Hundreds of years ago travel wasn’t for everyone. It was hard, expensive and often downright dangerous. It was mostly merchants who traveled for business purposes and sponsored explorers who traveled for geographic and scientific reasons. Getting from point A to point B took a lot of time.
Then came the railroad. Trains simplified people’s lives and brought about tremendous economic growth for countries that built railroads. Travel wasn’t as hard anymore. All you needed to do was buy a ticket and you could get from London to Egypt in as little as 5 days.
When airplanes were invented, travel took a huge leap forward. You can now fly across oceans to the opposite side of the globe in a mere 18 hours – an unbelievable thing for our ancestors. Just like for us it may be hard to imagine where travel progress could go from now.
Besides the invention of and advancements in air travel, we have been seeing a lot of progress in digital technologies that help us stay connected while on a trip. You can talk to your family over a cell phone from almost any corner of the world. You can text-message them and often instantly share your trip experiences with your friends over social networks. Having a smartphone and a good travel app with you in all your adventures lets you record what you see, hear or feel in a digital journal and share it with your friends, family and social contacts in real time. Even your great grandparents never would have thought this could be possible!
What is a good app to use for these purposes? We have a few that we’ve tried and there’s one app that seems to cover the most features a traveler may need. I am talking about ShutterBee, an app from an Australian team of developers. When you first start using ShutterBee, you get stunned by the sheer number of gorgeous photos from all over the world. Both travelers and local enthusiasts post beautiful shots of natural and cultural sights, mostly located off the beaten track and not found in travel guidebooks. This is perfect for planning an uncommon adventure and getting inspired to venture into areas you may not have even heard about.
With ShutterBee you can create your personal travel map by adding countries you’ve been to, and sharing it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr. You can post photos and travel stories on ShutterBee and share them to your timeline on social networks too. Choose interesting users to follow, comment on their posts, ask questions via private chat or the public discussions board. The app even lets you keep a bucket list of destinations you would like to visit someday. It seems that ShutterBee already has every feature you may want in a travel app.
Would you want the perfect travel app to let you easily find information via hashtags? ShutterBee has it!
Do you want to be able to log your past travels and add them to your personal map? You can simply upload old photos to ShutterBee and get them attributed to proper locations. The app recognises location tags, if your photos have those, and automatically marks the countries on the map for you.
Do you absolutely have to be able to create posts while offline, when you are exploring areas with no network coverage? ShutterBee lets you create posts and queue them for upload with no Internet connection.
The Discussions board works sort of like a forum, where you can ask for advice from locals or experienced travelers, share your extraordinary stories or discuss any travel-related topic. For instance, if you need to find out how to get around in Beijing or Rio de Janeiro, you can start a topic with your question and tag it with #Beijing or #RiodeJaneiro #PublicTransportation. Users on ShutterBee seem to be really friendly and always enthusiastic about answering questions on subjects they are familiar with. If you have a story you think would shock, amuse or surprise people, put it out there in Discussions and talk about it with other travel buffs. The feature is both useful and fun.
Do you want the app to help you make new friends or find travel companions? ShutterBee can do that in several different ways. For instance, whenever you get to a new place, you can look up nearby posts and see if there are other ShutterBee users currently exploring the same destination. You can send them a message and connect to make your trip more exciting, to share tips and experiences with each other and to possibly even save some money (you could split the cost of hiring a guide or a driver, give each other tips on inexpensive places to dine or shop at and so on).
To satisfy your competitive self, ShutterBee offers a ranking system, where users are ranked by the number of countries they have been to. It may work as a cool motivator to travel more, as if seeing amazing photos from exotic places wasn’t enough motivation already.
If you do decide to check out ShutterBee, do it before you head out on your next trip. This way you will have time to explore all of its features (and there is a lot to explore there) and be able to use it to its full potential when traveling.
If you’ve tried ShutterBee and have feedback, speak up in comments below. I’m curious to know what you think of it.