There’s no shortage of apps geared to help travelers. We’ve reviewed a few in the past like Google Trips, and we’re constantly testing new apps to see if we can find and recommend the best travel apps. Today, I want to share an app that really impressed me. It’s called Detour, and it was created by Andrew Mason, who is the founder of Groupon.

The app is available for both iOS and Android, and claims to have audio tours available in 180 cities. If you’re planning a trip, you might want to check it and download the different tours. In fact, all of their audio tours are currently free until the end of May 2018.

You might be asking, “what makes this audio tour app different than others?” It’s a good question, so let’s examine why this app is so unique.

Features and Highlights

1. Themes:

You’ll notice right away that most cities have multiple tours available, sometimes in the same general area. For example, when I look at the Venice area of Los Angeles, there are actually two tours listed in the app, with different themes and focus areas. This makes a lot of sense in a place like Venice where you have a very strong contrast between the boardwalk, which is famous for places like Muscle Beach, professional skaters, and artists, and the residential areas and community of Venice which were modeled to look like the Venice canals in Italy. Most of the tours seem to be focused on giving you a more local experience, rather than just focusing on major landmarks.

2. Unique narrators:

The app features some interesting and famous people as their narrators. For example, when scrolling through some of the notable voices, I noticed names like Jenny Zigrino and Ken Burns. It’s really nice to not only hear their voices, but also get their unique perspectives during the tour.

3. Previews:

You can get a video or audio preview of the tour before purchasing it. It’s really a cool feature that can help when trying to decide between several different tours in the same area or city. The first five minutes of a tour is free, so you can see if you like it before purchasing, which is a nice touch.

4. Cost effective:

Most tours are around $5 to $8, and last around 45 minutes. This might seem like a lot, but when you compare it to the cost of using a local tour operator, it’s pretty cheap. Plus, all the tours are free until the end of May 2018.

5. Steps and distance tracking:

The iOS app allows you to use the device’s Motion and Fitness tracking, which allows you to track your steps. It’s additional incentive to do a walking tour, especially if you have fitness goals in mind.

6. Navigation:

The app provides a lot of cues on where you need to go. There’s an arrow that tells you the direction you need to be facing and instructions on where to turn. There’s even an augmented reality mode which shows you the direction and target location within device’s camera view.

7. Ability to share and sync tours with friends:

I absolutely love this feature. You can share and sync the tour with friends using a QR code. The app basically set-ups a wifi network with your friends and allows you to stream your tour onto their app and devices. This means that only one person needs to have purchased the tour. Also, there are no restrictions on the number of people that can be sharing a tour at a time.

Final thoughts

As you can tell, I think it’s a great app to use when visiting a city, or even exploring your home city. The app lets you find places and learn details that are often not on tourist radars or included in guidebooks. This app is especially awesome for those traveling solo and looking to explore a new place. The fact that you can share the app with friends makes it really fun and versatile.

One thing to note is that the app was recently purchased by Bose, and is it looks like the company is planning to integrate it with their own app, as well building in more augmented reality to the experience. I’m excited to see how this app evolves. It looks like because of this acquisition, they are trying to get the buzz out there with the free tour downloads until the end of May.

Have you tried the Detour app? Do you have any other favorite audio tour apps that you use? Please let us know in the comment section.


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