Developer: Stay.com
Price: Free
Version: 2.2.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★½
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Although summer travel is winding down due to kids going back to school, there are still families who make plans for fall vacations since prices tend to fall dramatically. Traveling to a big city is fun and exciting, but it’s often confusing when vacationers have no idea where to find all the hot spots. Instead of carrying around a giant travel guide or downloading a travel app that racks up roaming charges, consider downloading City Guides, Offline Maps.

The newest app from Stay.com is packed with over 120 top destinations in the world and includes such locations as Paris, Chicago, Dublin, San Diego and New York City. It’s designed for users to discover all the great places without increasing the monthly mobile phone bill.

Before users can browse through all the offline guides, they’ll need to either sign in with Facebook or register with the app itself. After users are logged in, it’s time to find a destination. Each guide includes expert advice from Stay.com as well as partner sites, vector-based maps, information from fellow travelers and friends as well as the ability for users to add their own preferences.

Adding destinations and hotspots is simple with the Suggestions feature. This section makes it possible for users to make a New Guide and then Email or Tweet to friends to get ideas and suggestions about places to visit. Those who have added their Facebook account can even see what friends have visited that particular location as well as the option to view the same guide when traveling together.

Other key features include the ability to book reservations at restaurants and hotels, reviews about destinations, and auto-sync with Wi-Fi connections. When it’s time to travel, make the city available offline by tapping on the purple download city button. It doesn’t take long to download nor does it take up much space on the iPhone.

The app looks well-polished and it’s easy to navigate. The only issue I had was that it did crash a couple of times. I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t connect my Facebook account when tapping on all the features or if it’s just a bug that needs worked out. Also, the one area of improvement that would greatly benefit this app is the option to upload photos to the city guides.

City Guides, Offline Maps is the ideal app for anyone traveling now or in the distant future. It has all the top destinations in the world’s most interesting cities, it lets users add personal places, it offers downloadable guides and maps and the app is completely free. I recommend that anyone who has plans to travel soon check it out today. It’s definitely worth adding to the app collection.

Posted in: iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews, Travel

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