.]

4) Parking slips. Did you park at the airport? If so, perhaps you received a little piece of paper or ticket with a code on it. There's nothing worse than landing at your home airport and not being able to retrieve your car because you don't have your parking ticket. Take a picture of it and avoid delaying your homecoming.

5. Business cards. Despite the fact that we can "bump" or beam our business contact data to one another directly from our phones, most of us still rely on paper business cards. You know what I detest? Getting home and finding two or three dozen business cards floating around in my luggage. Rather than take them home with you, take a picture of all the business cards you get on your trip and leave them in the trash (or better, recycling bin) at your hotel. Better yet, use a business card scanning app on your phone to automatically create new contacts when you take pictures of the business cards.

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