Late last year I came across TripIt, a free Web 2.0 travel organization service. TripIt helps you automatically build an itinerary, access it from multiple locations and devices, share it with others, and more. It also automatically includes maps and weather forecasts, among other information.
I’ve used TripIt four times now. The first was my trip to New York over Christmas. I managed to convince Sharon to join, and we built our entire itinerary using TripIt. I also used it for my trip to Yellowknife, for Northern Voice 2008, and for my recent weekend trip to Calgary. TripIt is dead simple to use, and once you get used to using it you sort of get addicted!
The way it works is you book your flights, hotels, car rentals, and restaurant reservations as you would normally. Then, forward your confirmation emails to email@example.com. TripIt will automatically recognize the information, and insert it into your new itinerary. The only time this hasn’t worked for me was when we made our reservation at Bar Americain in New York (which supports OpenTable). I have to think that was a temporary glitch, because it has been flawless ever since (including our OpenTable reservation at Blink in Calgary). Megan booked the flights to Vancouver for Northern Voice, so I didn’t have a confirmation email to forward. I entered the information manually, and TripIt even made that easier – it knew the departure and arrival times and other information based only on the airline and flight number. Pretty cool.
That’s why I love TripIt – it’s just so deliciously simple! Forward the confirmation email and you’re done.
Sure you can add extra information and custom items to the itinerary, but TripIt does the heavy lifting and that’s what is most important. You can print your itinerary of course, and the formatting that TripIt provides is really clean and simple. If you forget to do that however, no worries – TripIt can send you your itinerary via email! You can send the command “get trip” to firstname.lastname@example.org, and it’ll respond with your information. Or you can send something more specific, such as “get flight”. It’s really quite neat! You can learn more about the TripIt To Me feature here.
Some other handy features that TripIt includes:
- The ability to share your trips with others. They can be either viewers or collaborators, meaning they can add items to the itinerary.
- A travel guide for your destination. TripIt will load information from Wikipedia, Flickr, Eventful, and more.
- See Who’s Close is a new feature that shows you when your connections (friends) are going to be near you at any given time.
- iCal support, meaning you can load your itinerary up in Outlook, Google Calendar, and more.
As much as I love TripIt, it’s not perfect. Here are the top three features I’d like to see them add:
- Twitter and SMS support! Most other apps that I use on a regular basis (such as Remember The Milk) have this. Email is great, but Twitter and text messaging are better.
- Facebook widget. What I’d really like is for TripIt to do what dopplr does – show upcoming trips, and post an item to my news feed when traveling. If TripIt had this feature, I probably wouldn’t use dopplr anymore.
- Library of locations. When we went to NY, we added items like “Greenwich Village” and “Statue of Liberty” ourselves. It would have been really awesome if TripIt could have recognized those locations and automatically included relevant information (such as directions from/to our previous/next locations, pricing information, etc). This feature would make TripIt absolutely incredible!
If you’re just planning a quick road trip to see family or friends, TripIt may not be that useful for you. For all other kinds of trips however, I think you’ll find TripIt to be absolutely indispensable. I can honestly say I won’t travel without it anymore!