App

Blink wants you to approach your travel life like you do your love life – by swiping right.

Price: Free
Version: 1.2.1
Size: 59.8 MB
Developer: 70 Division
Platform: iPhone / iPad

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This trail-blazing travel app will look familiar to those that have previously used dating apps like Tinder or Bumble – the idea is that users are presented with options and either swipe right to match or left to discard. Of course, its similarity to dating apps ends there – this is more of a design decision to follow the success of those apps. Even games have employed this technique in recent years.

Start by picking one of the many options – listed in no particular order – and with previews of new zones coming soon

One thing to note is that this app only works in certain locations – but there’s a ton of them. From London to New York, from Rome to Kyoto – if you’re in a nation’s capital or tourist hotspot, you’ll likely find the app will work. This targets it squarely at holiday-goers or capital-city-dwellers.

As the international jet-setters that we are, we tested this app in locations on either side of a very big pond – San Francisco and London. We found that the suggestions offered were of a decent variety. We weren’t just given museums or monuments, but also suggestions to try the city’s local food trends, such as the Hangtown Fry in San Francisco.

The types of cards vary, from single visit attractions, to travel guides, to cuisines

We sometimes found that the cards offered weren’t entirely clear in what they were suggesting, but that’s okay as tapping the ‘i’ icon will throw up more information than you’d ever expect to find on a Tinder match. Exploring the Hangtown Fry card gave us an explanation to exactly what it was (an American dish prepared with eggs, bacon, and oysters) as well as a number of other cards below that deal with this option more specifically.

However, we do question how well this works – perhaps these cards are matched by cuisine rather than specifics, because we were recommended to go to Brenda’s French Soul Food for this dish and on arrival found that it wasn’t on the menu. Though we did try some delicious beignets, so it wasn’t a wasted trip!

The guides provide plenty of decent information to get you started in each location

You’d have to question how successful this could be though. You’d either have to have a large team checking these locations to ensure accuracy on a regular basis or be a little vaguer in these promises.

And quite honestly, the minor frustrations don’t end there. We spent a lot of time swiping right on activities we wanted to partake in, but when heading to the ‘My Trips’ tab, we found that our choices simply weren’t there. Considering the app specifically states it’s “like Tinder, but for places,” we expected it to work this way. It turns out that swiping either left or right just takes you to the next card. You have to either tap the tick or the heart to save (but there doesn’t seem to be much difference between the two options.)

Each card has further information, including links to more sub-cards that provide even more specific options

There are other features, such as matching with other users to gain tips, but sadly we only matched with the app’s developer. This could be a neat feature if the user base grows, though. It seems that Blink’s strengths are deeper within the app. The guides are great, and there are numerous ways of finding stuff to do, such as a specific search option and a map where you can see what’s around you.

It’s a shame the app boasts about its design despite several confusing interface choices. Though the app has a lot of detail and options, other apps will still likely rise above, such as Lonely Planet’s various offerings. But despite some flaws, Blink is a free and genuinely useful app that will give you plenty of interesting ideas when exploring a new city. Just don’t expect a one-stop shop for your travel needs.

Review: Blink – like Tinder, but for places
A decent stab at a travel app but it doesn't follow through on its gimmick
For
  • Looks great
  • Plenty of good recommendations
  • Multiple ways to find things
Against
  • Swipe interface kinda pointless
  • Social element currently lacking
3.5Overall Score