Who doesn’t like free? And who doesn’t like great iPad apps? When the two come together it’s good stuff. With that in mind, we’d like to share our Best Free iPad App of the Week here every weekend.
This week’s pick is Travelocity for iPad – the iPad version of the travel bookings and deals service, complete with the little roaming gnome fella. Here are some of its key features:
· The Travelocity iPad app is the only iPad app you can search and book round-trip and one-way flights, hotels, and car rentals
· Access your Travelocity account to automatically complete your information during checkout
· Search hotels and airports nearby
· Sort and filter search results
Take advantage of mobile-exclusive deals.
· Travelocity iPad app users get exclusive access to hotel deals you can’t find anywhere else
· App-exclusive deals change everyday, so take advantage before they disappear
Browsing is easier than ever.
· View hotel reviews, descriptions, information, and ratings
· Swipe to browse hotel photos
· View maps
· Flight prices include taxes and fees
· Simple, easy-to-use checkout
All of your travel information, at your fingertips.
· Access past and future trip itineraries with MyTrips, including details like flight numbers, departure times, hotel addresses, and more
The app has a really nice, bold interface – and is easy to get around and find all the good travel information you’re looking for. The main screen gives you buttons to tap to head to the main areas of the app – Flights, Hotels, Cars, and My Trips. All these sections are also accessible via one tap on the left sidebar as well – so it’s always quick to get to whichever one you want to work with.
Each of the main pages – Flights, Hotels, Cars – presents a consistent view for entering criteria for your searches and in the way results are presented. You fill in your starting location, destination, intended travel dates, number of people, and so on – then hit the Go button and your results are displayed.
The results list gives good, clear summary info for each result – so you can quickly spot those that are of most interest. Two handy buttons at the bottom results pages allow you to manipulate the results further to help you find what you need. Sort lets you sort the results by things like price, departure and arrival times (for flights), rating, price and distance for hotels, and more. Filter offers a similar range of useful options – filter flights by number of stops, times of day, and airlines, filter cars by types and rental companies, or hotels by price range, star rating, user rating.
That roaming gnome guy shows up often while you’re waiting on results and similar – though honestly, the search results generally come up very quickly and performance throughout the app is excellent.
As you drill down in search results, the app uses popovers on the right hand side to show detail pages. You just swipe these away to move back a level in the interface. It’s all very easy and intuitive.
The pages for hotels are particularly helpful – with user reviews, maps that can be tapped on to see at large size and just a wealth of good information on each hotel.
I have a few wish list items for the app. It currently works in portrait mode only – I’d like to see it support both viewing modes. I can’t see a way to bookmark or favorite a hotel – that would be a very useful function when researching trips that are a little ways off. The My Trips section requires a login to Travelocity, which is fine – but it could do with allowing you to create an account within the app.
Overall this is an excellent app. It’s got a good-looking and easy to use interface and it’s fast and effective in getting you good, thorough information on flights, hotels, and cars.
I’ve never used the Travelocity service online, mostly because we just haven’t traveled much over recent years. If the rest of their service is as good as the iPad app, then it must be awfully good. I’ll definitely be putting the app to good use in planning out a couple of short summer getaways this year.
Here’s an App Store link for Travelocity for iPad.
If you’re after more great free iPad apps, be sure to check out our previous choices for Best Free iPad of the Week.