Personally I think a lot of apps are obsolete and a waste of money. However, National Geographic Traveler’s 50 Places of a Lifetime iPad app I find to be a real gem. D and I bought an iPad for our first anniversary, and while he uses it significantly more than I do, I immediately downloaded the app as it is perfect for someone like me.
The 50 Places of a Lifetime are broken into five categories-Urban Spaces, Wild Places, Paradise Found, Country Unbound, and World Wonders. Each feature consists of a short article, some written by very famous individuals (author and journalist Paulo Coelho wrote Rio de Janiero, Salman Rushdie wrote the Taj Mahal). There are also spectacular photos including some which feature a “wide view” which allows you to enlarge and then zoom in on a place (the 360 degree view of Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde is incredible), as well as fast facts about the place. (For Torres del Paine in South America’s Patagonia region it says that explorer Ferdinand Magellan named Patagonia after the native people there during his 1520 expedition; it is said he addressed them as patagon, or “big foot,” to describe the group, who were about six feel tall.)
The app allows you to scroll through the entire list from the beginning (it begins with urban spaces) or jumping right to a specific category. Although it was initially a bit hard to navigate as all of the special features of a place (scrolling up, down, sideways, etc), once you get the hang of how the content is laid out, it’s pretty easy to manage.
Of the 50 places featured, I’ve been to six, soon to be seven later this month when I visit Hawaii. (They are New York, Barcelona, Paris, London, Loire Valley, and Vatican City.) For me, lists like these always put things into perspective when I realize that even with how many countries and places I’ve visited, there are still that many more I haven’t. There are many more incredible places to behold one day. If I could chose six new places to visit from the list they would be Istanbul (no surprise if you know my obsession with Turkey), Jerusalem, the Galapagos Islands, the Taj Mahal, Angkor Wat, and the Serengeti.
The thing I really like most about this app is that there is a personal checklist at the very end. It lists the 50 places, each complete with their own picture icon, and allows you to move the picture into either places you’ve been or places you want to visit. The list is so all encompassing that there is not one place I’d want to miss, so most of my picture images are in the places I want to visit category.
For only $3 I feel it’s a fantastic app for any travel fiends out there. You’ll spend inordinate amounts of time pouring over the glossy photos and the interesting facts.