TripVerse, an online itinerary viewer, is the latest app that wants to streamline the way you plan your travels.
For a traveler like myself who doesn't do much planning beforehand, it takes a lot for an app like this to impress me. Despite some flaws in its early stages of development, I think TripVerse may just be the app that changes the way I plan.
How It Works
Getting set up on TripVerse begins much like many other online travel apps. Create a profile. Find friends to follow. Discover other users' pre-planned trips. Begin to plan your own.
The design is simple enough that using the desktop version of TripVerse is pretty intuitive. There were some technical issues that came up from time to time, but even still I found it highly user-friendly.
Instructions pop up on the screen when using it for the first time to orient the user to its functionality, which means I don't have to guess blindly what to do next.
TripVerse makes creating an itinerary fun and simple. The first step is to create a trip; I'm traveling to Barcelona later this month, so I titled mine “Four Days in Barcelona.”
When adding my first trip, I was prompted to define the location; this auto-populated as soon as I began typing “Barcelona,” and my map automatically zeroed in on the city center. The app also pulled an image of my destination from Flickr, an unexpected feature that added a lot to the visual appeal.
Once I added my dates and any notes about the trip, it was time for the next step, adding activities.
This is where I feel like TripVerse shines. Once it knows your destination, a list of popular activities is pulled in directly from Foursquare.
The activities are grouped into categories including sights, art, outdoors, food, coffee, shopping, and nightlife; simply clicking on each activity will take you to Foursquare so you can read the descriptions and reviews left by other travelers or see exactly where it is on a map before deciding to add it to your itinerary.
Even though I had a number of ideas for my trip already, this feature opened up a whole world of possibilities to me.
I didn't have to search Google for “things to do in Barcelona;” instead, I had a ready-made list of options to choose from. In essence, the app picked up where my own ideas left off.
Because Foursquare supplies information like the address and opening hours of each attraction as well, I didn't have to search for it myself. And as soon I added one of these Foursquare activities to my itinerary, a pin instantly dropped onto my map.
I found this feature especially useful; this way, before deciding which day to do each activity, I could see where they were located relative to one another and group accordingly.
When I wanted to add my activities, I could do so easily. Even when all I had was the name of a place a friend had recommended, such as a restaurant or a park, I just had to begin typing. As long as it was listed on Foursquare, all the information I needed would auto-populate, saving me loads of time.
Initially, all activities are added to your “Bucket List;” once you have an idea of when you want to do them, you simply drag it to a day in your itinerary.
Once you're satisfied with the way your trip looks, you need to download the mobile app so you'll be able to view it offline.
The mobile app also allows you to add and edit your itinerary when connected to Wi-Fi, but to view it while traveling, you must choose the option to download.
Creating trips on the mobile app works in exactly the same way as the desktop version though I ran into more glitches while using it on my iPhone and eventually switched back to my computer.
Finally, you can add as many more trips as you like. Once I had enough ideas for Barcelona, I began browsing options for a few other destinations I hadn't had time to research just yet and saved a few more activities.
You can also browse complete itineraries that other users have created. You can search by destination, activity, tags, or length of your trip (day trip, less than a week, or greater than a week).
While it didn't seem likely that anyone else's itinerary would match my tastes exactly, I can see how this feature could be useful in helping you come up with new ideas.
Room for Improvement
As of now, TripVerse has a number of technical issues that limit its usefulness.
For example, I had trouble on several occasions dragging my activities from one day to the next—they remained in my “Bucket List” instead of organized neatly by day.
When creating my profile, it seemed the only way to add an image was to have a source URL; I couldn't simply upload a JPEG file from my computer as I would have liked, and as I imagine would be easiest for most users. Once I'd added information to my profile, the formatting was such that my photo and words overlapped.
Additionally, the desktop and mobile versions of the app do not quite match up. Profile options appeared on my mobile app such as “Passport” and “Frequent Flyer #” which I could neither edit on the mobile app nor locate on the desktop version.
The desktop version seemed to hold most of the functionality while the mobile app seemed more appropriate (at this point) for taking your itinerary with you once it's already been created.
While there may be some issues with TripVerse at the present moment, I liked the concept behind it and can see the potential for it to be a very powerful trip planning tool.
By connecting directly to Foursquare, it eliminated the biggest complaint I had about the last such trip planning app I used (having to research extensively on my own before creating my trips).
I loved that I didn't need to toggle between Google and TripVerse to plan out my days; having everything easily accessible is a major advantage.
The design is sleek and simple, and as far as functionality is concerned, I don't see many limitations. As soon as the technical issues are resolved, I would happily return to TripVerse to plan my travels.
This review was brought to you in partnership with TripVerse; all opinions are my own.