We’re diehard TripAdvisor users. We use it on a daily basis to check up on hotel and restaurant reviews and ratings, and we use it to research attractions when we visit a place. We’ve written tons of reviews ourselves, earning TripAdvisor’s “Top Contributor” badge, as a “Level 5 Contributor”, “Restaurant Expert 12”, and with almost 8,000 points as of this writing. TripAdvisor makes us feel very special, obviously, but as Drew Carey said, “The points don’t matter.” If you’re interested, you can check out our TripAdvisor Profile.
In short, if you don’t have the TripAdvisor app on your phone, you should download it today.
So a while back we started to notice a nifty little feature we thought blog-worthy for our TripAdvisor-using readers (which should be everyone). The inherent problem with any such app is that when the Internet goes away, so does the wonderful information they serve up. This happens more often than anyone would like, such as when you’re in a bad coverage area (strolling between tall buildings in your destination), don’t have wifi to connect to, or are on an airplane (and don’t want to pay the premium rates for Internet-in-the-sky, IF it’s available). Inevitably, the moment you want to read up on restaurants or decide which museum to visit is when you don’t have Internet.
TripAdvisor obviously aims to head this problem off with the ability to download information to your phone or tablet so it can be accessed while offline. This download isn’t available for all destination areas, but we’re hoping (assuming) that TripAdvisor is busy adding more. When a destination is available for download, and you’ve searched for a destination like San Antonio, Texas in my examples, you’ll spot a little circular “Download” button in the top right corner of the screen (see screen capture at the top of this blog). Simply tap it.
|Downloading TripAdvisor’s San Antonio Library|
Obviously it takes a bit of forethought to do this: you’ll have to download while you do have Internet, preferably wifi as the size can be relatively large (34MB for San Antonio, but 268MB for a destination like Paris). But once you’ve downloaded it, you no longer need Internet access to see summary information about hotels, restaurants, and attractions in your downloaded city, including their rankings.
|The Green Checkbox Indicates You’ve Download That Destination|
|Offline Viewing of San Antonio Restaurants|
To demonstrate the feature, I’ve now entered Airplane Mode (note the airplane icon at top left on my iPhone) so I no longer have Internet. But tapping into San Antonio’s Restaurant list, I still get results. I even get the thumbnail picture, ranking, average review and count of reviews, and type of cuisine. If I were interested in reading up on Saveurs 209, the top-rated restaurant in all of San Antonio, I can just tap it.
|Saveurs 209 in San Antonio|
Here’s where you start to see the difference in downloaded content versus live content. The download doesn’t store all the pictures for all the thousands of restaurants and hotels and attractions in a city: you’d easily fill your phone memory. Neither does it download all the detailed reviews. You do get the overall info we mentioned earlier, plus contact and address information. You can even pinpoint it on the map, though the map isn’t interactive.
Should you be lucky and find yourself with Internet when you need it, those missing pieces of content–as you might expect–do get filled in. Efficiently, that’s all that needs to be downloaded in this case.
|Saveurs 209 On The Map|
We think this is a great new feature, so kudos to TripAdvisor for better enabling our travels.
In case you’re wondering how you might delete a downloaded destination once you’re done with it, simply look up that destination city again, and on the main page tap the green checkmark circle icon: a menu option pops up allowing you to delete the downloaded content. Then you’re off to your next destination.