Before even considering which hotel, airline or sights you want to see, you first need to be inspired. Daydreaming about travel isn’t just my favorite pastime, most people spend at least a few moments each day thinking wistfully either about vacations of years past, or trips on the horizon. Whether you’re having a hard time deciding on your next travel destination, or if you just love dreaming about future travel, here are my top five iPad apps for the travel dreamer in all of us.
Apps are listed in no particular order and any associated fees were current at time of publication.
TRVL Magazine - There’s nothing better than the combination of brilliantly written travel narrative along with stunning photos. This iPad only travel magazine combines the two in a way that engages as well as stimulates. Not only is it one of the best mobile travel magazines available, but it’s free. I’m not sure how the great minds over at TRVL have accomplished this remarkable feat, but it’s to our definite advantage. There are currently more than twenty issues available, but more are constantly added. This is one of the best, and cheapest, ways to assuage some of that pesky wanderlust and get your fix of travel porn.
Intercontinental Hotels Group Concierge Insider Guides – Without a doubt, the best hotel app on the market is the one produced by InterContinental. The Concierge app, one of the few hotel apps also for the iPad, is truly a work of art. The user friendly interface allows the visitor to select a hotel and then learn about all the various activities in that city, as delivered by the hotel’s concierge. The video inclusion is seamless and not choppy like some other apps. Each city profile includes everything you need to know before planning a trip from restaurants to daily itineraries. The app is a true pleasure to use and takes travel day dreaming to an entirely new level. InterContinental truly understands that by promoting a vacation destination, they are in turn encouraging people to visit their properties. Well done InterContinental, well done.
Fotopedia Heritage - This is the ultimate app for anyone who loves great travel photography, which is probably just about everyone. The app does a lot. First, the designers partnered with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and together they share thousands of stunning photos featuring every world heritage site in the world. More than just a photo album, the user can also download photos to use as wallpaper, save favorites for travel planning and share the best photos via a variety of social media. The app also includes information about each location from both UNESCO and Wikipedia, creating a portable travel encyclopedia of the best sites in the world.
This amazing app is currently free, so hurry and download it right away.
Conde Nast Traveler: Cruise Finder HD - As long as you’re ok with the premise that this app ultimately wants you to buy a cruise, then you’ll love it. Even if you have absolutely no interest in a cruise, this unique app is a lot of fun. The interactive map of the world allows the user to look at various ports of call, select specific cruise lines and ships and learn more about the vessels. The Conde Nast Traveler app also includes customer ratings and key details, like the cost of WiFi, number of restaurants and beautiful photos. If you do happen to get the travel bug while exploring the map, there is an easy to use interface with both the cruise line websites as well as Bing Travel.
National Geographic World Atlas HD – At the heart of everyone’s travel desires is the simple map. Globes, maps and atlases have been fueling the daydreams of explorers for generations, and sometimes it’s best to go back to basics. Not surprisingly, one of the best map apps available was designed by the fine folks over at National Geographic, the gold standard of travel writing and photography. NatGeo has taken their collection of maps and created this interactive globe, allowing the user to explore the world at their leisure. The detail is extraordinary, down to the smallest of roads just about anywhere on the planet. This app helps recapture the child-like wonder that only exploring the world can offer.