CHARLOTTE: Travelers with limited time and limited travel budgets who want to maximize their wanderlust explorations may just find Eightydays to be a great place to begin that “Bucket List” quest. As technology advances, the world gets even smaller, and taking the fear out of international traveling, especially for the first time, is what Eightydays is all about.
A free new app for your computer or your phone may just be the biggest innovation in travel since the airplane. Well, maybe not quite that large, but it will certainly makes things easier for first-timers and inexperienced travelers.
Technology has changed how we travel dramatically in the past two decades; GPS, a single currency, for the most part, in Europe, international cell phone services, texting, portable headsets for groups and their guides and pretty much everything in between have all simplified the process of travel.
But now there is an app designed to help you decide where to go and how to get there by generating suggested itineraries while helping you do it cheaply in the process.
Be aware that Eightydays is still in the BETA testing stage so there will likely be changes, additions and deletions but the concept could become a boon for many travelers, especially novices.
Travel the world, or your neighborhood, with Eightydays
“Travel + Leisure” was one of the first major organizations to discover Eightydays, which derives its name from the Jules Verne novel “Around the World in Eighty Days” where the globetrotting hero, Phileas Phogg, bet fellow club members he could circumnavigate the globe in just 80 days.
It’s all about algorithm’s these days, which has nothing to do with a former vice president and his stance on global climate change. Rather Eightydays generates possible travel itineraries between major cities in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
With its rapid calculations, the site saves time at the outset by checking mileages, distances, and maps to “guess-timate” where you may want to go more efficiently.
Already ahead of the game, you can now determine how much time you wish to stay in a destination and plan your travels to and from accordingly so that you don’t spend all your time en route and not enough time touring. At the very least you will not find yourself backtracking through places you have already seen.
More than where to go, how to get there
In addition, the site locates flight and train schedules that are not only convenient but budget-friendly as well. Many American travelers who are unaccustomed to the ease and convenience of the European railway systems usually learn very quickly that renting a car is both expensive and oftentimes frustrating.
For the moment at least, Eightydays is still working out the best ways to provide the most useful information. That said, the site allows travelers to use as many as six destinations in the itinerary planning process and it also limits choices to direct flights and express trains. In that way, there is less wasted time in the actual process of travel.
One other element the algorithm excludes is remote airports that are too far removed from major cities. At the same time, it limits departure times to eliminate the often ridiculous early morning flights that force a 4 a.m. wake up call.
Customizable to your itinerary
According to some critics, one negative feature is that suggested itineraries bring you back to the same point of departure. That’s a minor detail however, that can easily be worked around with a little sweat equity on the part of the traveler.
On the other hand, there are some destinations where starting and ending a trip in the same city is convenient.
For example, visitors going to Rome, Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast may find it far easier to fly in and out of Rome than to fly into Milan and out of Naples or vice versa.
The same could be said in Paris where there are more flights from Charles de Gaulle and, therefore, greater access for those who may want to do Normandy and the Cote d’Azur in the same trip.
If you decide to opt for other choices, there is a “shuffle” button which will suggest an alternative itinerary.
Eightydays takes travelers off the beaten path
For travelers seeking some of those hidden, out of the way places, Eightydays can help with that as well.
Just put in your dates and the cities to visit, and see what they offer. Keep in mind, that it may also be less expensive to travel by train using a national rail pass or one that allows travel by rail to two or three countries.
One minor limitation is that Eightdays will not create an itinerary for more than 20 days but most travelers do not spend that much time away anyway. Furthermore, if you haven’t figured out some little savvy traveler tricks to maximize your itinerary in 3 weeks of traveling, you will probably never get the hang of it anyway.
Lead image: Courtesy Eightdays app
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime