Our review of the popular travel app "Polarsteps". We dig into their features, the pros and cons, and give you all the details you need to decide whether or not it's for you!
If you love traveling around the country or world exploring new places, you would also love the idea of tracing the routes, journaling your experiences, and immortalizing the memory of each journey. Say you got chewed by a camel in Dubai or got lost in a forest while hiking. You don’t want to forget them, do you?
But, the norm of maintaining a conventional travel journal is gradually fading away with the increased popularity of travel apps that serve the same function that is more convenient and less time-consuming. Polarsteps is one of them.
Today, Polarsteps is a popular app among globetrotters and travelers who want all their travel planning, tracking, and sharing to happen in one place. But, if you want to know whether the app appeals to your requirements, read our comprehensive review first!
What is Polarsteps?
Polarsteps is primarily a travel planning and tracking app that lets people be in touch with their travel journeys before, during, as well as after the trips. It’s available in both Android and iOS versions for mobile, although you can also log in via their website. It’s free to download and use. The company, based in Amsterdam, is founded and managed by a team of passionate travelers who aim to make travel journaling a convenient task for wanderlusts around the world.
How do you use Polarsteps?
1. Plan your trip
After creating an account, you can begin to plan your trips by selecting the location of the destination, adding steps along your desired route, and marking the main stops you intend to make along the way. However, we must say that as a trip planner, Polarsteps' features are very limited.
2. Track your trip
Once you schedule the date and time of your trip, the app will handle most of the tasks for you. It automatically plots the route on a detailed map by constantly checking your whereabouts, marking the duration and distance at each step. The accuracy of trips depends on the mode you select; Ultra Light, Balanced, or High-Accuracy.
While it adds many statistics this way, you can also comment about your experience using notes and photos in each step. As an example, if you want to make a note of your adventures like scuba diving in Australia or camping on Mt. Kilimanjaro, create a pin/stop and include your story.
3. Share your trips
I think one of the promising features Polarsteps offers is the ability to share your real-time location with your loved ones. It not only lets them be a part of it and envy it but also eases their worries about your existence. This way, you don’t have to wait until you reach home to shower your friends and family with details. You can also share your past trips with people and inspire fellow travelers.
In addition, you can get a printed version of your trips in the form of a book for 30-80 Euros.
How to follow someone on Polarsteps
On every profile in Polarsteps you'll find a "Follow" button. On desktop, it's on the top right of the screen. On Mobile it should be at the top of their profile.
You may want to share your profile with others if you're using Polarsteps. The easiest way to d this is to click the "share button", usually located next to or near the follow button depending on what platform you're on.
You can share the link to your travels to your friends and family with Polarsteps, and they can follow those trips directly from the link that's shared with them.
What we like about Polarsteps
You can have a travel book printed for your trip
This is how Polarsteps makes money. They track your trip, you record your notes and anything else relevant, and then they offer you the ability to have your trip printed out and sent to you via their printing service. You get your own little travel book printed out and ready to share. It's a nice touch, but probably overkill for shorter trips.
The app doesn’t drain your battery a lot, and on average, requires only 4% for full-day tracking. It comes in handy when you don’t have access to charging sources very often. However, using GPS for high-accuracy tracking can drain the battery faster.
Doesn’t require internet connectivity to function
Polarsteps uses GPS, Wi-Fi, and cellular signal to trace your route but an internet connection isn’t compulsory. So, if you want to lower data charges or don’t have connectivity, the app is still reliable. The data collected offline will be synchronized once you go online.
The app gives you the complete license to manage who has access to your trips. There are three options, such as ‘only me,’ ‘my followers,’ and ‘public.' You have the option of changing your privacy settings for each trip.
Since it starts tracking automatically, you don’t have to go through the hassle of monitoring it continuously. The app’s interface is not complex in design, which makes it easy to navigate and use.
More sharing options
In addition to sharing the trips with friends, you can also share it on social media directly. Also, it’s not necessary for people to have an account on Polarsteps to view your travel trips. You can send a private link to anyone you wish to share your journey with.
What Polarsteps Can Do Better?
No GPS for iOS yet
GPS-tracking is only available for Android users at present. For iOS users, this could mean minute inaccuracies and lack of tracking at sea.
Glitches and bugs
Users seem to encounter some issues like the app crashing after using it for some time, loss of trip details, and the inability to edit your trip easily. However, not everyone seemed to have these problems.
Short of some nice-to-have features
It would be great if this travel app also adds weather as a statistic, allows us to export our trips in PDF or similar formats, and geotags photos automatically.
Lack of synchronization
Polarsteps is yet to support the use of multiple devices with the same account. It’s not impossible, but you will find certain details or steps to be missing making it ineffective. This also means it’s not possible to plan a trip together as a group using a single account.
Is the Polarsteps app free?
The Polarsteps app is free to download and use, but you have to pay for the travel book if you want one printed for you.
How much does Polarsteps cost?
The travel book printing isn't cheap. For a 24 page book you'll be paying a minimum of €30 (about $36 USD) up to €80 (about $97 USD) for their largest books. Memories are priceless, so it may be worth it for you to buy this. For us though, we're happy with keeping our photos easily accessible and shareable online for free, or getting to enjoy the experience of scrapbooking with friends and making our own.
Enhance your Polarsteps Experience with Pilot
Planning your travel journey seamlessly is important as tracking it accurately. While Polarsteps offers you some basic features to plan your travel trips, it’s not well-equipped with extensive features to help you map out a foolproof plan for a hassle-free journey.
If you like to plan an itinerary in a detailed, comprehensive, and of course, a very enjoyable manner, you should try Pilot. It gives backpackers what they crave the most; the ability to plan every detail about their travel trips in one place, alone or with a group of people. You can include every nitty-gritty detail from destinations to visit, food to try, and things to do in your itinerary!