In my original post featuring the top iPad Travel Planning Apps, I emphasized the importance of apps that inspire and bring to life new destinations that may be completely unfamiliar to the reader. Little did I realize that the minds over at National Geographic were putting the finishing touches on one of the best wanderlust apps to be released on the iPad.
Simply said, the National Geographic 50 Places of a Lifetime app is a work of art. The editors somehow managed to winnow down the most amazing places in the world to a mere fifty, a feat I do not envy. They then divided these amazing locales into broad groups: Urban Spaces, Wild Spaces, Paradise Found, Country Unbound and World Wonders.
It’s National Geographic, so stunning photography is a given, but even they managed to exceed their normal high standards. Even though I have visited several of the destinations featured, the photos used to represent them were so captivating, I felt like I was visiting them for the first time.
Lest you think it’s just a nice picture book with no substance, think again. For each of the fifty locations, National Geographic somehow managed to get some of the best writers and regional experts to write about that spot. Bill Bryson authors the Australian Outback piece and Queen Noor of Jordan penned the Petra article. It really is a treat to sit back in a comfy chair and learn about some of the most exciting places in the world from the people who know them best.
The app itself is multimedia, utilizing video and unique 360 degree photo montages. There are some technical problems, whenever I tried to access the interactive 360 view, the app would crash. I’m sure that this will be fixed in future updates, but at the moment it is fairly annoying.
In spite of this minor flaw, the app, book really, is a treat for anyone regardless of their level of travel experience. The destinations are well chosen and their descriptions are some of the best ever penned. It doesn’t get much better than this, and all for less than the cost of a single magazine.