Review: BlackBerry Travel

BlackBerry Travel
By Ryan Blundell on 24 Mar 2011 03:30 pm EDT
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You rely on your BlackBerry to be your partner in crime on a daily basis. Well, hopefully not while your actually committing a crime- that’s a biiiig no-no. The point is that you can always look to it to tell you what’s on your calendar, who is contacting you and where to go. When you’re on the road, who else do you look to in order to keep in touch with who you’re meeting and who you’ve left behind?

Back in February, App World saw the release of the ultimate travel agent you can fit in your pocket- BlackBerry Travel. It takes you to the next step in travelling with your BlackBerry (hence the name). In between BBM and email, you can switch to BlackBerry Travel to help from the planning phase all the way through to the end of your trip. This includes currency conversion, flight information and hotel details. It’s all about empowering the Power Traveller, whether it’s for business or pleasure. With this application, even business trips will be much more pleasurable with the knowledge that your itinerary is safe and sound within your BlackBerry. Pack your bags- we’re taking a trip through BlackBerry Travel.

Next stop, my BlackBerry

The BlackBerry Travel application was recently updated to version 1.0.341.99. You can experience a sense of familiarity when using BlackBerry Travel. It’s no coincidence – the application actually takes some “inspiration” from WorldMate. RIM and WorldMate came together to present this as a Super App, as they call it. Currently, BlackBerry Travel is available to BlackBerry users in Canada, the US, the UK and Spain. The application claims that you need to be running OS 5.0 or higher, but also lists the original Curve (83xx) as a compatible device. BlackBerry Travel has a file size of just over 3 MB, but you are asked to have at least 4mb of space available.

This application has a quite a substantial number of features within it, so hang on. The main menu gives you access to the majority of the options. This menu consists of three stationary buttons at the bottom, (access to My Trips, Booking and Services) as well as 4 different views to scroll through (Upcoming Trips, visiting LinkedIn connections, Hotels and a 5 day Weather forecast for your destination).

BlackBerry Travel Main menu

I couldn’t believe how intuitive this application was. It includes a sync option with which any messages you have in your BlackBerry are sorted through and emails containing travel information are then exported into BlackBerry Travel. Rather than simply listing what each section does, it may be easier to walk through the trip planning process, in order to see the magic.

Trips can be created by selecting either the My Trips button or clicking on ‘Plan a New Trip’ from the Upcoming Trip view. Alternatively, the application will automatically create a trip when it notices a travel confirmation email hits your messages. The steps taken to create a trip entry are pretty straight forward. You are prompted to enter a destination, trip start and end dates, a name (the Blundells bound across the border!) and sharing options with your LinkedIn connections. As you type the destination, the app will automatically try to find a match. Once saved, you are brought back to home screen. The Upcoming Trip view will then reflect the changes. Wait a minute – the Flight, Hotel and Car details are blank...and it’s telling me I’m missing an accommodation entry (for 5 nights to be exact). Let’s fix that by accessing the itinerary and services. You can do this by selecting the trip.

BlackBerry travel detailsBlackBerry Travel search flights

When performing a flight search, origin and destination cities can be selected by entering the city name or airport code – keep in mind that you are not actually booking a flight, so don’t expect to hop on a plane with your BlackBerry alone. The search results are displayed with flight numbers and departure/arrival times. Depending on preferences, this list can be sorted by arrival time, departure time or duration. BlackBerry Travel will monitor selected flights for any update, (delays, etc) as well as display information on the flight details (terminal, gate, eTicket, and confirmation numbers and aircraft information).

BlackBerry Travel search hotelsBlackBerry Travel book now

A trip isn’t complete without a warm bed to sleep in. Time to book a hotel (yes, actually book). Hotels will be listed with images, star rating, and starting rates. By clicking on a hotel, you can view additional pictures, map info, hotel policies and facility information. Searching is easy, picking is not so much – but the app has some awesome methods to help you out. Sorting and filtering options enable you to slim down the “pickins” by Top Picks, pricing, star ratings and by distance from a specific point in the destination city (which is provided for you by the application). So in Seattle, I can find a hotel that is closest to the Husky Stadium or the Frye Art museum. BlackBerry Travel will remember the days you picked for your trip and will use it in helping you choose between types of accommodation and view rates. Each room option has a book now button which brings you to a screen with the total price (including taxes and fee) of the hotel booking. At this point you can proceed with the booking, or call the phone number provided. BlackBerry Travel can also handle keeping track of car rental or any other types of ground transportation. It doesn’t book it, but it acts as a quick reference guide to booking numbers, car type, address and such.

On top of this, BlackBerry Travel has a simple weather application, so you know whether to pack shorts or snow shovels. It cannot compete with the like of applications such as BeWeather, but you can see a 5 day forecast of the city of origin and destination city.

BlackBerry Travel LinkedInBlackBerry Travel currency

With access to LinkedIn, you can see if there are any connections in the city you are travelling to, or if any are visiting you city. You can also post status updates or find LinkedIn connections in specific cities. The application also (whew) includes local search options for restaurants, shopping and nightlife (karaoke!!). Yelp ratings, mapping (BlackBerry and/or Google maps) and additional details can be accessed. Contact number, categories and sorting options are also present. Depending on where you are travelling to, it is handy to know currency conversion. It’s also handy that this app can do currency conversions. It can display the rates for up to 3 different countries simultaneously. Dozens upon dozens of places can be searched through. I tell you, this beats sorting through messages, calendar appointments and memo pad entries any day.

Conclusion

BlackBerry Travel has almost become my travel agent, almost. It only has a portrait view – no landscape view available for would-be travellers. While I can check out flights and times, I cannot view prices. That makes it more difficult to determine when I want to book for. Other than that I was quite satisfied with the functionality it offers. If they could somehow get access to a lot of the discounted rates one could find online, I would be even happier. Depending on your needs, it beats paying for a gold subscription of the actual World Mate Live application (pssst they practically look the same too). You can pick up BlackBerry Travel for Free from BlackBerry App World

Pros

  • Automatic synchronization of confirmation emails
  • Easily create and manage trip details
  • Access to LinkedIn connections
  • View basic weather information


Cons

  • No pricing available on flights
  • No options for discounts
  • No Landscape view

More information/download BlackBerry from BlackBerry App World

Reader comments

Review: BlackBerry Travel

27 Comments

I used this app for my recent trip to Florida with very mixed results. It did a good job of putting my itinerary together, but completely failed to alert me to a gate change on the way to FL, and a delay on the way back. I also sent the itinerary to my wife so she would have all of our travel details. The app made calendar reminders for her in Outlook (which was great), but deleted them the morning of both travel days. The weather also kept reverting to Celcius, which was annoying.

All in all, it's an app with great potential, but still needs some work.

Used this on my last trip. Awesome. Loved the push updates for gate changes and departure times. I use it when not traveling as my weather app as well.

I also used it on my last trip to Europe and was very helpful. Because of last minute changes, I was able to book a hotel, last minute deal, before boarding to the NL and had all the information sent directly to my BB! Didn't have any problems with it updating me on any changes.

I recently used it on a recent trip to FL. Yes, it did notify me that I was traveling that day- except I had to do a BP to clear the LED indicator. There were no "hidden" messages anywhere. Then as the time got closer to leave, I again received an alert. Again, had to do a BP to clear LED. Upon arriving in the connecting city after the phone was switched back on, there was another alert about my connecting flight. Another BP.... A gate change notice... another BP. I uninstalled it while I was away and just used the airlines mobile site to track any changes.

Have any TripIt users switched? I've been using TripIt for a long time & think I'd prefer to stay with a web + blackberry app. But interested if anyone's given both a spin & compared.

You can't find flight prices. That cripples this app for me. I did find it useful when it notified me of a flight delay, but that didn't really save me much trouble because I was already at the airport lol

This is pretty much what i posted on the LAST post about BB Travel, read below

"I do have to say that this is a great app and it looks good as well. Where worldmate has some additions to it, i feel that BB Travel does a great job working with worldmate and having what needs to be there. I feel that its easy to use and has everything that i need when i travel.

Pros
- Can set it up to scan for travel info in your emails
- will remind you if you forgot to book something and if your flights change (for most major airlines)
- Puts trip in BB calendar for you
- Can book hotels right from your phone for fairly cheap prices
- Shows linkedin connections in the area (great for business travel)
- Shows weather of current place and your travel destination

So it has most of what the worldmate has, just crisper and easier UI.

what it is missing is the world clock and weather imagery, which in these days most phones will adjust to new time zones and most people have their own weather app to show weather detail like that.

Cons
- wish it could do more than just book hotels and find flights, wish there were cars, and maybe open table addition for booking for restaurants.
- could use a trip calculator for how much you spend on booking as well as what you budget for the trip and what kind of money you spend on food, shopping, at the bar, and public transit, ect. so if it can be written off for business you know how much and what was spent where.

So that would be some nice additions, also if it could make airport security go faster. We can only wish and hope tho. lol"

Soooooooo stop copying my posts as blogs already lol.

But really i dont have a problem with it not being able to book flights right from the phone. (just in case someone would steal it in the airport) and dont have a problem that it doesnt display horizontal. (i even have a Torch) And really i dont think it needs to, it really wouldnt gain anything from it, (ok MAYBE some people like the on screen keyboard like that, but honestly it does most of the work for you.)

I can't use it...i am italian and at moment that app is no aviable here..... I think that it is a great app and if add a service as kayak app with fly price etc as description in the article.....It would be a complete application.... I hope to try it soon

I still see that all prices continue to be listed in US dollars. Those of us not in the US should not have to MANUALLY convert prices to Sterling, CAN dollars or Euros, the app should seamlessly show all prices in the currency of your base country.

I'd hate to pay the roaming charges for all the checking you would do with this app. Unless you can find wi-fi and this app can use wi-fi......

Pitty that it isn't availiable to customers from the Netherlands yet. Why does this take so long?
I hope that I can start trying it soon too as non north-american citizen.

Why is this not available for the 9670? Is there a way to install manually? If so, I haven't figured it out yet.

This app is super!!!

I book flights for my holiday... received an booking confirmation... bang! all the details are in the BB Travel app. Same thing when i booked the hotel.

Quality app!

what the hell RIM continue the USA-Canada use only policy?

RIM is selling Blackberry around all the world, so what??????????

please make it for all countries use... i reall don't get this shit from RIM

I try to use this app on my 9780 wit os 6.0 but dodn't work. Some Java exception or if i install version from BlackBerry App there is only firs screen and stop :) responding.

I have been using Worldmate gold for all my travel for the last 6 moths. It is a huge help for a major traveler like me. I just started to test Blackberry travel and right of the bat, the inability to auto sync the info with a website access is a huge Con for me....
Another con is the inability to zoom in on input screens.

Great app, but not better than the 'original' WorldMate. I've used WorldMate for several years and just now installed BlackBerry Travel as it wasn't available in the Netherlands before. From all the reviews on the www my expectations were pretty high. I suppose that's what caused my disappointment...

Again; the app is great!
But no improvement from 'the original'...

Deceitful! We had already booked our reservation and three days later we received a new offer to book at a cheaper rate. I didn't check the exact booking, but relied on BBTravel to have offered us a cheaper deal on our present booking. Result: I was tricked into a new offer which was cheaper beacuse it was for 1 person, for one night less. When I realized the misinformation, I cancelled... And it was non refundable! So BBTravel tricked us out of 500 bucks, very DECEITFUL indeed.

For me, it isnt all that great. Its fine if you fly to travel, but if you travel by train - its useless. Further, it didnt pick up hotel reservation confirmations I had made previous to installing the app. I did forward them to blackberry travel, but got a message back that said the message couldnt be processed because it didnt contain any travel data.