I have never been a first generation adapter of anything. My iPod is five years old, I don’t have a smart phone, and I only joined Facebook in July. The iPad was the exception to this rule. Light and easily transportable, it was the perfect piece of technology for someone moving to a foreign country and not wanting a lot of baggage. But the iPad is nothing without your personally curated selection of apps. Enter My Vacation HD.
As I prepared for a 10 day vacation to Central Europe, My Vacation HD came to my attention. This app is a digital travelogue that allows you to incorporate text, images, video, and audio into one cohesive and dynamic record of your trip. As someone who used to make illustrated scrapbooks for every vacation she went on, this updated digital version was highly appealing. And for $4.99 (the iphone version is $2.99) it’s hard to go wrong.
The app is easy to use and is more than just a diary. Prior to leaving you can take advantage of the “to do” and “pack” sections, which act as a checklist so you won’t forget anything. They start you off with suggestions (batteries, bathing suit, passport) and you can add your own. As a chronic list-maker, this was a serious plus for me. There is also a “notes” section where you can input any other miscellaneous information you want, such as sites you’d like to see, restaurant recommendations from a friend, or hotel and flight information and confirmation numbers.
When you enter all the locations you will be visiting, My Vacation HD immediately generates a map with pushpins on each destination. Each location also gets a page with the local time, weather for the week, currency exchange (from USD to local currency), and the Wikipedia entry for that destination. Just note that this page of course only works with an internet connection.
Each day you can type up a journal entry and add photos and video. I find typing on the iPad for long stretches to be frustrating, so have the wireless keyboard (which I highly recommend – it elevates the iPad from toy to functional computer). This made easy work of keeping the daily diary, which would have been a much shorter account otherwise.
Uploading photos and video is a little trickier on the first generation iPad, which has no camera or USB connection. There is a nifty new plug that allows a USB to be plugged straight into the iPad, which would allow you to transfer photos directly. As I don’t have this (yet) I had to transfer the photos to my laptop, and then to my iPad which was a few more steps than I would have liked. However, with the new iPad this will be irrelevant.
Finally, when the trip and corresponding travelogue have been completed the app allows you to create a post on your blog, view your trip on a computer browser, email it to people, create a Facebook album, or make a Flickr photoset. This makes it easy to share your vacation in a much more interesting and interactive format than the standard slideshow.
I do think that the first generation iPad is probably the least well-suited device to get the most out of the app and believe that the experience would only be heightened on an iPhone or new photo-equipped iPad. But all in all I would recommend My Vacation HD. Its versatility and ease of use make it a good value for the money and a fun way for any Go Girl (or anyone) to create an exciting account of her trip.