Review: Worldmate Gold, by Worldmate Inc. (universal binary)
Worldmate Gold, by Worldmate Inc.
• Easy to import travel data
• Can modify trips as needed
• Export to your calendar
• Can't modify number of travellers
• No built in search for local attractions
• Some obvious tools are missing
I have a trip coming up for a conference in Switzerland, and I have been looking into various international travel apps to review. While I am over there I will review some Europe GPS apps, but for not I am still in the planning stages. To that end, I have been using Worldmate Gold to help plan the trip.
Worldmate Gold has a long lineage of phone apps – I remember using the travel companion app on my Zire, and then on my Treo. Worldmate Gold is the newest iteration on the iPhone and iPad (it is a universal binary). As with any new version, many more features are incorporated into this travel planning app. It allows you to organize your itinerary, import information about hotels, flights, car rentals, and other trip reservations you have. The app is aimed at business travelers, not people travelling for vacation, and this comes through in some of the design and features. Please note, the images are from an iPhone, but the app is a universal binary.
Figure 1 - Day by day itinerary in your trip view.
Importing data is incredible easy – just send your confirmation email to the provided worldmate email address (from your email that you registered your Worldmate account) and the data is automatically imported. Once there, you can check flight status, track confirmation numbers easily, get maps to hotels, and in some cases even use online check in procedures. It also includes some useful tools for travelers, including a currency converter and local restaurants.
Figure 2 - Details about flights, confirmation numbers, costs are all available.
When it comes to flights, it lists alternate flight options (although presumably if you change your flight you would need to pay a fee to the airline). Unfortunately the flight information is somewhat limited – it doesn’t tell you what your seat is (or at least on my flights it didn’t), it doesn’t tell you about things like if the plane has wifi, although it does include information about any meals that are included. One feature that would be incredibly helpful would be a simple airport map, so you can find out where you have to go when you need to make a connection. It does include the cost of the tickets, so if you are tracking expenses it makes that information available.
Figure 3 - "My Trips" shows all upcoming trips you have, and keeps past trips for reference information.
For hotels, one handy feature is a “price alert” option. Since you forwarded your confirmation email, it has the price you paid for a hotel. If it finds a hotel at a cheaper rate, you are given the option of rebooking. Now, the cheaper rate is really just a commercial for Worldmate’s partners, but it does let you know if you can get the same or similar hotel for less. Of course, it is up to you to cancel the other hotel then. Hotel information includes things like parking fees, if a breakfast is included, and again the price you paid.
When you enter the trip view, you get a day by day view of what your itinerary is – in terms of lodging and travel. One thing I wish the app included was an option to identify business versus pleasure trips. That way, on a vacation, it could potentially include ideas for sightseeing or relaxing activities. Right now the apps does not distinguish between them, so there is no inclusion of potential activities in the various locations. Another problem with the app is that you can’t identify how many travelers there are. So on a trip with three people, only one flight reservation is listed. Likewise, if you booked a hotel based on triple occupancy, you may get a price alert because a cheaper room has been found, but the room is only for one person.
Figure 4 - Built in tools, like a currency converter, help you on your trip.
There are some built in travel tools as well. A tip calculator is included, which also identifies the customary tipping procedures for different countries (tipping a restaurants, and taxis). A 5-day forecast is available for any city to which you are travelling (but you can’t get an extended forecast to help you pack for a longer trip). There is a local search option in the tools, which lets you search for restaurants, nightlife, shopping, or custom items (again, no tourism and attractions built in – more evidence that the app is aimed at business travelers). You can sync you trip to a calendar, use the currency converter, and even link to local connections via LinkedIn. One interesting thing about the currency converter - it automatically incldues the currencies for the countries you plan to visit! Surprisingly, one business feature that is not included is an expense log. Given that some expenses are automatically identifies (hotel, car rentals, and flights) it seems like a no brainer to be able to have those automatically included in any expense log you might want to keep.
Figure 5 - You can edit and modify trips as needed, in case some information is not included.
All in all, Worldmate Gold is a nice travel app, primarily aimed at business travelers who travel alone. You can’t adjust for vacation or for more than one person, nor can you easily find local attractions and tourism spots. Worldmate makes it incredibly easy to import reservation information, and has a handful of travel tools available (although fewer than I remember the original Worldmate app included). While the limitation make this app not as ideal for family vacations, for a business traveler you can keep a log of a variety of critical information all in one place – no more need to flip through various emails to find confirmation emails and numbers. I hope they will eventually be able to incorporate the Apple passbook for things like hotel reservations and flight tickets. At $9.99 for the universal binary, the app isn’t cheap, but for a frequent traveler it might make some things a little easier. Four out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating. Please comment on these reviews. All opinions expressed in this review are precisely that – opinions. You may agree or disagree. If you own the app, tell me what your opinion is. If the review prompted you to buy (or not buy) the app, let me know why. If you want more information about the app, go ahead and ask.