I'm always on the lookout for useful travel apps, and recently I found one that's not only helpful, it's also visually appealing and (most important) easy to use. Open Places allows users to search for publication-quality information and photos about a city's offerings—everything from restaurants and bars to hikes and locally-owned shops. Because submissions are monitored and vetted by professional editors, the site doesn't get bogged down with grainy photos and useless blather.
What I like about the app is that the content is written by real travelers who found something special about each establishment. Writeups are short and smart, and often have several accompanying photos. Unlike other travel apps that will print just about anything, Open Places ups the quality of its submissions by offering incentives to its contributors. Anyone can submit material, but if your writing and photos stand out, you could win cash, free hotel rooms, and other perks in the weekly writing and photo contests. The site even offers photography and writing tips to make your submissions more appealing and informative to its readers.
Open Places content is available free to nonprofits, parks, radio stations, schools, and tourism bureaus, which can use the material to promote neighborhoods, towns, or regions. As I browsed through the app, I noticed several Denver and Boulder destinations already listed, but I'm betting Coloradans have plenty more to share.
Find out more about how you can contribute to Open Places here.
—Image courtesy of Shutterstock.