First global private car service app launched on Monday

The first global private car service smartphone app was launched in New York on October 17, 2011. Groundlink, as it is called, allows users to book a private driver from their smartphones from wherever they are in the world. The difference with New York, however, is that they have the option to “Ride Now” and “Ride Later” while other cities only have the option right now to “Ride Later”.

The best part about this app is that the private cars do not cost much more than a taxi. Schedule your private car for the time you would like to be picked up and you will pay a flat rate based on distance, not travel time. For example, New Yorkers can travel from Central Park to the Lower East Side for $27 including tax and tip. And, Groundlink guarantees on-time arrival or your next ride is free. Ratings for this application in iTunes gave Groundlink a 4+, while the Android Marketplace has rated this app 4.8 stars out of 5.

Bonus: Throughout New York, Groundlink is rewarding users by hiding more than $15,000 in cash and prizes in cars around the city.

Available on Android, iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. This application is free to download.

Rama: a smartphone app for history lovers

Rama is a smartphone app that not only guides you through your favorite cities while giving you historical details, it also makes the past come alive through archival photographs that show users exactly what a particular destination or site once looked like. See the rocky swamp that is now Central Park, walk through Chicago right after the Great Fire, experience the wild atmosphere of Mardi Gras during the Depression, or visit the few lonely buildings in San Francisco after the Earth quake hit in 1906.

Some of the available tours include:

And, many more. Click here to view a complete list of guided tours. Tours cover Africa, South America, the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and North America.

Available on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Price ranges from free-$2.99 depending which tour you choose. To download the app from iTunes store, click here.

5 best smartphone apps for travelers who can’t get online

While you can basically download an app for anything you could possibly need to do on your smartphone, there are many times when traveling where you may find yourself unable to get Wi-Fi. When offline, many of these helpful apps become useful. To help you during those times when you find yourself traveling and unable to get online, here are five excellent travel apps for your smartphone that will work no matter what your connection situation is.


For those times when you want to communicate with locals but can’t speak the language, this voice translator allows you to speak in English into the device and have your words spoken back to you in the language of your choice. Downloads are currently available in English to German, French, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and Tagalong (Filipino).

Available for iPhone, iPad, and Android. $4.99 per download.

GlobeMaster: Offline Travel Guide & Utilities

This app is a global travel guide for over 1,400 cities and more than 260 countries. Users will have access to practical information from WikiTravel content about the food, culture, festivals, holidays, traditions, and transportation of a place. Other features of the app include over 1,400 photos, travel reccommendations, a tip calculator, currency converters, advice on how to stay healthy, and more.

Available for iPhone and iPad. $0.99.

Tourist Eye

Not only does this app include travel information for over 60,000 destinations, but you get personalized recommendations for your trips based on your preferences. The app also allows you to share details of your travels on Facebook and Twitter for friends and family to see.

Available for iPhone and Android. Free.


If you really can’t go any longer without Wi-Fi, this free app will show you exactly where the nearest location is to get connected. There are over 145,000 free locations around the globe, and you can even filter by what type of location you prefer (cafe, library, etc…).

Available for iPhone, iPad, and Android. Free.

XE Currency Converter

Calculate prices and convert currency with this free app that contains over 30,000 currencies. If you go offline, the program will simply use the most recent rate update to perform calculations.

Available for iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone 7. Free.

Wildlife refuge on island of Sanibel, Florida, introduces iNature Trail for smartphone users

The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge has introduced a new interactive smartphone capability for visitors. Called iNature Trail, the program utilizes QR (Quick Response) codes that are located around the refuge, which can be scanned by your smartphone using free downloadable applications like Neoscan and QR Scan. Once scanned, the codes will bring up YouTube videos and other informative resources for an enhanced experience in nature. For example, scanning a particular code could bring up a video of the refuge manager welcoming guests to the area, while another might teach users how to plant a mangrove tree.

According to Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland, out of the more than 550 national wildlife refuges, J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is the first to put in place an interactive trail program like this one.

To get a better idea of how the app works, check out this video:

TripAdvisor launches free Mobile City Guide apps for Android users

On Tuesday, October 11, 2011, TripAdvisor launched their free Mobile City Guide apps for Android users. The apps cover twenty popular destinations, some of which include Paris, New York, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and London.

Benefits of using the app include:

  • Reviews of restaurants, hotels, and attractions
  • Suggested city itineraries
  • Interactive walking tours
  • Historical and cultural information on a destination
  • Weather reports
  • Transportation options

One great thing about this app is that the information is given to you in real-time, so everything you read is current and up-to-date. Also, information from the app can be accessed whether the user has a data connection or is offline.

Says Adam Medros, vice president of global product at TripAdvisor, “We think travelers are going to love the comprehensive information our free Mobile City Guides provide in popular world cities. A tremendous complement to our popular TripAdvisor site app, these guides offer even more city detail, including itineraries and interactive walking tours.”