It's the middle of summer and many people are enjoying themselves somewhere far away from their offices as we speak. You might be wondering – why are we reviewing travel planning apps now?
Well, it's never too early to start preparing for your next year's vacation or planning an upcoming winter break. Maybe you're like me and you just love to look at beautiful photos of different places around the world and imagine you'll visit them soon.
As any experienced traveler can confirm, there are many travel apps in existence. Most of them are very similar in approach to travel planning and in features they offer. The originality of a travel app is usually found in the finest details, or in minor yet fantastic functions that make the app stand out from the rest. Minube and Trover are two such apps, and here we'll show you why.
Minube is all about information – this app will make sure you have the right kind of knowledge about your next destination. Minube is also about you, and its search function focuses on your desires and needs, helping you tailor a perfect holiday.
Locations in Minube's search are categorized by type of activity (“Have an adventure”, “Discover a new city”...) and presented as attractive photos. Click on a photo and you will reach a separate page for each location where you can read more about accommodation, restaurants, sightseeing spots and transport. Accommodation search is highly customizable and can be a really valuable resource when you decide it's time for booking.
Every location page has a “Things to see” tab, which is pretty self-explanatory. What's interesting about this feature, though, is the fact that it's completely crowdsourced, meaning that all the photos and descriptions of destinations are provided by people who have been there. Their ratings of restaurants, museums and hotels can help you save money and better manage your time, which I'm sure you'll appreciate, especially if your vacation is short.
Minube also has a funny little feature called The Drunken Translator which will help you understand the descriptions written in a language you don't speak. Indeed, the translations are far from sober, but if you're just looking for some general impressions of a place, they might prove useful.
Of course, you don't have to search for a particular place – Minube also lets you explore whole regions and countries, providing you with a map and links to photos and videos made by users. You can also access other people's travel guides and plans if you need that extra ounce of inspiration. The search function supports two modes: descriptive and visual, so you can toggle them depending on your needs.
I mentioned travel guides, and they are probably the coolest feature of Minube. You can take them wherever you go, either using Minube's mobile apps (available for iPhone and Android) or download them in PDF. It's also possible to create your own travel guides by selecting custom content, but for this you will need a Minube account.
When you create an account, you can make lists of places you've visited, upload photos and leave ratings and reviews. Other users can follow you and like your reviews, and you can return the favor.
Honestly, I could spend hours browsing Minube, admiring the photos and learning about foreign cultures through other travelers' descriptions. It's an all-inclusive app that makes travel planning essentials easily accessible from every part of its interface.
Trover aims to show you “the best of everywhere” in a way familiar to anyone who's ever used Pinterest. Basically, it feels and functions like a Pinterest for travelers, and the emphasis on the social component is much stronger than in Minube.
The small detail that makes Trover charming is visible right on the start page. Trover lists places based on their distance from your current location, starting from the closest to those across the ocean. This is a great way to discover new destinations; you might not have known they exist, even though they're nearby!
Trover is based on the idea that discovery fuels the desire to travel, and it helps you visually discover as much as you can about the place you're going to visit. Discoveries are in fact photos – you simply take a photo of something, tag it appropriately and share it on Trover.
Your lists and discoveries appear on your profile page. Other people can comment on your discoveries, “thank” you for them (this is just another name for “love” or “like”) and add them to your lists. Lists are collections of discoveries – essentially, photo albums – which Trover users can follow to stay up to date with your travels.
A travel app wouldn't be particularly practical if it wasn't portable. Trover's got this covered thanks to its mobile apps for both Android and iOS. Apart from that, Trover makes it possible to embed widgets on your blog or website and display all the amazing memories you've collected along the way.
As always, I like to come up with alternative purposes for every app, so I think Minube and Trover could be great platforms for photographers and budding travel writers willing to share their work. They also provide an easy way to build connections with other travelers or maybe even find travel buddies for your next adventure.
Ivana Isadora Devcic is a freelance writer, copyeditor and translator fluent in English, Swedish, Croatian and Norwegian. She's a Linux user and KDE fan interested in web design, productivity and personal branding. Ivana tweets about the world around her as @skadinna.