Windows Phone Central App Roundup: Travel Apps
There is a wide assortment of travel apps available for our Windows Phones. You have navigation apps, city guides, translation apps, currency converters, and more. In this week's Windows Phone Central app roundup we're focusing on apps that will help you find local establishments/attractions/businesses while you are visiting unfamiliar locations or if you're looking for something new in your home town.
We've all been there. Vacationing in a new city and really wanting to find a good restaurant? Check out the local shops to find the deals? Find a tourist stop to spend the afternoon at?
These apps should help you find such locations and more.
Yelp! (free): Let's start with the heavyweight of the bunch. Yelp! has been around for some time and recently was updated to give the app a slightly refreshed look and allow for mobile comments/reviews.
Yelp! will search for businesses, bars, restaurants, cafes, drug stores, gas stations, banks, hotels, medical services, and more based on your current location. You also can search for local deals, search by keyword or category, check in and share your location with Yelp! friends, make reservations on OpenTable for participating restaurants, and add reviews/pictures of local destinations.
Individual location listings includes contact information, other Yelp! user reviews, and the ability to generate directions using your Windows Phone mapping apps (Nokia HERE, NAVIGON, etc.). Lastly, Yelp! has a augmented reality feature that overlays business information on your camera view.
Oh... and if the Windows Phone app isn't enough Yelp! has a web portal where you can access all the features from the comfort of your laptop/desktop/tablet as well.
Yelp! is a feature rich location based search engine that has the backing of a very large Yelp! membership that provides a healthy amount of reviews to help you sort things out. If you don't feel the urge to sign up for a Yelp! membership, you can still enjoy most of the benefits of the Windows Phone app (you can't add photos, reviews, check into locations, etc.).
Yelp! is a free app for your Windows Phone and is compatible with both Windows Phone 7.x and 8 devices. You can find Yelp! here in the Windows Phone Store.
Where (free): Let's get this out of the gate, Where is one of those "U.S. only" but might come in handy if you happen to visit the U.S. Otherwise, no hard feelings if you skip on to the next app in the roundup.
Where is very similar to Yelp! in that you can search for dining and entertainment attractions nearby. With Where you can search for arcades, historical sites, mini-golf courses, museums, restaurants, and more.
Individual listings includes contact information and address, the ability to map the location and any web page information. Where appears to be a scaled down version of Yelp! and I say "appears" mainly because I could not get the app to connect to the Where service.
On launching Where I would consistently receive a "Cannot get response... will proceed in offline mode". The problem here is that without being able to connect to the service at all, there's no offline content to look at. I attempted connecting to the service just before posting the roundup and still recieved the error.
The app has potential but until whatever bug is preventing Where to connect to the service, you won't get far. Feeling lucky and want to try your hand at Where? It's a free app for your Windows Phone 8 and 7.x device that you can find here in the Windows Phone Store.
Michelin Travel (free): Michelin Travel is a location based search engine that focuses solely on tourist sites. It is also an exclusive for the Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 8 devices.
With Michelin Travel you can search for sites that are nearby, search by keyword, search for sites near an address, or just scroll around the map.
Individual listings will include a description of the site, photos, location information, and reviews about the site. Location information will include the address, phone number, website and the ability to generate driving directions.
Michelin Travel also includes a travel book feature where you can group tourist sites for easy reference. If you want to build an itinerary of sites to visit in a particular city, just create a travel book and add the sites to the book.
Should you be traveling Europe, there is a companion app, Michelin Guide for Restaurants Europe that is available and can be accessed from the Michelin Travel app. Not sure why tourist sites and restaurants are covered in two separate apps. Just seems to make more sense to have one app to cover it all.
From Here (free): From Here is a Windows Phone app that lets you search for restaurants, coffee houses, banks, hotels and other businesses based on your location or by keyword.
As with Where, From Here is basically a scaled down version of Yelp! with one exception. Unlike Where, From Here runs error free.
Individual listings map the business on Google Maps and in tapping the map flag, you pull up more detailed information on the location. Information that includes contact information, the ability to generate driving directions and the ability to share the location via email, SMS, Twitter or Facebook.
Locations can be tagged as favorites and displayed on a Favorites Page for easy access. All totaled, From Here isn't too shabby of a location based search engine. It may lack the gusto of Yelp! but it does what it does rather nicely.
From Here is a free app, compatible with both Windows Phone 8 and 7.x devices that you can find here in the Windows Phone Store.
While your Windows Phones have native search engines for restaurants, services, shopping and other businesses (Bing, Nokia HERE, etc.), many of these apps offer an nice alternative.
Of these four options, Yelp! is the heavy hitter of the bunch with a ton of features and an active membership that gives you more insight to your search results. The other options are nice but either scaled back, narrowly focused or plagued with connectivity errors.
The nice thing about it all is they all are free apps so you can try them all, judge for yourself and not be out anything but the time needed to install. As with all our roundups, if we've missed your favorite travel app let us know in the comments below.