For travellers thinking of a foreign getaway, there is a lot of planning to do. Where to stay, what to pack and which attractions to see are all things holidaymakers have to consider before they even think about booking a car hire in Spain
. However, thanks to new travel app Jetpac, visitors can tour prospective destinations directly from their mobile device.
Jetpac aims to make planning a holiday fun, easy and social by allowing users to view various locations across the globe by exploring the photo galleries of family and friends. The application has proven popular with seasoned travellers and casual tourists alike.
Jetpac is structured around the sharing functionality of Facebook. Users can see images from their friends' getaways, holiday snaps taken in places they have already been themselves, or pictures of places they would like to visit. The application's user interface is simple and elegant, and ideally suited to the iPad. With a few taps of the screen, holidaymakers can explore virtual tours of cities around the world. For travellers who are on the fence about where to go, Jetpac makes planning a holiday an intuitive and visual experience.
However, users are not limited to searching image galleries of people they know. The application has an image repository of more than 250 million photos, with more being uploaded to Facebook every day, and the app's developers plan to include image searches from Google, Flickr and Instagram in the near future, according to TechCrunch.
"It’s a more visual and inspirational experience of social travel," Julian Green, chief executive of Jetpac, told the news source. "Using Jetpac, you can create your bucket list of places you want to go next, as well as places you’ve been, and photos you love. Jetpac basically makes Facebook useful for travel."
So, if holidaymakers are planning a tour of Spain's cities, they can check out images of the Hospital de Sant Pau, the Palau de la Música Catalana and Casa Vicens before they even think about booking their car hire in Barcelona
The app offers users a list of the top 100 cities to explore, based on Facebook trends. This easily navigable method of browsing extensive image galleries makes planning a holiday like leafing through a glossy coffee table book of the world's hottest destinations.
Tourists can create custom image galleries from the photos they have found by tapping "Love" if they really like an image or album, "I've Been" if they have explored a particular locale, or "I Want To" if a specific destination appeals to them. Users can then share these galleries on their social media pages with friends and family.
Although the app boasts a huge library of images for travellers to browse through, the software is not without limitations. Currently, Jetpac's search algorithms can effectively prioritize images based on where users' friends have been and their personal preferences, but the app struggles to effectively filter images involving large groups of people, including parades, rallies and some outdoor events. The developers say they are working on improving this feature in pending updates.
Another feature that would have proven exceptionally useful, but is unfortunately lacking at this time, is interconnectivity between the app and external sites. For example, if travellers like the look of a particular city, or even a specific hotel, it would have been useful to be able to access the website of an attraction, restaurant or bed and breakfast directly from the app. Perhaps this functionality will be incorporated into a later version.
Jetpac is available for free from the Apple App Store, and is compatible with devices running iOS 4.3 or later.