Tag Archives: App

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.

Snagging a Reasonable Hotel Room in London – An App Enables Success

By Lakshmi:

This year, I wanted to wake up in London on my birthday.  And since it was my birthday, I wanted to start the day some place nice.  There was only one obstacle to this beautiful dream.  Given my aversion to paying sky-high prices for hotels and my desire to be at the heart of the city, getting a lovely room appeared impossible.

We arrived at London Paddington at noon, the exact time that the Hotel Tonight app releases last-minute hotel deals.  Could Lady Luck favor us? There were indeed a few hotel rooms available in London that night.  Scanning through a list, the Montagu Place Hotel caught our eye.  It would cost us under $200.  The hotel was a lovingly restored townhouse conveniently located to four tube stops.  There was more….the hotel had fantastic reviews, had earned a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2013 and carried Molton Brown toiletries in the bathroom.

My fingers worked quickly to snag the deal.  It was one of the easiest hotel bookings to make.  Within nanoseconds, I had my confirmation and we boarded the tube to Marylebone from where the hotel was a quick 5 minute walk.  Situated among beautiful homes in a leafy, upscale neighborhood, the Montagu Place was easy to miss.  The lobby was intimate and lovely, stocking some of the latest magazines and maps.  The staff was incredibly welcoming, acknowledging my upcoming event and even remembering to wish me the next morning.

The room was spacious and well-appointed; the bathroom huge by European standards.  We indulged in every ounce of the Molton Brown toiletries and were so so grateful to snag a beautiful room in the heart of London for a bargain.

If you are an impulsive traveler, do check out the HotelTonight app.  You can learn more about HotelTonight at


If the Montagu Place Hotel intrigues you, please do visit their website at


Hotel Tonight: Last Minute Half-Priced Finds

By Rohan:

This weekend, my uncle and eleven year-old cousin came to town to help me celebrate my graduation. Since he had some business to take care of in Boston, he decided to take me and my brother along for some fun in the city.We love Boston, and usually have a motley of hotel options to choose from, especially since we go so frequently, whether it be for conventions, festivals, or simply getting away without breaking the bank. On the train ride there, our uncle gave us some shocking news: we don’t quite know where we’re staying.


He reassured us, told us not to panic, and opened up a fancy new app on his smartphone: Hotel Tonight. He was able to book two rooms at the Copley Square Hotel (a review to follow) for a little less than $160 each. This property is situated right in the heart of downtown Boston, with plenty of shops, restaurants, and tourist attractions within walking distance. How could this little app give him such a big discount?

Every day at 9:00 am, Hotel Tonight releases multiple properties per city in many cities in the US and abroad. Each property is discounted (sometimes up the 50%).  It’s like a game of roulette, sometimes you will land a huge discount at an amazing property, while in other cases, it might add some inconvenience to your trip.  Either way, we highly recommend picking up Hotel Tonight.  Living an hour away from New York City, a day trip to Manhattan can easily turn into an overnight one thanks to this useful tool.  Best of all, Hotel Tonight is completely free, and runs incredibly smoothly with a welcoming interface on both iPhone and Android devices.  Just another piece of travel tech making seeing the world that much easier!

 Thanks Hotel Tonight for your deals and discounts! Consider us a loyal customer!