In preparation for the big trip I researched and trialled a few travel journals and record keeping apps. These are apps that allow you to log where you have been and when. They usually help you share your trip with others as well as nicely document it for yourself.
The features I was looking for are fairly common for this kind of app.
Document and locate places on a map. Primarily I want to be able to easily identify where I am or have been on a map and refer to it later.
Note taking. I don’t want to write full posts but I need to be able to add notes and details to the places I record so I can remember later what happened where and when.
Photos. I want to be able to associate photos with each day and place. Again I want to add notes to them.
Offline functionality. I anticipated that we will be offline a lot. I need to be able to take notes, track locations and add photos etc… while offline. This is essential.
Longevity. Something that is always a concern to me is picking a service that may no longer be available in the future. Of course I understand when I’m getting something for free it’s hard for me to really expect it will be online forever but it is certainly something I bear in mind when making my selection.
Over the last few months I have been downloading most of the apps that provide journaling features to try them out. I downloaded well over 20 apps to try them out. Most were free.
Many of them including Gogobot, Triposo, HipGeo look lovely but require you to either be online to login in or use. These are a no go and were immediately deleted from my phone. Others such as Travel Album, My Vacation and GeoBlogger were not easy to understand how to use.
Of all those that I downloaded and played with two stood out as being highly suitable – Day One and Mobily.
Day One is a paid app but was so highly rated by others that when I saw it on offer in the App Store I snapped it up. Technical not for travel but acting as a journal Day One is slick. It looks lovely, feels great to use and had nice features I had not even considered such as the ability to capture the weather and export posts as a PDF. Sadly, despite having GPS locations associated with posts, Day One does not show you a map of where you have been. This is a feature I really want so this app was ruled out after I captured a few posts. However, I left it on my phone in case they update it and add other features I’m interested in. Currently there is still no map feature.
A few months went past until I came across Mobily. Unlike Day One it was made specifically for travel and appeared to have some of the mapping features I was interested in. In September I put Mobily through its paces and I must say I was pretty impressed with the results. Not only does it have great offline capabilities (I’ve just been working on it in the camper van), it also allows GPS location mapping, photo importing and note taking. It even had some additional features I like that I had not considered I needed including the ability to print in a journal in a book format and post a link to the trip on Twitter and Facebook. My only minor concerns are that trip maps seem to be limited to each day so I can’t see a map of an entire trip at once and there doesn’t really seem to be anyway to export my data except in the form of the printed book. However, given my research, tests and trials this is the one I have chosen for our big trip journal.
You can checkout my journal of our big trip and watch what we are up before I get a chance to write about it.