It’s been quite the whirlwind year of travel for me. After visiting 20 countries and 43 cities, it seemed that almost every other weekend I was jetting off somewhere new. So, when my trip to Stockholm landed right between a trip to the U.S. for a wedding and a girl’s weekend in Ireland I was overwhelmed. I barely had any time to plan my Stockholm weekend at all. Lucky for me, Google had just released a new app called Google Trips. As a bit of a tech nut, I figured this would be a great time to test out the new travel app Forbes and others were raving about. I mean it’s Google, so it has to be amazing, right? Mostly yes, but there are still some shortcomings which will we discuss in this article. I used the app solely to plan my weekend in Stockholm, and here is my Google Trips app review.
Google Trips App Review
It was a cold Friday morning. My travel partner and significant other was working for the day, so I set out on a solo tour of Stockholm. With no prior planning involved I opened my Google Trips app. Thanks to the easy syncing from my Google account the app already knew I was in Stockholm and for how long. In this regard it acts much like Tripit. However unlike Tripit, it’s very easy to follow and geared toward the every day traveler, rather than the points lover or business traveler. This is probably one of the best features. Gone are the days of searching my inbox for “Lufthansa Confirmation,” until I find the email with the dates. Everything I needed was here, including the location of my hotel. Google had already generated day trips and ideas for my three days in Stockholm.
Not knowing much about the neighborhoods, I choose the day trip closest to me and followed their step by step map for the Östermalm and Norrmalm neighborhoods. The tour started in a park like plaza, continued to the History Museum, various churches and the opera house. Since I had downloaded the Stockholm area, it was really nice to have Google present Wikipedia type entires on each location, so I could learn about the history and facts for each stop instantly. This reminded me much of another app I use called Triposo. However this was MUCH easier to use, more informative and concise. I did enjoy wandering around the museum, but everything else was a quick stop to look at a rose garden or a statue. I found myself simply enjoying the city more than the tour I was on.
Later that afternoon I met up with my boyfriend. He left work to meet me half way through my tour. We were both a bit peckish and opened the app and searched through the “Traditional Swedish” dining section for lunch. We found a place with a 4.1 rating and enjoyed our locally sourced afternoon snack. It was nice to have a map option, so we could search for traditional food near us, the app also includes the Google rating, peak times and business hours. After lunch We continued to follow the day guide from earlier, but quickly grew bored. My boyfriend who had been to Stockholm before remembered a fun area full of bars and restaurants by the water. So, we cut the tour short and went out for a drink.
His parents landed that night and we needed somewhere to eat for dinner. I had my heart set on seafood, since that was something the entire family could enjoy. I was disappointed there was no search option in the dining part of the app. We ended up closing the app and using google maps and search to find a place we all liked. It would be nice to search in the app based on a food type rather than pre determined restaurant type, like fine dining or cafe. We choose a well rated seafood house and set off. Our dinner was enjoyable and the entire family had a good time!
The next day we wanted something indoors the entire family could do. The weather was cold, rainy and windy. Winter was coming. I popped open the app and went to their activity indoor idea section. We had all heard of the Vasa Museum and quickly decided this was the right option for us. It was nice to have indoor activities listed for bad weather, since no one wanted to be outside or wandering around looking for something to do. After an afternoon exploring the museum, we used the app to find a suitable restaurant near us.
The evening drew near and it was time to find a fun cocktail bar or jazz club. I opened the app once again and searched for a Nightlife section. I found only a sentence or two describing the nightlife in Stockholm. With Stockholm known for Jazz clubs we were a bit disappointed and I was hoping for detailed section with bars, clubs, jazz halls and events. We resorted back to the standard googling of top jazz clubs in Stockholm. We found one and had a great night! As a nightlife guru, myself I would love to see Trips expand past your basic day guide. They’re missing the mark for Millennials who might be using the app to find a good party or a stiff drink.
On our last day in Stockholm we chose another one of their basic day trips, as I really didn’t have time to plan our tour. This time we were heading into Galma Stan, the historic district. This tour took us around to the City Hall, Royal Palace, into the Nobel Museum, a few other churches and some historic buildings. This tour was better than my first day, but I think that’s because the area was more interesting to me. Still everything was quite basic and easy to find on my own. Both day trip tours we did, only took a few hours, so to optimize your day you would need to find additional areas to add to the map.
Overall, the weekend was great and we were able to see the highlights of Stockholm, but it wasn’t my cup of tea in terms of ideas of things to do. Most things we enjoyed had been suggested by someone who had been to the city before, a local tip or good old fashion researching. Here’s a quick run down of the pros and cons of my Google Trips app review.
The pros I found are all really positive things, but I think Google has a ways to go to flesh this into an app I would use over my own research or plans.
I know I am speaking out against Google. I haven’t been able to find a review of this product that really looked at it objectively without praising google based on what they promised to do. There are definitely a few flaws with this app and you still have to do your part and use your favorite travel bloggers to help you plan the best trip.
My Google Trips app review conclusion is, that a solid start. For the price of FREE, you really can’t go wrong and it should be in every travelers and bloggers phone. The app is making huge strides toward streamlining the travel app industry. It’s great to have an offline option for this all inclusive app for travelers. Despite a few lacking features, like share and search, I will use it again. I won’t make the same mistake twice and next time I’ll take the time to plan a custom trip that I can enjoy. Overall, I would give it a 3/5 stars.