Both Apple and Android smartphone markets are being flooded with applications for travellers. From rail system maps to backpacker planning, there is now an app for most situations.
Since our last BEST OF THE APPS, there's been a glut of new Android travel apps available.
From public transport planning to language translators, the Android market continues to grow. More Android apps are making the travel experience easier and lessening the need to pack paper maps and guidebooks.
ABERCROMBIE & KENT
Luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent has released an iPad travel app and mobile website allows travellers to explore and experience number of destinations through a series of images and videos.
The World of A&K app offers a series of experiences annotated with tabs that invite users to explore further into the destination. The tabs are divided into four categories which include Exotic Adventures, family Travel, Culture and History, and Nature and Wildlife.
By tapping on a tab the user is taken into the virtual experience and within the app are 26 60 to 90 second virtual journeys which take on a day-in-the-life guide designed to inspire travel to the destination.
The App also opens with an invitation from A&K founder Geoffrey Kent to “Explore the world with A&K.”
Included in the virtual destination experiences are: a hot-air balloon ride across Cappadocia, a ride on the waves off Antarctica and a safari trip on the Serengeti, among others.
Abercrombie & Kent Australia managing director Sujata Raman said new technology was changing the way people access and use information.
“Abercrombie & Kent was one of the first travel companies to recognize the power of the Internet," he said.
"We made destination content available online long before others, including suggested itineraries, weather charts, visa requirements and health information. The World of A&K for iPad is a phenomenal way for travellers to find inspiration for their next trip of a lifetime, find out about A&K News and Specials and to share their love of travel with family, friends and social networks."
The Hawai’i Tourism Authority (HTA) launched its first Smartphone application for the Festivals of Hawai’i, offering details for more than 100 events across the islands.
With festivals running year round the app will be instrumental in bringing visitors and locals together for the many events held across the islands; Kaua’i, Lana’i, O’ahu, Moloka’i, Maui and Hawai’i..
The app features the four most popular search categories; Hawaiian Arts and Music, Cuisine and sport, on the home page. Users can also select the ‘More option for a specific search category.
The app's extended categories include but are not limited to; Culture, food and wine events and outdoor activities.
Hawai'i Tourism Oceania Country Manager, Helen Williams said the app will help visitors and residents to become more involved in Hawaiian festivals “Festivals of Hawai’i are instrumental in bringing together both residents and visitors to celebrate cultures and traditions in Hawai’i.
They present travellers with a way to engage in unique island experiences and provide a taste of Hawaii’s rich cultural diversity to the world,” she said.
The App also features a ‘Near Me’ function which displays events closest to a user’s location. By selecting the ‘Directions’ function the App will pull up Google maps to enable a user to find directions to an event.
HTA tourism brand manager Michael Story said the App incorporates technology with simplicity to inform travellers and locals. “This App helps to simplify life for travellers who are looking for things to do in our islands. As technology evolves, we will continue to look for new and innovative ways to deliver information to Hawai’i residents and visitors alike,” he said.
The Festivals of Hawai’i app is available from iTunes or www.gohawaii.com/festivalsofhawaii.
The Singapore Tourism Board has launched a new YourSingapore App for iPhone and Android smartphones which will help travellers explore the island while on the go.
Developed with American Express, StarHub and Singapore Airlines the new App will give travellers the latest information about attractions, shopping deals and coming events. Featuring a ;location based service the App will display services, attractions and deals relevant to a travellers location while on the South East Asian island.
As well as being able to share experiences through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter travellers will have free data access when using the co-branded YourSingapore StarHub Preferred Tourist Prepaid card. The prepaid card will offer visitors tourist privileges such as free IDD 018 call to 18 destinations, free data access within the YourSingapore Guide network and free wireless surfing in Changi Airport and other hotspots around town.
The YourSingapore StarHub Preferred Tourist Prepaid card retails for $15 and comes with $18 of credit. It is available for purchase at all StarHub shops, UOB Foreign Exchange Counters, TravelMania @ Orchard MRT and other exclusive partner outlets.
• Globetrotters looking for information about activities and attractions will enjoy the Viator app for iPad and iPhone which has information on thousands of tours and allows users to make bookings from their phone. E-vouchers and discounted deals are also available.
• Users of iPhone can access a Lonely Planet trivia game Globe Tripper testing their knowledge on a destination and sharing scores with friends. This is a great way to learn more about a destination and will help pass the time while waiting to depart.
• Smartphone GPS functions are an invaluable tool for travellers. The Back Country Navigator app makes use of the Android GPS, providing off-road topographic maps, aerial photos and road maps that can all be stored on the phone's SD card. Hikers can navigate trails without phone coverage and store GPS locations. The app can store previous routes and provides coloured contour maps for off-road travellers. In the Mobile Atlas creator function, travellers can create maps based on NASA worldwide landsat data and compare it to existing maps from a number of countries.
• Travellers heading to London can save money on taxi fares, thanks to the Pubtran London app which uses a neat and easy interface screen to provide a journey planner, tube map and tube status information. User reviews point to this one as a favourite among London residents.
• Foreign language phrase books take up space and searching them on the go can be a slow, tedious process. Translate It solves these problems by offering 50 languages to translate a phrase. English, Spanish, French, German and Japanese are all available in this tool which makes communication a whole lot easier.
• Family can track a loved one's road trip on the Trip Journal Android app. Features include the displayed measure of altitude, latitude and longitude. The graphics are fun with an Indiana Jones treasure map look on the screens and the social networking features enable updates and communication with friends while on the road.
• The Android Backpack Planner comes with more than 250 backpack items that can be checked, unchecked and saved for future travels so that travellers never forget to bring anything.
Details: All the listed apps are currently available on the Android Market and the Apple Store.