iPad App of the Week: TripAdvisor

The summertime vacation explosion is set to begin in mere weeks. With the TripAdvisor iPad app, you can plan far-flung vacations, or discover what’s right down the street.

I’d love to pack up the family this summer and go gallivanting around the world, or at least the coastal area of the southeastern United States. After the most recent fill-up of the old Honda, however, I’m rethinking the feasibility of even driving to the grocery. I suppose I could put a positive spin on my vacation possibilities, and say my options are now even wider than before, meaning I’m looking closer to home, thanks to TripAdvisor.

User-Driven Content

Wherever I end up, the TripAdvisor app will play a large part. Driven primarily by user input, the app gives you great ideas for trips virtually anywhere in the world. As you can see from the first image, even my relatively small home “burg,” there’s 313 restaurants that have been reviewed. I didn’t even know there were that many restaurants in town. The same goes for Things to Do; dozens of things I never knew existed.

You’ll notice for each listing there are reviews. The closest one to my location is the #4 restaurant in town and it has seven reviews. A look at the reviews proves that the reviews are not merely “Good food, great price,” but rather they’re very detailed. Users obviously take their reviews seriously and are ensuring a truly valuable travel app. I’m not supposing that each traveler review on TripAdvisor provides as much value, but a look at several proves that detail is the rule rather than the exception.

Wherever you plan to vacation, TripAdvisor gives you a ranking of local eateries, hotels, restaurants, things to do, flights and a valuable user forum.

Ready-Made Trips

I love the feature that allows travelers the ability to upload entire trips, real or imagined. As you can see from the sample image below, a user has uploaded a trip entitled “Best Golf Courses in the United Kingdom,” which also has user ratings.

You don’t have to follow the trips, obviously, but can use them to piece together your own. I know that if I’m visiting St. Andrews, I can see that a pilgrimage to the St. Andrews Links may be in order.

For most of us, the price of goods and services is important. TripAdvisor hasn’t left that stone unturned, giving us price ranges for the things we may want to experience. Average prices are provided for restaurants and hotels, and you can even search restaurants by price. Airline ticket prices are provided, minus taxes and fees.

The only problem I experienced with TripAdvisor was slow loading maps, which could be due to a number of things and not a problem with the app. Slow loading has been minimal and hasn’t caused a real problem.

I now know that there’s a lot to do close to home, which will be valuable come vacation time, given the price of gasoline. Thanks TripAdvisor .