December 23, 2014      8 min read

The holidays are always a busy time, so we wanted to share with you some great free apps we’ve been using that we think could save you time and money over the next few weeks – just like Unleashed can for your inventory management!

We hope you discover a new app that make managing your tasks easier over the holidays, and would love to hear if you’ve found any of these helpful or about any of your favourite apps that we’ve missed off the list.

Any.do

If you’re like me, you probably enjoy the feeling of crossing completed tasks off a list. Any.do caters for this by letting you cross items off your task list (you physically swipe across your screen on the mobile app), and displaying a count of how many items you’ve crossed off, so you can feel great about all that you’re achieving! A good task list will be a big help for everything you have to remember over the holiday season, and Any.do even lets you share and invite people to join in your tasks, so none of your relatives will be left behind at the airport or any colleagues secret santa gifts forgotten. It takes awhile to get the hang of, but when you do, the pulling down and swiping across gestures seem like the most natural idea ever. Any.do is available on iPhone, Android and online.

SwiftKey

It’s not often that I claim an app has changed my life, but that’s exactly the case with SwiftKey, as it learns what you type and offers suggestions the next time you go to send a message. After awhile it starts to remember your email address and account logins, which is very handy when you’re trying to make an online purchase or don’t have those details within reach. I was initially using SwiftKey on Android so was very excited when it was released on iPhone as the standard iOS 8 predictive keyboard is not as complete as SwiftKey’s offering. I recommend downloading SwiftKey to use for messaging and responding to emails (from your family and friends!) over the holiday season. SwiftKey is available on Android, iPhone and iPad.

Trello

We use Trello for project planning and management in the Marketing team at Unleashed, and have even used it as a content calendar for planning editorial and social content, thanks to the handy calendar power-up. It’s great being able to drag different tasks (Trello calls them cards) from one list to another, as this is an awesome way of keeping track of what you have done and what you need to do. It’s also great if you manage a blog and want somewhere to keep track of ideas for your blog posts and when you intend to post them. You could use Trello throughout the holiday season for planning your holiday meal, or even keeping track of gifts you have purchased and the ones you still need to. Trello is available on Android, iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire, online and as a Windows 8 app.

Skype

Skype is a well-known video conferencing tool, which we’re sure you will make good use of over the holiday season. You’ll probably have experienced the connection isn’t always perfect, so you may need to use the messaging to have a quick chat with your family and friends instead. Or if you know you’re going to have poor reception over the holidays, try downloading Skype Qik (Skype’s new video messaging app) to record a message for family and friends and send it to their mobiles – if you’re super organised you could even record it now and tell them to wait until Christmas to watch it! Skype is available on many different devices, including Android and iPhone, and Skype Qik is available on Android, iPhone and Windows Phone.

Carousel

Carousel is a dedicated photo app created by Dropbox, offering the same freedom to add files from anywhere and share files with friends and family. As you’ll no doubt be snapping photos of special moments over the holidays, download Carousel, and it will automatically backup your photos and organise them by date, time and event. You can then use it to share photos to your favourite social network, or view your photos offline. And when your family or friends ask you to send them a copy of the photo, you can share straightaway instead of having to wait until you get home. Carousel is available on Android, iPhone and iPad.

Evernote

Evernote is another cloud-based favourite that let’s you create notes and attach images, videos and even audio to your notes. Evernote is constantly being developed and you never really know what they will release next – releases this year have included the ability to initiate conversations with your colleagues from within Evernote (this feature is called WorkChat), and a smart stationery line. One of my favourite features within Evernote is the document scanner, which lets you scan full pages and provides a much clearer representation of the document than a photo, making it much easier to read your Mum’s hastily scrawled turkey and stuffing recipe when you need it. You could even use Evernote to plan holidays away with family and friends – just invite them into a chat when you’re working on a particular note to iron out any of the finer details. Evernote is available on Android, iPhone, iPad, on your Mac or PC, and from the Windows Store.

PackPoint

PackPoint is an app that generates lists of items you should pack based upon weather, location and the activities you will be doing. When you’ve downloaded the app, it will ask where you’re headed, how long you will be staying and the dates you will be traveling. It also allows you to select whether your trip is for business or leisure, so you don’t forget anything important like a vga adaptor for your business presentation or sunscreen for when you hit the beach. Use PackPoint these holidays to compile a basic list of the items you’ll need to pack, and ensure you don’t forget any of those essentials before you leave home or the office. PackPoint is available for Android, iPhone and iPad.

TripIt

TripIt organises all your accommodation, flights and bookings into a personalised travel itinerary, and provides you with weather information, maps and directions for how to get around when you arrive. While that may not sound like much at first, it’s a different story when you’re traveling and have to keep searching through your inbox for those important travel documents. Once you have downloaded the app, all you need to do is email these to a dedicated email address, and then TripIt will create a customized inventory for you. It’s a great one to have on your phone if you’re traveling anywhere over the holiday season, especially if you know you are going to have limited access to internet. TripIt is available on Android, iPhone and iPad.

Uber

Uber is great because it makes it really easy to order a car to travel almost anywhere. The app itself is very simple – after storing your credit card details, all you need to do is request a pickup, enter your location and where you would like to go to, and enjoy the ride. As your credit card is charged for your ride, you don’t need to spend any time hunting through your bags for cash or cards – you can simply exit the vehicle when you arrive at your destination. We also really like the real-time updates that let you know how far away your car is, meaning you have a good idea of whether you can linger over that coffee for a few more minutes or have a quick catch up with those friends you haven’t seen for years. Uber is available on Android, iPhone, iPad and from the Windows Store.

Twitter

You may think that Twitter is a strange choice for an app that could help you out over the holidays, but what many people don’t realise is it’s actually a great search tool. Searching hashtags, keywords or even locations could turn up valuable information for something you need to find, and because there are millions of Twitter users, you can get the inside scoop on whether that coveted gift is still available or if there is a particular shopping mall you should avoid . And if you find someone who has similar interests to you, you can follow their account and they may even tweet something you think would make a great gift for that hard to buy for person. Twitter is available online, and on many different devices.

Pocket

Pocket is a great app for those of us who are too busy to read everything we find online that we’d like to, which let’s face it, is all of us. It lets you save articles, videos and other files to view later, including when you don’t have access to the internet. The team at Pocket also send a newsletter of some of the most popular articles of the week, so you’ll always have something interesting to read. Pocket is a great app to have handy over the holidays for any new recipes you’d like to try out, or for learning more about what not to eat for certain diets. Pocket is available on Android, iPhone, iPad, Kobo or online.

Spotify

Possibly the best feature of Spotify is the large number of playlists that have already been created, including those based upon different moods. Gone are the days when you had to spend hours putting together a playlist and agonising over whether your friends or family would approve of your music choices – now you just blame Spotify. And while you can never please everyone, there’s bound to be a party hits or 80s music playlist you can all appreciate. So when you’ve organised all the festivities, brought everyone together and the holiday meal is about to be served, open up Spotify and select a playlist – if the music is too offensive you can always change it using the app on your mobile. While the app is available for free, I’d recommend you sign up for a premium account, as this lets you save music to listen to when the app is offline and means you don’t have to listen to any advertising. Spotify is available on Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, online and for download on your computer.

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