Appy trails


travelmap

Where have your travels taken you? How many countries have you visited? How about your friends? Thanks to a bunch of new mobile apps keeping track has never been easier. Here I review my top 5 free 'travel tracker' apps from the App Store.


1. Mark O’Travel

Mark O'Travel takes the number one spot. It is easy to use and has a wide range of settings available, making it the most versatile app.

MarkO

Countries & Territories: there are 6 different 'country list' formats including the 195 UN member countries and the 324 Travelers Century Club places. The country count list on the home page contains additional information: each country has either an 'info' link to Wikipedia or a more detailed country map (the country maps with territories and regions need to be purchased).

Format: Its home page has a small world map, with the shaded areas indicating the countries visited, below that the app lists every country visited under regions: Africa, Australia & Oceania, Central America, Central Asia, East & South East Asia, Europe, Middle East, North America, South America, South Asia. Each country has additional features: either a detailed map or country info via Wikipedia. There are statistics shown for the world and for each region. These statistics are represented with a number count or a percentage.

Ease of use: it is easy to select multiple countries - editing mode gives you the complete list and a selection button beside each, one touch to select each country then accept all changes. The settings menu is also easy to navigate and to use.

Share: the travel map & statistics can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, email, Messenger & iPhone messages (and air drop)


2. CountryCounter

CountryCounter takes the number two spot, and the first thing that you need to know is that you must sign up to access the app (you can edit your profile at a later time or delete your account). The second thing is that there is a published 'leader board'.

countrycount

Countries & Territories: the app lists 196 countries and some overseas territories (which are counted separately). If you click on the info icon on the top left of the home page you will get a neat explanation of which countries are counted and why.

Format: The home page is called 'my passport' and lists four different statistics: countries visited, countries not visited, Wish list and Territory Count. The colour scheme is grey and blue. There is a 'leader board' tally for all users (your Facebook friends are listed under a separate tab). There is also an additional travel diary facility for each country where you can add dates, places, notes and photos.

Ease of use: Countries are added individually and you must enter a date for your visit (month and year). This can be time consuming when you first set up your account, particularly if you have already visited many countries, or if you want to add multiple countries at the same time.

Share: you can share your map and statistics on Facebook and Twitter.


3. Been

Been takes the number three spot. It is easy to navigate, use and share.

been

Countries & Territories: 245 countries including Antarctica. Each country has a link to Wikipedia, providing additional country information.

Format: Been has a similar layout to Mark O’Travel, you will find the country count list and small map on the home page (it also offers two map options: the USA and the World) The colour scheme is orange and grey - grey for 'unvisited' and orange for 'visited'. Your travel map is displayed on the 2D map, but click on this and it expands to 3D spinning globe. The statistics calculates the total country count or total percentage count, as well as the percentage count or individual count for each region.

Ease of use: the app is very easy to use, all of the countries appear in a list on the home page, to add a country you select the '+' sign on the top left of the home page and then select 'done'.

Share: you can share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, email, Messenger & iPhone messages (and air drop)


4. iScratchMap

iScratchMap comes in at number four. It is based closely on the popular 'scratch' wall maps, featuring a very similar travel map. Although it is free, it is the only app reviewed here with advertising (a narrow advertising bar appears at the top of the home page).

scratch

Countries & Territories: 220 countries and territories

Format: the travel map is designed to look like the original scratch map ie the world is initially shaded gold, the visited sections are then 'scratched' back to reveal green land. It appears with a landscape orientation only.

Ease of use: there is a brief video on YouTube explaining how to use the app - to create a map (and you can create more than one) you save a map name and then edit the map by making a selection or multiple selections from the countries listed in a long alphabetised menu divided into Africa, America, Oceania, Europa and Asia. Just click 'done' and the map is generated.

Share: once you've made your map it can be shared on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


5. Been2 & Pindex

At fifth spot there is a tie between two apps: Been2 and Pindex. Been2 has a basic, but functional interface without a travel map and Pindex has attractive travel map and statistic pages but a poor search facility. If Pindex improved their search facility it would be my outright pick for fifth spot.

been2

Been2 by Tour Radar is a basic app with two functions: record the countries visited and share the final count.

Countries & Territories: there are 236 countries and territories listed, all of them are included in the country count statistics.

Format: it is a simple country counter app - there are two pages: one page with every country/territory (represented with round, stylised buttons featuring official flags) and one page with statistics indicating your country count. Both pages feature cool graphics.

Ease of Use: it is very easy to use, you select every country you have visited from the list then click on 'I'm done'. A page is then generated with a traveller 'level' and the number of countries visited - there is no world map.

Share: at the bottom of the statistics page there is a share option that takes you straight to Facebook.

Pindex

Pindex by Trakk is a great looking app hindered by an unreliable search engine.

Countries & Territories: it is unknown how many countries and territories the search engine supports

Format: the app features an attractive world map with places marked with blue pins. The statistics page features the same blue colour in the background and shows the percentage of the world visited (the percentage 'dials' up around a round graphic before displaying the numerical value) and the total numbers of places and countries visited are displayed below this.

Ease of Use: in this app you search for a place, select this place from the results list then add the place, when you navigate to your travel map you will find that a blue pin has been dropped onto the map. You can purchase different coloured pins, but the default (and free) colour is blue.

Multiple selection is not available. It will only pin places found via the search function, which has a North American bias and is quite unreliable. For instance, it found Nassau in New York but not Nassau the capital of the Bahamas. Likewise, it found Havana, Florida but not Havana, Cuba! And I could not locate Buenos Aires, Dublin, Jakarta or Athens, the respective capital cities of Argentina, Ireland, Indonesia and Greece. Nor could I find any place in Argentina!

Curiously, there are two 'search' pages. I'm not sure what the first page is for, but look for the '+' sign in the top right corner, it will take you to the second search page where you can add places that you've visited.

Share: you cannot share the travel map or statistics, but these days that's no big deal as you can capture a screen shot yourself and share that


If you like to track your travels then there is an app out there for you. The comprehensive settings menu puts Mark O'Travel in a class of its own. You have control over language, colours and the country list, but if you like to compare your travels with others then CountryCount's leader board may make it the app for you. If you love your scratch map and want the digital version to share on social media then check out iScratchMap. If you prefer to see pins on a map then perhaps Pindex is the right app for you. Or if you want a great looking app that presents the countries visited either on a map or as a statistic then check out Been or Been2.

If you can't decide on a particular app then download a few and take them for your own road test. They are all available from the App Store and they are all free. Appy travels!