Five Worst Travel Apps

I love apps, especially ones that help in my travel experience. However, although I’ve found a lot of great apps I have also found some complete duds. Here are some of the worst travel apps I’ve discovered – what are some of yours?

1. iWasHere – Sharing with your friends, family and other interested parties where you are and what you’re doing is the basic underpinning of good social media. Some apps have taken this to new levels and have created fun, interactive ways to share. Others have not. iWasHere is a creepy attempt to mimic the best of Four Square, failing at every turn. It’s not intuitive, difficult to use and seems to have been designed by someone with a penchant for stalking. This is a complete and utter waste of time and bandwidth.

INSTEAD download Four Square and check in like everyone else

 

2. Euro Railways – When I was traveling in Europe last year I looked high and low for a great app to help me with train schedules and maybe even bookings. I never found that miracle app, but I did find this fantastically mediocre app almost right away. I should’ve known by the description that this was a dud, but I nonetheless wasted valuable seconds of my life by downloading this disastrous bit of technology. Rather than actually design an app that is a self contained portal, this only links to PDF files that are stored in iBooks. That’s right, rather than create an app with information within the app, which is the purpose of an app, this only links to mediocre PDF files on the sizes of trains and what to expect on a night train. I don’t think I could have designed something less useful had I tried.

INSTEAD download RailEurope app

3.MetrO – I love public transportation and using it when I travel is a large part of the cultural experience. That’s why I’m always looking for new ways to help improve my experience and get me around town faster and more efficiently. I had high hopes for this app, but within seconds I knew it wasn’t for me. Unlike other apps with maps, this app assumes you know where you are and where you are going, lofty goals frankly for someone new to a city. Instead of allowing the user to peruse system diagrams for themselves, this takes all the joy out of exploration and distills it to a very matter of fact and pretty useless app.

INSTEAD download All Subway app

4. Visit Denver – I don’t want to pick on Denver, I love the city and exploring it was a lot of fun. When I was in town though for a professional conference, I had the chance to use their app and was sorely disappointed. There were five of us participating in a road rally in and around town, all travel writers and experts and all people who know what they’re doing when it comes to exploring a new destination. We were asked to use the Visit Denver app during the rally to check in at certain spots and to find new ones to discover. The app though is so complicated and burdensome that 1) half the group couldn’t figure it out and 2) those that did spent more time trying to jump through the various hoops to check in than actually enjoying the destination. If used as a simple way to find things to do in Denver I can see this app’s utility, but if you use it as a mimicry of Four Square, then you are only wasting your time.

INSTEAD use the Visit Denver app, just don’t waste your time with the check ins

 US Airways app

5. US Airways – US Airways is my airline of choice and I’m loyal to them whenever possible. That’s why I find it absolutely inconceivable that in 2012 this legacy airline doesn’t have an app at all, not even a bad one. I’m not sure, but they may be the only major airline in the United States and probably the world to offer nothing for those accessing information through mobile devices. Since more and more people are using their phones and tablets to get information than ever before, this is a colossal mistake of epic proportions. Even a bad app would be preferable at this point than not having one at all. As proof that I’m not alone in my belief that US Airways is woefully behind the times, every day LandLopers.com receives scores of hits from people searching for the nonexistent app, in the hopes that I may hold the secret to its location. Sadly, if this is how you found the site today I can only report that this is still a horrendous oversight that US Airways has not yet corrected.

INSTEAD download SkyTeam app

 

What are some travel apps you’ve found to be disappointing?

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By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.Also follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and

8 Responses

  1. Tom @ Waegook Tom

    US Airways doesn’t have an app? Seriously? Boo! I found a terrible one a while back which lets you know information about airports….but only about 100 of them and WELL over half in the US. Transiting in Dubai or Singapore? Well we don’t have info on that, but here’s gate numbers in Tulsa. It touted itself as “international”. Sigh.

    The Euro Railways one is terrible. At least it’s not like the one for the UK’s rails services, which charges you 10 pounds to download and access information on an app that you can get for free online…

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Have you tried the Point Inside app for airports? Also Gate Guru is good but haven’t checked out its international capabilities.

      And I echo the US Air sentiments. Crazy!

      Reply
  2. Curt

    I don’t use much in the way of travel apps. When I travel, I usually try to stay as unplugged as possible. Occasionally I even leave the smartphone home.

    I’m surprised you found an app creepier than Foursquare. Foursquare is awfully creepy itself!

    Reply
  3. Dave

    I disagree with you about MetrO. Admittedly I started using it back when it was a Palm app; it got me around London, Paris, Rome, and several other cities through the years. Even though then I was a neophyte traveler, it worked well for me; I even donated to the author because I felt it was worth it.

    Now that it’s on the iPhone, it still has the feel of the old Palm app, and none of the polish of most iOs apps. But it’s still very useful.

    Even though it hasn’t incorporated GPS, it does have a menu of most of the main areas and tourist spots for each city. It won’t necessarily get you to the nearest metro stop to start your journey, but once you’re there it gives you options for getting to your destination, including fastest time or fewest connections. It will also give the expected time of travel, and automatically adjusts the schedule it shows to the time of day and day of week.

    It doesn’t require a data connection to work. It’s updated weekly, and for some cities actually routes you around any current maintenance or construction. It has information for hundreds of cities all over the world, not just a limited subset of one area or city.

    And all of that for free.

    If I had stumbled upon it as an iPhone app, I’d probably be like you and dismiss it as not being up to snuff. But having actually used it back in the day when it was pretty new technology, I still have a soft spot in my heart for it.

    I’d ask you to take another look; maybe you still won’t be convinced. Thats fine. But I don’t think it in any way qualifies as one of the worst.

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Thanks for the MetrO defense! I think that I see it also though the eyes of an All Subway user, which is a great app. But I’ll definitely take another look.

      Reply
  4. Jeff

    I just got my first iPhone so this topic is timely for me. I checked out RailEurope on iTunes and it has the worst ratings I have ever seen – almost all saying it doesn’t work and is completely worthless. Not sure where the disconnect is here, any thoughts? I also saw the MetrO app listed as a Gizmodo top choice and its reviews are quite good though I haven’t been able to use it myself yet.

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      It’s better than Euro Railways but yes, I grant you it’s not terrific. There isn’t 1 great train app sadly. And MetrO seems to be a matter of preference. I started using AllSubway a long time ago and really swear by it. For me personally, MetrO just wasn’t as intuitive but that is absolutely a personal thing.

      Reply

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