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How Are Travel Apps Created?

And how it got me thinking about developing my own app.

Map camera smartphone

Sometimes I feel like what I’m doing is kind of old school. Just running a basic blog on the internet seems almost antiquated these days. At one point, I wondered if it was still a good thing or if I should move on. I mean, the blog has worked great for so many years – it’s clean, easy to read, has a newsletter popup, donation box, and everything I need. But eventually, I started thinking about how I could not just improve it but take it in a whole new direction.

The App Idea Took Root  

Then this idea popped into my head and stayed there: What if I turned my blog into an app? It sounded silly at first because I run a blog, and blogs aren’t really things that need apps. But then I thought more about it. I know travel inside and out from traveling worldwide for years, and I know some travel app developers because of it. But most existing travel apps aren’t all that useful for me – they’re too specific, only provide one function, or are cluttered with unnecessary junk. I usually just use my laptop for everything travel-related, but maybe that’s just a generational thing.

But what if I could combine all my travel experience and blog content into something stellar – an app I would actually use myself and that my readers would love too. An all-in-one travel companion with tips, guides, social features, and everything a vagabond traveler like me needs on the road.

The Coding Roadblock

Then reality set in. I’m not a coder. I’m tech-savvy enough to run my blog but actually building an app feels like a bridge too far. It requires skills, time, and financial investment that I don’t really have.  

But being the traveler that I am, I knew I had to at least research how to make it happen before deciding if it’s possible or not. At that point, I didn’t know what would come of it, but I needed to understand the process.

The Development Process

As I dug in, I found that every app starts with a research phase. That’s basically market research and competitor analysis – knowing who it’s for, who the competitors are, analyzing existing apps, etc. I kind of did that already for myself, but I’d need to formalize it.  

Then it’s on to design – both how it looks visually but also how it functions and flows for users. For me, I’d want something clean and minimalist, without clutter, but also an easy user experience.

When it comes to actually developing the app, as a non-technical person, it seemed really complicated at first. But if you’re not building the next Google, it’s more straightforward than I thought. You just need to decide on coding languages, frameworks, and development methodologies, and then work with developers who know what they’re doing. Many apps are built on shoddy code which holds them back, so you’d want to use something solid like React Native, Flutter, or Swift.

After development comes testing – making sure there are no bugs or glitches that prevent people from using it effectively. This is an ongoing process as new updates create new issues to fix. No app is perfect, but you have to get it down to an acceptable level.

Then even after you’ve released it to the App Store (a complex process itself), you have to figure out how to get people to actually download it through marketing, ASO optimization, ads, and more. With my existing reader base, I may have a head start, but it still might not be enough if I want it to really take off.

The Reality Check 

Here’s the thing – this isn’t a one-person job. There are “app builder” tools that let you create something basic. But to build a truly great, high-quality app, you need serious development resources and investment. Otherwise, it’ll never be finished or be extremely subpar.

Will I Actually Do It?

So will I actually take the jump and build my own travel app? Maybe… or maybe not. Part of me really wants to, while another part says it’s not worth the hassle and investment for me right now. The big downside is it requires funding that I don’t have easy access to. But the upside is that done right, it could create a great additional income stream, maybe even passive earnings if I’m lucky.

At the very least, looking into it gave me a newfound respect for professional app developers who do this for a living. It’s no easy feat to take an app from concept to high-quality reality. For now, I’ll stick to my trusty old-school blog. But maybe one day… the ultimate vagabond app will come to life. 

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Filed under: Travel Guide

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has written 1070 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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