Stepping off the jetway to an all-red departures monitor can be demoralizing. A canceled flight in a foreign city usually means drawing out a continental breakfast in an airport hotel, before hitting the terminal's generic sports bar or Chili's. One day just doesn't feel like enough time to break into a new a place. Unless, of course, you're Anthony Bourdain – or you have an iPhone or iPad.
An interactive, mobile spin-off of the irreverent chef's newest TV show, the Travel Channel Layover Guide with Anthony Bourdain app can help get you off your barstool and onto the back of a Singaporean motorcycle, or, if you're in San Francisco, into the tiki-themed Tonga Room at the Fairmont Hotel. Featuring 10 major cities around the globe, the app is quintessential Bourdain – witty, adventurous, and exceptionally well-curated.
The interface alone is a wanderlust tonic, including panoramic shots of the featured cities, macro-images of exquisite food, and accessible video clips of each destination, taken directly from the 'Layover' show. A Google Maps window depicts Bourdain's route and the spots he explored during his layover in each of the included cities. One can simply follow in his footsteps, or assemble a unique day trip from Bourdain's suggestions.
A host of photographically exhibited locations, from restaurants and hotels, to art scenes and marina tours, can be organized into an agenda. The app will create a route through the city, giving you the average time it takes to reach each destination, and an estimate of how many minutes you will spend there. Both variables factor into a cumulative timeframe for your expected agenda. At 'Men's Journal,' we planned an 11-hour Miami quest, during which we checked into The Raleigh Hotel, scoped the Miami Jai alai courts, ate at Michael's Genuine, and visited a few off-the-beaten-path favorites of Bourdain's.
Other layover apps are usually just text-based info dumps that don't feel all that authoritative. iFly, for example, provides activity suggestions for far more cities, but it lacks the savvy voice and recommendations of the Bourdain app. It's as if its creators took the sterile airport aesthetic and ran with it. However, the richness and ease of Bourdain's app makes it a pleasure to work with, or play with, even when you're not grounded due to a "mechanical delay."
For now, the app is composed of only 10 major cities featured on Bourdain's 'The Layover' show, somewhat limiting its range of geographic application. But, according to the Travel Channel, updates are in the works, and we can expect new destinations to be added to the list, free of charge.