What is Polarsteps?
Polarsteps is literally everything I’ve been looking for in a travel app. It’s basically an app that logs where you’ve been by tracking the photos you take in each place. It then calculates the length of each trip, how many steps (or stops) you’ve made along the way, and tells you what percentage of the world you’ve been to. I’m in love!
Here’s my profile, as it looks on the app. It says “Early Adopter”, which I guess shows that the app is still starting out and looking for more people to join the movement. (So can everyone download please?? I am a bit lost on there at the moment!)
You can build up followers as you would on Twitter or Instagram, but your profile outlines where you’ve travelled in the world.
Here’s what it says on the website: “The concept of Polarsteps is simple: schedule your upcoming trips and the app will do its magic. It checks your location from time to time, and plots the results on a colorful map where your family and friends can follow your adventures in realtime. As you approve suggested ‘steps’ and add photos, the travel log populates itself. The app also offers a wide range of statistics, such as trip duration, countries visited and distance traveled. When your trip is finished, an instant photo album can be generated with the push of a button.”
It shows how many kilometres you’ve travelled, which was perfect for our Bulgaria holiday because we rented cars and drove 3 hours to find our secluded villa!
Here in Morzine it’s a great thing to have, because it shows the different resorts we’ve skied to and how many days we’ll have been here in total. It also shows how close we’re coming to the end – so sad! But also really fun to know we’ll have lived here for 141 days in total, and can create a book of our trip when we leave if we wanted to. I kind of wish I’d known about this app sooner, because I’d have made more of a conscious effort to log more steps with photographs.
My profile also shows how many countries I’ve visited and what percent of the world I’ve been to, but annoyingly you can’t then click on these tabs to see an easy-to-read list of them, so that’s somewhere the app could improve.
The app also creates a graphic showing the continents you’ve visited, but it would be good to be able to break this down into countries too, as by looking at this you’d think I’d have seen the whole world, when I’ve only seen about 6%! (I’ve included some more info at the bottom of this post about an app that just logs the countries you’ve been to!)
It also creates a list of the flags you’ve collected, which is a nice touch, and could start to look pretty amazing once you’ve been to 40+ countries.
You can also see how long you’ve spent travelling according to which trips you’ve logged on the app. Obviously not counting all the family holidays that took place before smartphone technology!
So far I’ve logged 17 trips, with 54 steps in them. Jake and I are going to be doing a road trip next month around Italy and The South of France, so I’m going to test the app properly then, as we’ll be making lots of stops in the car. I want to see if I can make a properly detailed trip, all logged on the app like some of the other users seem to have done. Some of them look amazing. I’ll be writing about the whole trip, and aim to do a post for each city we go to too, as I want to take my film camera and try to get some different shots for my blog as well as through my phone for the app.
Finally, you can even see where the furthest place from home you’ve been is. Mine is Sydney in Australia, but some people may have been to opposite poles of the Earth!
That’s the other good thing about it being a social app, as people can compare their stats with their friends and see how far everyone has travelled and learn more about their trips.
It also has the ability to track offline, and uses a very small amount of battery while it does so. I like how people can use the app to gain inspiration for their own trips. One family used it to document their Scandi-Adventure, and it shows photos of them in their van and the exact route they took together in 2016. It’s really useful when planning a trip to see someone else’s route, as often online it can be hard to find something simple shown on a map without loads of companies trying to sell you various packages. This takes it back to basics.
There’s a ‘staff picks’ section which shows some amazing examples of how others have used the app to document their trips, with some incredible photos. This is where I came across the family Scandi-Adventure I mentioned above.
You can also purchase a special travel book after your trip, with all photos and statistics included. This could make a really nice gift or keepsake after an amazing journey with a friend.
Here’s what they say about themselves on their website:
“The founders at Polarsteps are a bunch of passionate travellers who – just like any other traveller – want to tell stories that would make Marco Polo jealous. Yet, we felt that the solutions which were available for this did not capture the essence of how we want to report our journeys. Because while we like to travel slow and intense, we like to track our trips fast and easy. And while we like to track fast and easy, we still want the result to be a vivid and detailed report of our adventures.
We believe in travel karma – do good things to people you meet on your travels, and good things will happen to you. Polarsteps is our attempt to create the best mobile travel tracker in the world and we hope it’ll do lots of good for all those who travel.
Want to return the favor? Please spread the word!”
The next big thing?
“On the 2nd August 2017, Polarsteps announced that it has raised a new €900,000 in seed funding from some of the Netherlands’ most successful internet entrepreneurs. In just two years, the startup has rapidly gained traction amongst travelers. The new funding round is used to hire engineers and further develop its product.” – News from their site.
It’s not very often that I come across something that I can see making a big difference like this, but this seems like something that could really catch on. Being in my line of work (lifestyle PR, communications & social media), I make sure to always take the time to keep up to date with new apps and see which are being talked about the most. With the mistakes Facebook have made in the press recently about leaking data to different apps and Snapchat falling down the toilet since Kylie Jenner said she no longer rated it, I reckon there’s room for an app like this.
Instagram is stronger than ever, and often people use it to document their latest travels and swoon-worthy lifestyles through tagging their locations and places they’ve visited. However, apart from scrolling through their feed, there’s no log or record of their actual journey. Although many like to include a pinpoint of their current location and a mention of their upcoming travels: “NEXT: The Seychelles, Maldives, Positano and the bloody moon…”, there’s no app currently in use that gives you a map view of your journey, with photos, posts, kilometres travelled and more.
While writing this, Polarsteps currently has 3,525 Instagram followers. I predict that this figure will rise rapidly this year, as I can see the app growing in popularity once the word is spread further. They just need to get some big lifestyle/travel influencers behind it to share with their followers, and their app downloads should increase dramatically over the rest of the year. Plus with almost €1 million invested, I’m sure the app will come with some amazing improvements as time goes on…
Search for Polarsteps in the app store and download now!
Another more simple travel app: been
For those who just want to know simply how much of the world they’ve seen, been is another good travel app.
It produces a picture showing how much of the world you’ve visited. It’s actually really cool, and it’s nice to have a simple version to use too, to simply tick off the countries one by one. You can also do the same with US States, to see how much of the US you’ve visited too. It would be amazing if it also listed every city too, so you could start to build up a more specific list of places you’ve visited. But perhaps they’ll add that in one of the updates!
Here’s my current % from the app:
Only 8% of the countries in the world have been ticked off my bucket list! Pretty pathetic. And slightly odd that it’s 8% on this app and 6% on Polarsteps, but I read somewhere that been misses off The Virgin Islands or something so maybe that’s it!
But it does definitely inspire me and gives me a bit of a push to plan more trips, so I’d highly recommend.
If you have any other suggestions of apps that help track travel in a similar way, I’d love to know about them. Feel free to leave a comment below, thanks for reading!