The AFAR Mobile Travel App – Take 1

By Lakshmi:

AFAR is just everything a travel company/magazine should aspire to be.  Their content breathes and lives every travel adage you’ve ever heard.

“Get off the beaten track.” 

“Live the moment.”

“Experience life like a local.”

So, when AFAR announced an app, I couldn’t rush any quicker to download it.  Here are some initial reactions from a sample of 1.

The Awesomeness! 

Just like its print publication, the AFAR app opens with beautiful, inviting pictures that beckon you to explore a variety of locations through their local expert curated guides.  For the first option that I clicked, “Big Day Out In Singapore”, it gave me 9 options.  Each of the choices was brief, telling me what to do quickly, so I’ll have more time to enjoy the experience rather than spend time reading.  I’m not sure how the guides are picked, but there is an assortment of locales that you can explore for totally enticing eye candy!

Moving to the Highlights section brings you to another pictorially engaging area populated with interesting architecture (Zaha Hadid), delicious dining (Kupu Maui) and more.  All displayed in the brief prose, stunning photos style that permeates the entire site.

A Nearby feature uses location technology to pinpoint interesting locales that you might want to explore close to you.  A Warning!  Don’t sit in a suburban area and wait to get excited…it yields nothing making you almost doubt your choice of living venue.  But when you are in a more “happening” or popular area, it comes up with choices.

On the Awesomeness factor, the app rocks for being both practical and a handy way to daydream your way out of long queues, waits and more.

The Eensy Weensy Frustrations:

On the opening screen, the app asks you to Sign In using an account, Facebook or Twitter.  The option to skip this step to explore the content is displayed not too prominently on the top right hand corner of the screen.

Using the search feature to do research for a recently concluded trip to Angkor Wat, produced options in Europe, Africa, Asia and more!  It looks like the app uses a key word search rather than relevancy and the search for Angkor produces a result to visit Baron’s place in Cairo.  So, if you are not sure of where exactly a destination is on the map, you’ll go through some frustration navigating this way.

When I tried to join AFAR, the screen was pretty faded with text not standing out.  Now that I have joined, I have the ability to create my own highlights and travel guides, something I will do before our next trip and report back in a Take 2.  That’s where this app could really rock.  Imagine taking trips with AFAR recommendations to guide you along…..kind of like an AFAR trip without the big price tag:)

If you have used the AFAR app, we’d love to hear what your experience has been.  Do drop us a line.

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