Travel Planning for Windows Phone 8: Part 1 – The Overview

photo by Sheila Scarborough

photo by Sheila Scarborough

A mobile phone holds a lot of promise for the traveller; it’s a pocketable device that can potentially consolidate planning, communication, documentation and so much more. No surprise that there are a ton of travel startups out there, fighting in the mobile space. But what about for Windows Phone?

The last I travelled with Windows Phone 7 was pretty comfortable (admittedly I had an iPad as well) – there were some decent apps out there, though not on the same level as the other platforms. Unfortunately one of those apps, the offline guide Guidepal, has since dropped out of the Windows Phone Store with a move from a free to paid model on iOS. I’m guessing it’s a temporary move, since the link is still shown on the downloads page, and they have a Windows 8 app.

That said there seems to be reasonable coverage by some of the big name players in most of the travel planning dimensions – flight, accomodation, attractions and general planning. I’d like to highlight some of the apps I’ve come across and used. If it sounds timely for me, its because I’m planning a trip in late May!

  • Skyscanner (Flights) – fast, fluid, and fully-featured as far as I can tell compared to the iOS version
  • Tripadvisor (Accomodation, Attractions) – decent, but with some kinks in the cross-device syncing
  • Agoda (Accomodation) – decent after a major bug was removed in a recent update
  • Tripit (Planning) – quite a basic iteration that could be faster; I prefer using the third-party app My Trips, although that has not been updated recently
  • Currency / XE Currency (Currency conversion) – does what it says, though you do need 3G
  • Toshl (Expense-tracking) – reasonably simple to use yet feature-packed personal expense tracker, supports multiple currencies

I’m leaving out Microsoft/Nokia’s suite of apps, though stuff like Skydrive and OneNote can be pretty useful for collaborative planning, and Drive is awesome. For me, clear misses are the Hostelworlds and equivalents, plus with Guidepal’s hibernation, a good offline travel guide.

In the next few posts, I hope to look more in-depth at each app… and come May, put them to the test overseas! Do let me know if you have any apps to suggest in the comments below, or to my Twitter handle @wasabigeek.

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