Mornin Oppo! So, I have a nickname amongst my co-workers and fellow road warriors, they call me "The App Man". Why? Because I live by the mantra that the internet can solve any problem or help complete any task. Apps/Web Services typically offer three things I love, effeciency, affordability, and a high level of service.
Currently I'm in Chicago for work and have a few hours to kill while I wait for my next appointment so I thought I'd share my 4 favorite apps with my fellow Opponauts.
First up is the one many of you are familiar with already:
I hate hailing cabs, even worse I hate arguing with cabbies over fares and never knowing if I'm taking the best route or "going for a ride". Whelp, thanks to Uber none of that is an issue anymore. I push a button on the Uber app and up pulls my car. Better still if I want to roll with a bit more style/class I can use Uber Black and roll out in a Town Car, Caddy, Escalade, etc...
The people I'm traveling with are of a less tech-inclined bunch. So when I push a button on my phone and a Town Car magically shows up (oh, and the driver addresses me by my name) they think I'm some sort of wizard. The reality is way less interesting, it's just a well designed app coupled with great service.
A few key features that make Uber better then traditional car services. I've never waited more then 5 minutes in a large city (Chicago, NYC, Detroit, etc...), I can charge my expense account/company credit card easily (in the past, even in NYC if I needed to use my business card I'd get eye rolls from the cabbie), the emailed reciept means one less slip of paper I need to keep track of, and finally the rating system (drivers rate passengers and passengers rate drivers) seems to do a fantastic job of weeding out bad drivers AND bad passengers. Talk about a win-win situation.
If you're new to Uber you can use my promo code: Uberegoods (or click the link below) and get your first ride free, up to $30. If you don't want to help me out that's cool too, hit up Uber.com or search Uber on the app store.
It seems like every time I come to Chicago the parking gets more and more expensive. And that seems to be the trend elsewhere as well. 5 years ago it was $30 a day, then $40, and now they want $65 A DAY!?! I understand big cities are expensive, but $65 seemed obscene, and it turns out I was right.
Meet, Parking Panda, one of a handful of apps (the most useful, from what I found but it may be worth trying the others) that offers discount parking in most major US cities. Instead of paying $65 a day I paid $85 for 5 days. It meant I had to park a little ways away (4 blocks) but it also saved me about $250 over the hotel valet. Talk about a no-brainer.
I was able to knock $14 off the price thanks to a Groupon ($12 for $25 in credit), and again, just like Uber, you can get an additional $5 in credit for free with my referral link, or you can click here to head to there site sans-referral.
OpenTable has been around for a while now, but if you're not familiar it's a website/app that allows you to make dinner reservations. Pretty cut and dry, find the restaurant you want to dine at, select the number of people in your party and you'll get a list of available times.
During large trade shows (like the show I'm at now) restaurants often have insane wait times for walk-in customers, but savvy travelers have a reservation, and there's nothing quite as badass as walking in to a packed restaurant and getting seated right away. Just try not to rub it in the less-prepared people's face.
DRYV is a Chicago based (and Chicago exclusive, so far) service for dry cleaning. I've used it a few times and consider it indispensable when I'm in Chicago for work. They use the same service the hotels use, but at a fraction of the price (compared to my hotel it's over 50% cheaper). Using the app you can schedule a pickup (usually within 60 minutes), a "Dryver" shows up at your door, hand them your dirty clothes and they'll send you a message when it's done (typically within 24 hours).
DRYV is Chicago based only, but it's a service that's likely available in a similar capacity near you. "Valet Laundry Service" isn't a new idea, but I figure DRYV deserved an honorable mention for it's sleek interface and app integration. Also, it beats the hell out of the insane prices hotels charges.
Right now they're even offering a $20 referral credit on your first order click the link or use promo code CUKSE, but again if you'd prefer to join up sans-referall you can head to there site by clicking here.