Travel App: Rome For Foodies By Food Blogger Katie Parla

If you are planning a trip to Rome this year and want to be sure to eat well, download food blogger Katie Parla’s Rome for Foodies app for iPhone and iPad. The Rome travel app features short and sweet reviews of everything delicious, from best bakeries for breakfast to wine bars. All of the app’s maps and features can be accessed offline, and you can filter by budget, category and distance. What sets Rome for Foodies apart from other travel apps is an insider’s guide to the city with thoughtfully chosen recommendations personally vetted by a food lover and city expert. You can also get an up-to-date stream of Katie’s latest blog posts about Rome if you are connected to the Internet, and see her favorites in Katie’s Picks.

If you are in New York City this weekend for the New York Times Travel Show, be sure to see Katie speak about Italian craft beer on the Europe stage, and participate in a seminar on the latest apps for travel, along with signing copies of her National Geographic book on walking in Rome.

Buy “Rome for Foodies” on iTunes or via

[Photo credit: Katie Parla]

Location-Based Smartphone App Makes Travel More Social

There are many smartphone apps that exist to make travel more social. These apps allow you to find travel buddies, see who will be at your accommodations and even stay in people’s homes for free. However, there is a new app on the market called Zamp that is helping travelers to discover who’s nearby and connect with them in real time.

The app is a location-based service that travelers can use to share and receive tips, arrange meet-ups and coordinate transportation. For example, through their airport check-in, users can see who’s on their flight, send messages and plan trip details like taxis and tours. There is also a fun feature that tracks users’ travel stats, like miles traveled, most frequented routes and preferred airlines. And to help service providers, Zamp allows for immediate user feedback to be given.

While this may not sound new, Zamp places an emphasis on making travel more social.”Many other travel services place an emphasis on travel booking or planning or post-travel reviews,” explains Sam Zebarjadi, one of the founders of Zamp. “We are focused on making travel more social, as it happens, and the platform is really built as an intelligent analytics and data engine.”

At this time, the company is working on building strategic partnerships to create more features and enhance the user experience. For example, they have teamed up with the Frequent Flyer Network to create a branded travel “lounge,” where users can communicate in real time from anywhere in the world. They’re also working with TripIt to enhance the flight check-in service.

Available on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android. Free. Click here to download.

HipGeo iPhone app makes sharing travel easy

HipGeo is a Los Angeles based development team with a passion for creating the most convenient way for people to keep track of what they saw, where they saw it, share it, and use what other people share to enhance their own travel experiences. Now, HipGeo has a new, free iPhone and iPad app that passively records your location as you travel. It can then mash your pics and comments into an animated map and travel diary for sharing.

“If Tumblr and Foursquare had a baby, it would look like the new HipGeo,” HipGeo’s chief product guy, Rich Rygg told cnet.

HipGeo automatically groups photos, comments, places, tags, likes, and dates together, allowing users to search and follow real travelers who go interesting places.

As users go about their normal posting, HipGeo creates place blogs with user generated content. In addition to seeing what friends and family are doing while traveling, we can also access this user generated information to help plan a trip or discover something interesting.

“HipGeo is attractive in that it seamlessly combines tools that are already popular on other platforms and redefines the social aspect of travel, ” says HipGeo on their website.

The app tags photos, adds captions, and pinpoints its location on a map but if you don’t want it tracking your every move, settings can be changed to record just certain locations.

The app is free but using it has a price. HipGeo warns that tracking GPS in the background “can dramatically decrease battery life.”

Photo: HipGeo

Marriott makes life easier with new smartphone app

It seems like everywhere we look, a hotel brand or travel company is launching a new app – not that we’re complaining. Marriott is the latest to debut an app to assist travelers. The app, conveniently available on platforms ranging from iPhone to Blackberry to Android, allows travelers to: Marriott, JW Marriott, Renaissance, Edition, Autograph, Courtyard, Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn, TownPlace Suites, SpringHill Suites and Ritz-Carlton hotels and:

• View and modify upcoming reservations
• Access your Marriott Rewards account and make Rewards reservations
• See hotel photos and maps
• Find hotels near your current position with GPS functionality
• Browse city guides with helpful tips about your destinations
• Call a hotel or get help immediately with reservations
• Do all this securely just like you would on

Like most branded apps, this one is free. While it isn’t as visual as some we’ve seen – those are primarily geared towards the iPad – it’s a useful feature for travelers with Marriott brand loyalty and those who want the convenience of being able to book from their smartphone.

Abercrombie & Kent creates iPad app

One of our favorite parts about the “internetization” of travel (yes, we made that word up) is the feeling that you can travel the world without ever leaving your desktop. We reported earlier this year on flash sale darling Jetsetter’s iPad app. Now luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent has joined the fray with a free application for iPad that allows users to plan exotic adventures, family travel, cultural explorations and nature/wildlife trips. With each tap of an image, users can explore a particular experience in depth.

One of our favorite parts of the app? “Virtual Visits,” 60 to 90-second videos with a day-in-the-life approach that capture the sights and sounds of a destination. Visits range from views of Cappadocia via hot air balloon, Pushkar Fair, a camel and cattle sale in a holy city and natural ice sculptures off the coast of Antarctica.

Users can also create a personalized travel map of countries they’ve visited and wish to visit. These destinations can be exported to Google Earth, which provides a satellite tour of each destination. There’s also easy integration with Twitter, Facebook and Abercrombie & Kent destination specialists.