Are you supposed to tip waitresses in China? What hand gesture will piss people off in Greece? What kinds of scams are tourists falling victim to these days?
Graceful, well-traveled folks probably don’t need a handheld device to tell them how to behave and get around in foreign lands, but I’m pretty sure the rest of us jackasses could use some help! GlobeMaster is basically a travel encyclopedia that covers local customs, laws, food, attractions, and a ton of other general knowledge stuff in 260+ countries and 1,400+ cities worldwide.
It’s an impressive collection of knowledge, and I think you’d have a hard time visiting a country NOT listed in this app. Even Vanuatu is listed! The locals there are probably still in therapy since Jeff Probst and his Survivor contestants ran wild all over their islands, but if you plan on dropping in GlobeMaster will tell you what you need to know.
The information offered for each country is more or less the same, but there are some variations depending on what location you’re looking at. If it’s a place where the national pastime is preying on tourists, those scams will be addressed under the Be Safe section. If you’re looking to find work within someone else’s borders, the app will point out major industries that foreigners can easily jump into. If you’re heading for a culture that goes nuts over respect and social hierarchies (basically anywhere in Asia), that will be included as well.
Although GlobeMaster boasts over 4,100 photos, remember that it also covers 1,400 cities… in other words, don’t be expecting a ton of pictures for every single location. Each place does come with a section that opens up an in-app Google map, but the photos you’re gonna find in this app will be mostly limited to stuff you probably already know about like major landmarks and maybe some kind of traditional food.
Some of the information references data that’s a few years old, but for the most part this app is about guiding you on things that typically require a long time before any dramatic change takes place… things like transportation, social customs and attitudes, and kinds of food you’ll find along the way. Based on what little I can attest to personally, I feel pretty good about GlobeMaster’s relevance and quality of info.
Oh, and by the way… don’t bother buying a tip calculator or unit converter! I know you think you’ll need those things when you’re traveling abroad, and you probably will, but GlobeMaster has both of those functions built in and they work just fine. The unit converter’s most obvious use is for figuring out money, but it can do speed, temperature, weight, and all those other common conversions as well. Keep in mind that you’ll need some kind of network connection for the exchange rates to get updated (everything else in this app is contained offline, except for maybe maps).
If you’re a frequent flyer this app should come in handy, and even if you’re just really curious about places you’ll never visit it still makes for a pretty good read. I wouldn’t say GlobeMaster makes traditional guide books completely obsolete, but if nothing else it should give you a good idea of what you’re in for when you book that flight to BFE.
iTunes Link – GlobeMaster
Reviewed on iPod Touch 2nd Gen OS3.0