x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

App of the Week: SpotWorld offers Plans Bs for stuck travellers

This smartphone app can help make the most of their unplanned layovers.

spotworld app
spotworld app

It's hard to quibble with the popular platitude, "Happiness is a journey, not a destination" - how can 1.2 million Google entries be wrong? But I'll give it my best shot.

Happiness can be a journey, but not just any journey. Certainly not one that includes an unscheduled 27-hour layover because of a Boeing 737's malfunctioning toilet.

In such cases, happiness is far, far away. Happiness deplaned 30 minutes earlier than you, switched carriers on standby and got a free first-class upgrade because there was no more room in economy. Now it's nibbling grapes and watching The Green Hornet on its own personal video screen at 30,000 feet.

I hate happiness. Happiness is such a jerk.

The app

Being grounded by such circumstances can leave you in a bitter, resentful state. But if you can't be in the place you love, SpotWorld (free, iPhone), can help you love the place you're with.

The smartphone app describes itself as a "global social travel guide", and offers a vast multi-media database that can orient the disoriented in more than 500,000 spots around the world.

The details

Once you download and register the app through your e-mail or Facebook account, you can quickly start searching SpotWorld's content, much of which will prove useful even for those who are already where they intended to be.

But let's say you found yourself stuck for 10 hours in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. SpotWorld can direct you to the Royal Palace, or the Silver Pagoda Museum, or various hotels and restaurants. All you have to do is hit the "Spots Near Me" button.

You can also contribute travel tips, photos and ratings to the app to educate future explorers, and benefit from the experiences of other travellers by browsing their posted itineraries as well.

Most of us may never be able to see the Seven Wonders of the World, but SpotWorld can at least give us a heads-up when we've got a few hours to kill and are within a few hundred metres of something that might arguably make the top 500.

Such a travel app can be a handy companion for wayward souls who know "life is what happens while you're making other plans". Don't even think about arguing with that adage - it's got 11.2 million Google entries.

App of the Week appears in Personal Finance. Have some great personal finance apps that you want to share? Write to Curt Brandao at cbrandao@thenational.ae