Categorized | Etcetera

New travel tools let you create and carry custom itineraries for trip…

Posted on 07 June 2011

Many travelers are notorious over-planners. They’ll spend countless hours researching trips, then pack way more than they need and jam in activities by the hour throughout a trip.


A pair of new travel resources aims to make it easier on both ends. By merging travel guide content and itinerary-making tools, users can research a destination and create custom itineraries to take on the road. Digital itineraries also allow travelers to rejigger, rate and delete items on the fly, and filtering capabilities let users create trips based on specific tastes. Users can also share them with friends to solicit suggestions.


“(Most) travelers say their friends’ recommendations are the most trusted information,” says Joseph Chong, CEO of SpotWorld, a travel itinerary app that launched last month. “We heard this many times — ‘I’m going to Morocco, so e-mail me your itinerary.’ We want to get rid of e-mails and capture it on the mobile platform.”


We tried the SpotWorld app and website, and found them useful for quickly creating general tour itineraries.


For someone visiting Washington, D.C., for the first time, the tools provide all the usual monuments, museums and neighborhoods. Descriptions of the attractions were adequate. But at least for now, tourists looking for more granular, locals-only information will have to visit other sites.


SpotWorld and encourage you to post your itinerary on Facebook, with the idea that your friends can guide you to more in-the-know places.


Chong, of SpotWorld, says his app is designed so users can publish their itineraries publicly within the app, enabling others to find ones that match their ideal trip.


Here’s a closer look at each.

SpotWorld Overview: A free iPhone app for creating itineraries for 32 cities based on its travel-guide content and recommendations from social networks. Contains photos, audio readings and articles of 500,000 attractions worldwide. Users can also customize from existing itineraries or ask Facebook friends for tips.


Pros: Simple to use (click on an attraction to add to itinerary). Attractive photos from Flickr and users. Audio recordings are handy for on-the-go travelers. Ability to select nearby attractions from any site. Maps for determining distance from current location. Ability to rejigger items on itinerary.


Cons: Pre-existing itineraries are bare-bones. Needs more personalized itineraries from other users. No surprise suggestions. Some features aren’t useful for occasional users.


Takeaway: A handy tool for creating itineraries quickly and keeping them in the palm of your hand. Travelers will need to do more homework if touring beyond major attractions. Overview: A virtual travel planner that allows users to automatically generate an hour-by-hour itinerary based on a series of questions about the trip, such as dates, length of stay, theme, intensity (easygoing, moderate or vigorous) and luxury level.


Pros: Customizable (choose only museums for the day, for example). Shows directions and estimated travel time between stops. Includes photos, opening hours and descriptions from Wikipedia, TripAdvisor and Frommer’s. Clusters a day’s itinerary to minimize walking/driving from spot to spot. Issues hotel recommendations.


Cons: No true mobile format, though you can read the site on the phone. Only 20 cities available (four North American cities). No restaurant information. No hip, locals-only suggestions.


Takeaway: A fun way to start planning, but you’ll need to augment your research elsewhere.

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