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Virgin Limted Edition and Gourmet Pixel have just released an iPad app for guests staying at Richard Branson's private game reserve. The game reserve borders on Kruger National Park in South Africa's Mpumalanga province and, while the vast majority of us and our readers will probably never use this app or visit this location, we think that this use of the iPad as a concierge service is quite cool.
The app isn't available for download. The way it works is that, on arrival to their rooms, guests will find an iPad with the Virgin Limited Edition Ulusaba app already loaded on it. The guests can use the app to view the services available to them at the reserve, find information about the location, read individual messages from the lodge staff, send postcards, view itineraries, weather, interactive maps, games, and info on animals they may see. The app may also see future updates including things like ordering room service and booking activities.
This likely isn't the first app for Gourmet Pixel and VLE as they described it as the initial offering for the concept of a concierge service. We may soon be hearing about more iPad-based concierge systems for Virgin Limited Edition.
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
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.