Travel is fun but planning for it is not my cup of tea. I prefer quick breaks to long well-planned vacations anytime. The last thing I would think of would be to consult a tour guide or read through the online forums. These days asking for travel tips on social networking sites is getting painful too, as out of the 10 replies only 2 might be useful but then these would also need more research.
In comes Pune based JoGuru that is out with a mission to make your vacation itinerary planning easy, quick and social too. Covered initially at NBW, the startup was tempting enough to give a try with the vacation season in full bloom in the country.
JoGuru has two simple ways to log into the platform – 1. Facebook login, and 2. Email Signup. Both processes are quick and in no time you are on the platform. The home page or the landing page has quite a few things that might confuse a bit so my advice is to check the demo video created by the startup that tells you more about the platform.
You can now click on the existing itineraries created by the users on the platform or check out detailed repositories of tourist spots which are termed as ‘addas’ or ‘places of hangout’ by JoGuru. I started with creating a two-day itinerary for one of my favourite destinations in India – Leh.
Creating simple and quick itineraries
One of the core features of JoGuru, the itineraries tab on the site provides a simple and interesting way to create itineraries. You can click on the existing itineraries created by others; if you like any of them then you can clone it, edit it and make it your itinerary too.
To create your itinerary you need to select a city from the list of destinations, start date and drag the favourite spots in the city to make your trip a memorable one. I did the same for a 2 day trip for Leh. JoGuru suggested me interesting places to visit in Leh, with time and details and once I was done, JoGuru even tried optimizing my itinerary.
Besides this there is a navigation feature displayed as a map to help you locate the place and make you comfortable, specially if you are travelling to the city for the first time. Isn’t that really cool? I am quite impressed with this feature. The below screen grab gives a quick look of my Leh trip. (now if only I could take some time off from my startup!)
If you still need more details about the place or want to find out real people who have visited the place before, then you are at the right place. Simply search for your place like I did for Leh and you are provided the wiki of information about the place. The below screen grab gives you a quick look of the feature.
Apart from general information – you can ask a question, write a trip report, check addas or places that are worth seeing and find people who have been to the place, want to visit , from the city and experts who can guide you too. Isn’t that pretty good info for you to become comfortable about your travel destination and that to all at one place?!
The travel social network
Apart from creating simple and quick itineraries, you can connect with travel buddies like I did with few of them on the network. Once you connect with a user you can go through his created itineraries, questions he has asked and replied on the platform, his trip reports, addas or places created by him on JoGuru, list of places he has travelled to or wishes to go.
Similar features are also provided in personal profile and the more you spend time, the more you can build it in an interesting manner. The below screen grab gives a quick look of my profile and activities on JoGuru.
Features like Trip Reports and Questions not only make your travelling an interesting one but you can also contribute to the platform and improve it further.
How good is JoGuru as a travel network?
JoGuru is simple and brilliant right now. It delivers what it promises with ease, making it a ‘must-use’ network for travellers and especially people like me who don’t want to spend a lot of time asking and scanning information over the web.
Design: JoGuru has a simple design and has taken the pain to make it comfortable for a newbie, while providing the relevant information at the right spot. It uses the card design format or the more popularly called Pinterest-inspired look. One quick suggestion would be simplifying the landing page, so as to not confuse users from where to start.
User experience: The experience was quick and glitch free. As mentioned earlier, the platform has all the required features in place for a newbie to feel at ease. JoGuru will pull you again to just see the places people are travelling to in the world. However being a community driven platform has its own challenges; and I have yet to see any spam on the site thankfully. I am sure the startup is working on it.
Recently we also had a chance to review a similar startup from Bangalore – Traverik, that builds an itinerary for you based on the intelligence that other travellers have liked. In a way, it’s like crowd-sourcing your travel plans with a bit of social.
It’s good to have some competition in the industry still I would recommend that you give some time exploring JoGuru. You won’t regret it.