If you’ve ever done any travelling, you’re probably familiar with Lonely Planet. The company is the largest travel book publisher in the world, and offers plenty of free resources on it’s website and through it’s app Lonely Planet Guides. All of this is news to me, so I guess I need to travel more. But what isn’t new to just me, is their latest app called Trips. It’s only available for iPhone right now, but coming to android later this fall. Trips is a crowdsourced version of the Guides app. But instead of featuring contributions from Lonely Planet experts and contributors, it’s all about what common folk (like you and me) have to say about the sights you see when you’re on vacation.
Trips, I guess is like Instagram for vacationers. Why not just use Instagram? Well, Trips is geared more towards people who travel. The app itself is very user friendly. When you open the app, there are Instagram-like buttons along the bottom. A “plus” button to help you get the process started. Select the photos you want to add to the guide. The app uses geolocation tags to automatically group your images by where they were taken. The software also puts them in chronological order, though you can always rearrange them yourself.
You could just hit publish and make it easy for yourself, but Lonely Planet included extensive options for adding captions, headers and text to your creation. It’s very intuitive and threre’s only a few ways to customize the layout.
Because Trips is focused on photo sharing, it’s easy to compare this app to Instagram. According to CEO Daniel Houghton, “we don’t expect people to abandon other photo sharing apps. We have even built functionality in Trips so you can link back to your Instagram and show those photos. But this is a more indepth product from a travel point of view”. He is hoping that users put effort into the text as well. Not just the photos. Trips is designed so that you can post a gallery from your trip, rather than blowing up your Instagram feed with a bunch of photos in a row. It also is a great way to keep your photos all in one place.
There are other apps that do this kind of thing for you. Google Photos for one. But they aren’t specifically travel focused. That’s the key for Lonely Planet. Houghton sees Trips standing out from the crowd for that reason. He isn’t suggesting that you give up your other ways of posting, but keep Trips in mind. I myeslf downloaded the app, and was surprised at all the photos I could find. Someone spent 48 hours in Sydney and posted it in the app. Trips has really done their job, because now I want to go. All joking aside though, it is kind of unique. I can see what Houghton is getting at, but I wonder if other people will too.
Trips lets you browse nine different categories. Road Trips, for example. (I could definitely add to this submission) You can pick a particular trip to view and then save it to your favourites. Or even follow the author. Once you start following enough people, your feed will start to fill up with trips to explore.
I think the content will stand on it’s own. I mean, the images of some of these trips are absolutely gorgeous. But getting people to start using Trips is going to take some work for Lonely Planet. One potential downside (or upside, depending on how you look at it) is that you can’t edit any of the images in the app. Photo editors exist, and you can integrate those with Trips, but they didn’t want to distract people from the process.
Like I said, I downloaded Trips to see what it was all about. It looks really well designed and shows off some incredible photos. Lonely Planet doesn’t need this app to survive, so it isn’t necessarily relying on it to make or break the company. It is a nice addition to the services they already offer. It may end up being used just by frequent travelers who love to take pictures on their phones. You should check it out.
Pro: Like Instagram, but specifically for travelers. A great way to see the world, or get ideas about where you want to travel to. Also, a really great way to display your own vacation pictures.
Con: There really aren’t any cons. It is a lot like Instagram, but with a different spin. I guess the only real “con” would be that it’s another place to put your photos.
Aye/Nay: Aye. Download it. I did, and I don’t even travel that much!
iTunes Link: Trips by Lonely Planet