Travelling internationally can be complicated, and visiting a foreign city without doing some research is probably a bad idea. But why force yourself to do all the work when plenty of travel guides have already done the legwork for you? That’s the idea behind Smart Travelling Guides, which boast that they aim to “make the experience of worldwide travel more rewarding, less mediocre, and easier to navigate.”
Smart Travelling Guides provide recommendations for food, culture, nightlife, hotels, and shops. Trumpeting that it can find the “best places in town,” the app displays pictures of the place in question, an upbeat description, and finally provides a map. With more than 5,000 hand-picked recommendations, Smart Travelling Guides claims to provide a unique database of great experiences, from spectacular cups of coffee and delicious meals to luxurious hotels.
For the first seven days, the app permits access to all cities at no charge; afterwards, however, each city’s “guide” must be purchased. The app currently supports the following cities:
Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Budapest, Dublin, Florence, Hamburg, Istanbul, Copenhagen, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Marseille, Miami, Milan, Munich, Naples, New York, Nice, Palma, Paris, Prague, Rome, Salzburg, San Francisco, Stockholm, Valencia, Venice, Vienna, and Zürich.
The app’s database also provides information on how other users have rated a place. Making use of the iPhone’s hardware, the app can find places based on your current location. The travel guides also stay up-to-date thanks to online synchronization with Smart Travelling’s online database. (Such updates come at no extra charge.) As another ease-of-use bonus, users can also download content for offline access.
So, Smart Travelling Guides provides a great resource of select restaurants, hotels, shops, and more for travelers looking to take advantage of sightseeing in a new city. Next time you’re in Istanbul or Venice, perhaps Smart Travelling Guides will be of use!
Smart Travelling Guides can be downloaded as a free app, with extra “guides” unlockable via in-app purchase.
Who knows the most about an area? Tourist spot or otherwise? No, it’s not the travel guide writer. It’s actually the local person. Local knowledge is worth countless travel books and it’s nowhere near as easy to get hold of as people would like. Fortunately there’s an app out there that could well bridge the gap. It’s called SpotWorld and it’s a free app that combines social networking functionality and the humble travel guide.
Users simply choose from a variety of destinations or tap on Spots Near Me and there’s frequently a wealth of relevant information within easy grasp. All manners of different bits and pieces pop up. For instance, where I live, the nearby bus station was listed but also numerous castles near to me. Each entry coming up with a photo, a brief overview and the ability to add further information.
In bigger cities than mine, this app really comes into its own. Users can easily see interesting sights near them that might not neccessarily feature in travel guides. Plus there’s always personal experiences to consult such as a quick note about the standard of food in a nearby eatery or specific exhibits that are unmissable in the local museum.
The beauty is that everything is so welcoming to new users. They can simply rate the places they’ve visited or add their own tip. Even new photos can be added if the user wishes to do so.
When exploring a large area, there’s also the ability to create itineraries which can then be shared with the rest of the community, creating a great tour guide feature.
SpotWorld is a free app but there is some premium content available such as sets of hundreds of articles and audio readings from the locals of San Francisco and New York City. Hopefully more will be forthcoming for other major cities.
Travel apps offer a dual purpose. If you’re travelling to the chosen area, you can consult them at every turn, helping you along the way. If you’re broke, such as I am at the moment, you can stare at the pretty pictures and dream of your next holiday. Earl Steinbicker, writer of guidebooks for over 25 years, brings you his guide to Vienna in the form of Waltzing Through Vienna. Hopefully it’ll cover these two purposes rather well.
It takes you on one of 12 DIY tours of discovery, giving you step by step instructions to ensure you get to see the full route. Essentially, it’s aiming to be a tour guide but a tour guide that you can control to an extent. Plus it’s pretty darn hard to find a tour guide willing to work for $2.99!
Each location comes with a full description, links to its website, opening hours and prices. Descriptions of cafes and restaurants look to be particularly useful thanks to offering rough prices and a brief description of what kind of food is served.
If you don’t fancy following a set route, you can always look up individual places which is a neat touch. Plus you don’t have to worry about data charges as the app only needs an internet connection if you want to load up one of the website links.
While I can’t say I’ve tested Waltzing Through Vienna in Vienna itself, it certainly looks pretty appealing. Let us know if you head off to Vienna and give this a shot. For only $2.99 it looks pretty good.
Navigation has just got a bit easier as TomTom has announced that it has released version 1.6 of its GPS app. The new update brings Map Share technology to your iPhone, which allows users to easily alter and update their own personal maps, as well as instantly download new maps with updated information approved by TomTom.
“We are pleased to bring TomTom’s exclusive Map Share technology already enjoyed by millions of TomTom GPS users everyday to our iPhone App,” said Tom Murray, senior vice president of market development for TomTom Inc. “With the addition of Map Share, TomTom App users will get free, verified updates via Map Share anytime on top of the most accurate map available on-board.”
The basic idea behind Map Share is that it allows users to instantly know about any changes in road conditions in between major map updates. So if a road is closed off or the lane structure changes, users with Map Share can download the information immediately, instead of continuing to rely on outdated maps until the next major map upgrade arrives. The hope is that access to this technology will lead to fewer lost and confused drivers who are forced to rely on inaccurate information when they’re out and about. The app will update automatically every week, or can also be manually updated on-demand by owners.
It’s particularly nice that the update is landing right now, as this marks a week when a lot of folks will be on the roads and, given the volatile nature of the weather this time of year, constantly in need of the most recent route information. Hopefully this new TomTom update will allow users to see road closures or other issues in advance and work their way around any potential problems.
TomTom also offers traffic updates separately, as an in-app purchase. Put the pieces all together and you can definitely go forth confident in the knowledge that you have all the travel info you could ever need right at your fingertips. Hooray for removing a little bit of the stress from holiday travel!
On top of a “completely revised user interface with an all-integrated leather interior” (that looks quite nice I might add), Where To? has been optimized for the iPhone 4, complete with the full retina display treatment, multitasking support, and built in SMS, so you don’t have to leave the app for any reason.
“We love the new iPhone 4 with its brilliant new display. Where To? 3.0 looks gorgeous on the new iPhone and we hope our users will love it as much as we do”, says Ortwin Gentz, FutureTap CEO.
The updates aren’t done though, “3.0 sets the foundation for a whole bunch of new features we‘ll be implementing over the course of the next months, the pipeline is full of new stuff, we’ll certainly not rest on our laurels.”
While there are hundreds of travel and city guide apps for iPhone, it looks like mTrip will blow them away with its unique spin on the traditional tour guide app.
While mTrip offers users the default sightseeing tips and direction tools for a location, it goes one step further helping users plan their trip itinerary. Better than that, the app can even create an itinerary for you based on your preferences, trip duration and accommodations. Daily schedules can be edited at the user’s discretion and the app is even intelligent enough to list attractions based on their opening hours and proximity to the user.
Once you arrive at your destination you can make use of augmented reality to see where sites are in relation to your current location as well as point out restaurants, bars, hotels and other points of interest. Travelers can also swap tips on locations via the app by adding notes and viewing those of others.
All of these features make mTrip a very useful and fully featured tool but its ability to function offline is the real jewel in its crown. Your itinerary can be customized and reworked without an internet connection and augmented reality also functions in the absence of a network. Pretty much the only feature that requires the internet is the fun little postcard tool that allows users to send messages to friends from their vacation via email or Facebook.
mTrip travel guides are currently available for London, Paris, Amsterdan, Berlin, Rome, Barcelona, New York, San Francisco and Chicago in a choice of five languages. Many more locations are also planned with more information available here.
If you’re heading to one of the above locations, tack another $5.99 on to the cost of your trip for the ultimate travel experience and do it quickly before the app returns to its regular price of $9.99
The project is centered around a series of locks at famous landmarks around New York, with several in each of the city’s five boroughs. In Manhattan, for example, keys can be found at Gracie Mansion or in Bryant Park. Specific instructions are provided for participants to get to the locks.
Perhaps more entertaining however, is how keys themselves are obtained. The artist has maintained the somewhat humanitarian concept of a key to the city by requiring people to show up with a friend or relative that they are recognizing with a key. The keys are thus given out as recognition for a job well done – maybe for a recent success or, even better, for humanitarian activity.
The companion iPhone application is one of Apple’s featured iPhone apps, and for good reason. The app, which does little more than get people involved with the project and point them in the direction of keys, is a catalyst for further participation in a smartly designed and good hearted attempt at getting New Yorkers to explore their city.
If you’re planning a vacation this summer or you’ve already booked, make sure you have a copy of Packing Pro installed on your iPhone to ensure perfect planning. Packing Pro, available on the App Store for $2.99, has been sitting pretty in the upper echelons of the App Store travel section for a year or so now and picked up a four and a half star rating in our review earlier this year.
As summer approaches, the app has been updated with some exciting new features to enhance the way you plan your packing. First up, the Master Catalog, that includes all of the items you are planning to pack, has been expanded by a whopping 60% and now includes over 800 items. If you can’t find something on this list, you’re probably not meant to be packing it! All of your items can now be found quicker within the app by using the new Smart Search tool and users can also now use the app in landscape mode to take advantage of the larger keyboard.
If you want to be sure of having everything in your suitcase when you reach your getaway destination this year, make sure you’re using Packing Pro.
Expedia has made a major update to its TripAssist app including all-new interactive features to make it easier for travelers reach their destinations.
A YouTube video has been posted explaining the new features using an example case study.
Some of the best enhancements include itinerary tracking, real-time SMS and email alerts, online booking, alternate flight options and SeatGuru seat maps. Ideal for those last minute alterations to your trip or unexpected ash clouds from Iceland.
From within the TripAssist app, users can now plan their route or follow that of others by looking up flights or checking an entire itinerary. A new horizontal view shows you where you should be at any given point in your trip including arrival and departure times, hotel and rental car locations.
The SeatGuru seat map feature allows you to find where you are seated on your flight to allow for any last minute changes.
The app is free and available now in the App Store.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Posted April 23rd, 2010 by Perrin Stewart Our Rating: :: SOLID TRAVEL COMPANION
GateGuru earns a permanent spot on my device as one of those apps that won't be used constantly, but when it IS needed serves as an invaluable travel companion. There are many apps with user-driven reviews, but GateGuru's focus on airport-specific amenities is a God-send.
Economists call it a positive externality, we just call it cool. Lonely Planet, the accredited travel and information guide, is offering thirteen of its city guides for free on the App Store due to the Icelandic volcano. The applications, which offer you offline maps, geo-coded points of interest and location-based navigation, usually cost between $10 and $15. Hurry, the offer ends on 22nd April and we can be pretty sure that it won’t happen again soon. Then again, none of us are volcanologists.
Update 8/20/2009: Aha sent us a note to let us know that in addition to SF, LA, and San Diego, the app also now works in DC, Dallas, Seattle, San Antonio, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach. More cities means more venting!
Aha has launched a rather nice traffic monitoring app for the iPhone. Finally an app with a well thought out user interface for distracted drivers. Large, clear buttons, easy to read and understand.
Aha allows you to see at a glance the travel times for your usual routes allowing you to quickly pick the best option. In addition, if you are in need of a quick caffeine hit, you can see nearby coffee shops and gas stations as you travel.
Aha also includes some interesting voice features. You can report on traffic incidents near you and listen to reports from other users and from a robot reading all of the traffic reports. There’s also a room you can listen and publish voice messages bitching about traffic and bad drivers. A welcome vent when stuck in traffic. Bitching about bad drivers, now there’s an app for that.
Aha is available now and it’s free. It currently covers the San Francisco, LA, and San Diego areas.
Accuterra maps include some interesting features you won’t find in Google Maps. For one, you can use them offline. That is huge if you are and enjoy going on hikes. Anyone who has ever gone to a National Park knows that the cell phone coverage is bad and you’re lucky if you can get data service at all. All levels of zoom of the topographic maps are available instantly.
There’s something very satisfying about zooming in and out, and scrolling around all without waiting for the images to load. It is completely instant. Fantastic.
Other great features include recording your tracks, creating walking tours (combinations of your tracks and photos), mark waypoints and points of interest, save and share your trails, and view a profile of a hike to gauge the elevation changes.
Here’s a quick introduction to the app from the developers.
OS 3.0 In-App Purchasing
Versions of the maps updated for OS 3.0 will also include some great in-app purchasing functionality. You’ll be able to buy small map regions for areas you are visiting for as little as $0.99. Think of a trip to Lake Tahoe and the ability to add the detailed map for that area with just a couple touches. Should be very powerful. The versions that take advantage of OS 3.0 should be hitting the app store soon.
Currently there are two free versions available in the app store. These include the Bay Area and Yosemite example applications.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Posted February 26th, 2009 by Gary Lucero Our Rating: :: RECOMMENDED
Harvest Time Tracker for iPhone is just one piece of the puzzle. It is used in conjunction with Harvest, the online subscription-based time tracking and invoicing system. While this app allows you to track time for the projects you are working on, management, invoicing, and expense tracking of those projects are handled by the online system.