Being a frequent traveler as well as a smartphone user since such devices came on the market, I have tried and used many many travel apps these past few years. Most of the hundred or so travel apps on my iphone have provided only temporary help or specific help on one or other aspect of a trip, but a few apps stand out from the crowd and have become indispensable in my travels. One app in particular warrants my full recommendation on my travel blog BonVoyageurs.com (I invite you to enter your email address on the home page and perhaps become the 1,000th follower of the blog!).
Let me introduce you to Pocket Earth, by GeoMagik, which you can purchase on the ITunes store for less than $3. The authors describe it as “the ultimate travel tool—comprehensive worldwide street maps and travel guides even while you are offline”, and they are absolutely right. I encourage you to visit its website at https://pocketearth.com/ to learn all about its features and benefits, but let me give you my take on it.
The first key feature is that the app will download on your iphone the maps for all the regions or cities which you will visit on your trip so that you can access those detailed maps offline. This is important because I usually turn off the data features of my iphone while traveling internationally in order not to incur the exhorbitant data charges of my US cell phone service provider.
The second key feature of Pocket Earth is that you can save as favorites all the places you plan to stay at, go through or visit. For example, if I were to go to Barcelona in a few months, I would open the app and save Barcelona Airport as my first favorite, and then the hotel where I will stay at, etc… If you dont know exactly what you wish to visit, the Pocket Earth map will already have detailed travel guides and locations to suggest.
The third key feature of Pocket Earth is that you can easily calculate and save all the routes you will take during your trip. Whether it be the route from the airport to your hotel, or from your hotel to the restaurant you are planning to eat at, the app will give you the route and all the info you need (time, distance, …) for getting there and back whether by car, by public transportation or by foot. This is an amazingly easy and useful feature for navigating your way through a city that you don’t know very well. When you get into a cab driven by a guy who is himself a recently arrived immigrant, just open the app and you will see the route the taxi should be taking, with calculations of time and distance. The app is linked to gps so, if you turn on the data feature of your iphone, the app knows where you are and will tell you the route you should be taking and where you are along that route.
A fourth key feature of Pocket Earth is that you can link your iphone contacts to the app. This is extremely valuable because now, all you have to do is enter the hotel you will stay at in your contacts, and presto, your hotel will appear on the Pocket Earth map of your destination. If you enter in your contacts the hotels, restaurants, sights and other places which you will visit (and that is what I do), you will be able to organize your time and navigate the city almost like a local!
The Pocket Earth map has many more features of benefit to travelers, like links to thousands of travel guide sites and pages, etc… All I can suggest is that you take the plunge and fork out the $3 to buy the app; let me know what you think about it.
PS No, I have had no contact with the authors of Pocket Earth and am not getting any kickback or other consideration for making this recommendation.
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