|Icon for the Visit California iPad app|
In order to use the Trip Planner, you need to create and account (or sign in if you already have one.) I tried to sign up for an account via the app (it has the spot to do so); unfortunately, even though I tried several times, I never got the sign up to work through the app. So, I signed up on the Visit California website, and then logged in on my iPad. Once I created my online account and logged in on my iPad, I was able to create My Trip, which was pretty cool. You literally have information at your fingertips (just one fingertip will do.) Within the information about the attractions/locations are links to the attractions/locations website, if available. So, in app, you can view information on external websites and simply return to the app by touching the "cancel" button (you also have the option of opening the URL in Safari.)The trip journal feature is like your own little trip blog with the ability to add photos as well. You can also share your journal postings on Facebook or Twitter, however, when I tested the sharing feature (only on Facebook) all it did was post the title of my post with a link to the Visit California website, none of my content was visible.
Overall, I'd say this app is useful in planning your vacation, certainly the trip planner feature is nice as you can add or remove places to your itinerary as you see fit, keeping access to the information you need at your fingertips. I can definitely see how this would be a useful app when you are actually on your trip, especially if you are driving and come across other possible places of interest. The app also features the official visitor's guide, as well as a few other guides to help you plan your activities. The electronic version of the visitor's guide includes interactive features which allow you to access more information and images of various locations. So, download this app and save some trees and space in your luggage. On a scale of 1-5, I'd give it a 4.