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Hermione Way works with TrekkSoft – a SaaS solution for tours and activity providers, enabling anyone to set up a tour company in under 10 minutes. Robert Scoble is startup liaison officer for Rackspace.
Airbnb, Tripit, HotelTonight and Expedia have all done their bit for transforming the travel industry, and with Scotland’s Skyscanner having been given a whopping $800 million valuation recently, technology will no doubt continue to change our travel experience for the better.
Now there’s a new generation of apps and startups who are making waves in the travel industry, here are some of our favorites.
Once you’ve sorted the logistics for your travel, you’ve arrived at your destination and are having the time of your life, the most important part is to share your experiences with your friends via the Internet. Maptia is a new way of sharing your stories around plotting your experience on a map. Think Medium meets Facebook for travel, Maptia creates a marketplace for travel where you can search for places based on other people’s personal experience in that place.
Most of us already share our travel experiences on Facebook or Twitter but Maptia is more focused around the context of that story in the place it happened. Most stories have a ‘somewhere’, and that somewhere in each of our stories is important. Places are like people and we have wonderfully complex relationships with them.
With this in mind, each story added to Maptia is set in a particular location, and each post within it has an even more specific location still. This enables you to create a simple, beautiful map of the place or places that grace the stage on which your life is played out.
My personal goal is to visit every country by the time I’m on my deathbed. Been is an app with easy and beautiful UX where you keep track of countries and US states you’ve visited by touch clicking places from the scroll down list. The app visualizes the visited countries both as a list, along with a ratio for each continent, and as a world map. The list is synced across devices using iCloud. The map can be shared on social networks and by email using the standard iOS sharing functionality.
Facebook has many apps here you can keep track of the places you’ve traveled to, but none with a more beautiful interface and simple but simple design like Been.
3. SeatGuru by TripAdvisor
Frequent flyer Matthew Daimler launched SeatGuru.com with a single color-coded interactive airplane seating chart. Having experienced firsthand the vast differences between airline seats, he was determined to collect this useful information and share it with other travellers.
You can search flights ‘with comfort included’ which means results will come back with the amenities provided and leg room. The search results will also come back with a rating on the flight overall. Whilst travel app Hipmunk also produces results based on comfort, the detail is unmatched on SeatGuru.
4. Lemon Wallet
It’s happened to most of us when travelling at some stage; you’ve lost your wallet or had credit cards stolen. Worry no more with Lemon Wallet. The app allows you to store a digital copy of all of your cards ID, insurance, loyalty and payment cards.
What began as a simple backup of the physical wallet has evolved into a platform giving users the ability to access real time account balances and fraud alerts, share transactional information across platforms and even checkout of apps with one tap.
To store a card, all you have to do is take a picture of the various cards in the wallet – the data input is automatic.
This is a beautifully designed app for event discovery and because of the ‘nearby’ search option accessing events based on your location, you will never be stuck with nothing to do on your city break. Upon opening the app the home page will list gigs across all genres based on the current date. The gigs or event will show the price in red and green if the event is free.
You can also search for a specific artist or search by type of event; sporting, music, dance. Once you have found an event you like, you can also invite friends by posting the event on your friend’s social networks and buy tickets through the app.
Sometimes you want to do the things you do at home whilst travelling. A hair cut, a yoga class, a trip to the dentist, but knowing when these services have vacant appointments takes a lot of time searching around on Google. Nobody got time for that! Now you can make appointments on your own time when you travel with MyTime. The platform has thousands of merchants on their site where you can see real-time data when they have available appointments.
Merchants can choose two options to get their business on the platform, the first is free where you can build a business profile, and list your services on MyTime. If you’re a merchant wanting the platform to promote your services, MyTime keeps 2/5 of the revenue collected on the first booking from a new client. On other bookings MyTime charges a 3% fee to cover credit card processing fees and doesn’t charge for existing clients.
The ‘Wolfram Alpha of travel’, Desti’s iPad app helps you find exactly what you’re looking for when planning a trip by simply asking for it. Desti uses artificial intelligence to sift through thousands of places, find you the best matches and explain the relevance. For example if you can search for a hotel that also has kids care or a hotel with a jacuzzi in Napa.
Just like SeatGuru provides in-depth data about flights, Desti not only provides in-depth data about hotels but can recognise the context of that search. For example, you can search a romantic hotel to take your wife and the results will show options of hotels that provide massages for two or dinner on the beach for two. The startup emerged from the same research institute, SRI International, as Siri.
Here’s Robert’s interview with Desti from earlier this year:
Tripomatic allows you to create a complex travel plan based on a map with data about each sight and what other sightseeing trips are near it. You can find tours and activities en route to main destinations you want to see. The in-browser app will show you your destinations on your map and show you other services like accommodation nearby all based on proximity to the activities you’ve already scheduled.
You can hover over different tourist destinations and add them to day one or day seven of your itinerary. Once complete you can save or print you itinerary, definitely one for the planners amongst you.
Know your airport inside out. This app gives you in-depth data about any airport in the world including what shops exist, flight arrivals and departure and what services the airport offers.
If you have a flight with a number of stopovers you can input your flight number and the app will show you all the airports you are stopping at and the shops and services the exists in those airports. Want to buy 50 Shades Of Grey when you get to Singapore? FlySmart will tell you where to find the bookstores at the airport.
From the world’s most beautiful swimming pools to the Golden Gate Bridge. This app shows you places in 360-degree high quality panoramas which makes you feel like you are experiencing them first hand and can be a tourist from the comfort of your living room.
Most of the panoramas are shot with a DSLR camera so they are high quality on the desktop, but now in less than 60 seconds, can now create, label and submit your own 360-degree panorama with the free TourWrist iOS app.
Still in closed private beta but from what we understand this startup hailing from New York is a travel discovery app which connects you with a local agent ,like a secret agent for travel who will show you all the city’s hidden gems from a local’s perspective.Want to know where all the hipsters drink coffee in NYC or where the best vintage shops are? Now through a local agent you can find out. The app also has curated lists from locals like the Hudson River Walk or where to experience the best Village cigars.
Every list is handpicked by local experts that live in New York. You can discover recommended places tagged with a vibe that makes it easier for you to discover / find spots based on your mood. Save an entire list or create your own list with your favorite places. The app allows you to share your list with your friends and fellow travelers.
12. The Trip Tribe
Travelling with someone who wants to spend every day at the beach when you want to go out and explore or take an exciting tour is an absolute nightmare. Who you travel with can make or break your experience. When you log into The Trip Tribe’s platform you create a social profile, then you can search trips and see who else on their platform is going and what their social profile is like.
The site’s trips include island-hopping in the Caribbean; jetting to the world’s great festivals; riding with wildlife on a safari in Africa; diving the Great Barrier Reef and the Galapagos; hitting the top ski resorts, and practicing yoga in an iconic setting.
Image credit: Triff / Shutterstock