If you’ve traveled with any kind of regularity, I’m sure at some point or another you’ve found yourself in a new city with some spare time on your hands but unsure of what you should do. A guidebook can sometimes be of assistance, but they’re often out of date even before they are published, and asking a local can usually yield results, although they routinely view their city much differently than a visitor. What we need in these instances is something that is not only current but also easy to access, providing us with suggestions for activities, good places to eat, interesting local shops and other hotspots. That is exactly what the Roamz app for iPhone and Android aims to do, adding in a nice social twist to the mix.
Roamz is a simple to use, location-sensitive app that has been designed from the ground up to help people discover what is happening around them. The interface is clean and simple, providing a basic search bar that allows us to enter terms like “pizza” or “live music,” with results returned in quick fashion. Your most recent searches are saved so that they can be quickly accessed again, while suggestions for common search terms are displayed as graphical tiles along the bottom of the screen. Tapping one of them displays nearby results for the specific category with some basic information about the restaurant, shop or activity itself. Those results also show the location of the event (which can be opened in the maps app for navigation) and give options to visit the venue’s website or dial its phone number.
If you’ve owned a smartphone over the past couple of years, you’ve probably seen similar apps. But where Roamz sets itself apart is that rather than simply searching a database of local addresses sorted by category it actually scans social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to determine what places or events are getting the most buzz around you. This means you’re not only receiving info about a great place to eat, but you could also learn about special activities that are taking place near by. This social aspect of the search gives Roamz a more timely quality that isn’t found elsewhere.The app will also allow you to save a list of your favorite locations and it will automatically alert you to special activities at those places whenever you’re in the neighborhood. Those suggestions can come in handy when you’re looking for things to do both at home or on the road. Not surprisingly, Roamz also connects with popular social media outlets, allowing you to share your own activities with friends and family.
That’s the basic premise of this app and in practice it works quite well. I’ve used it to find new places to eat in my hometown, as well as to discover things to do when visiting another city. The social aspects of Romaz offer a nice twist over similar apps, as you get to see what others near you are saying about the hotspots. The app even displays images that have been shared through social media, giving users an opportunity to see the place long before they ever visit it.
The app is completely free and is available on both Apple’s app store and the Google Play store. It is definitely one that will come in handy while in your home city, but it truly struts its stuff while traveling elsewhere.
[Photo credit: Roamz]