The Daily App: Tripeze -- Add Adventure to Your Vacation
Vacation planning can be complicated. A few apps can help you organize the logistics -- from handling airport itineraries to finding activities to do when you arrive -- but when it comes to the nitty-gritty, most people still consult travel books and websites.
Enter "Tripeze." The app is bringing sight-seeing, places to stay and things to eat to your smartphone, helping you make the most of your time and save your energy when you arrive at your destination.
What's the App?
Created by magazine Travel + Leisure, Tripeze is available for free on iOS devices -- with an Android version reportedly coming later this year. The program has two functions: it gives you access to nearly 200 itineraries of some of the world's most popular destinations, and when you return, it helps you track, share and record your trip to share plans and images with friends and family.
If you're like most people, you'll be attracted to the travel suggestions feature, since it leverages Travel + Leisure's considerable knowledge base. You can choose the kind of activities you want to do -- by specific area or activity. So whether you're looking to dine by candlelight at a Napa Valley vineyard or rappel off a cliff somewhere in Colorado, the app will return a list of nearby activities, along with related suggestions, tips and information.
It can also pinpoint your location and offer suggestions as well if you're at a loss of what to do in an unfamiliar place, returning itineraries based on nearby places. After you pick, it'll add that itinerary to a personal "map," which allows you to access the details in both list and maps formats.
Tripeze has thousands of trips available to browse. The itineraries are diverse, so you'll be able to find that hole-in-the-wall backpacking adventure, savory barbeque pit in the South, or luxurious European excursion. And with Travel + Leisure's elegant design and inspiring photography, it's also perfect for travel-related daydreaming.
A lot of apps do that, but Tripeze lets you add your own trip to the information base with its ability to log and record your itineraries. In addition to joining the larger Travel + Leisure community, you can also share on Facebook and Twitter. It's useful as a kind of travel diary, so you can keep track of places you've visited or stumbled upon off the beaten path. The journal and community aspects of the app aren't as developed, but they're implemented well enough for basic usage.
You'll Want It If...
With its diversity of itineraries, the app caters to all kinds of travelers, ranging from the adventuring backpacker to the leisurely elite, or those who merely dream of getting away from it all -- there's something for everyone thanks to its connection to a well-storied travel publication. Still, the app has room to grow with a bigger choice of travel suggestions. But it shows promise if the community and slate of user-suggested itineraries expands.
It's Not My Thing -- What Else Ya Got?
Tripeze requires GPS and a judicious use of the road, so power-sapping smartphones, beware -- you don't want to find yourself stranded in the wild without any juice on the iPhone. And as convenient as the app is, it's not yet a replacement for a Fodor or Lonely Planet travel book -- there isn't yet a lot of depth with the information presented.
The broad audience also sacrifices depth for breadth, and if you have more specialized travel needs, you'll do better to seek out Lonely Planet's series of apps, which offer specialized on-the-go and at-your-fingertips information on specific cities, geared towards travelers seeking maximum enjoyment and minimum cost. But the Lonely Planet apps have been known to be buggy, and eat up large amounts of storage.
The truth is, while travel apps are flourishing and taking full advantage of technology, those that aim to replace -- or just supplement -- guidebooks are still a nascent sector of the market. Leading players don't quite marry the depth of their real-world books with the features, ease and functionality of mobile.
One option, of course, is to download the e-book format of famous guidebooks, but then you'd miss out on key mapping, tracking and note-taking features on the apps. And to just rely on the app means missing out on the richness of knowing the background of the culture and destination -- or just stumbling upon those nooks and crannies that make traveling such a mind-opening experience.
There's still room for travel guide apps to really make their mark in the digital age, but in the meantime, they make a nice supplement to a dog-earned and marked-up book. ♦
Categories: The Daily App | Travel