August 16, 2013
You’re in strange city and are looking for something to do. Instead of buying a costly travel book, consider Mygola, a new app for iPad. Available for free, Mygola allows you to browse thousands of trips, customize them, and carry them with you. Its motto is to “create custom trips in 15 minutes,” which is correct. To get started, answer the question, “Where do you want to go?” From there, Mygola will present numerous itineraries from some of the biggest names in travel. These include Frommers, The New York Times, The Guardian, Fodors, among others. Itineraries may be further customized by choosing a duration for your trip, selecting a theme, and noting places in your city that you’d like to see. For example, I’d like to take a one to three day trip to New York City that includes plenty of history. Mygola lists six itineraries that match this criteria, including “36 Hours in New York City,” “The Splendor of the Empire State,” and “24 hours in New York.” Now the real fun begins. A selected itinerary isn’t complete until you make it your own. You do this by adding recommended places to your daily plan by selecting “definitely” or “maybe” next to each location. These locations could include restaurants, hotels, nightlife, attractions, and shopping meccas. Suggested places not added will not be part of your final plan. Finally, select “Your Daily Plan," so that Mygola can create an itinerary that matches your requirements. Better still, before doing so, it will take into account the times each location is open, when applicable, and suggest a step-by-step plan. Trips can be saved or shared via Facebook or Twitter. You can also add them to your list of favorites. They can also be saved as a PDF. I really like Mygola, even though the app has a number of problems right now that definitely make it a work in progress. For one, Mygola is little more than a Web app that resides in the App Store. This isn’t bad, except that fonts and the location of photos that may look great on mygola.com don’t always look so nice on a tablet. Mygola is also dragged down by the poor quality of many of its photos. Some photos, for example, look absolutely stunning on a Retina display iPad. Others are so blurry that they could cause a headache. Finally, there's a question about the app's full title, which includes the phrase "Book Authentic Trips." This isn't possible just yet, either within the app or through the Mygola website. This is bad form, in my opinion. Despite its many first version problems, Mygola does come recommended, if only for its potential. The content and resources are there. Now, we just have to wait for the developers to kick the app into overdrive and make it great. Mygola: Discover, Customize and Book Authentic Trips is available now in the App Store.