Our upcoming trip to Asia this fall has gotten more and more complex as far as multiple flights to and within different countries, several hotels and a fair number of buses and trains to boot. This kind of traveling is actually a bit more chaotic than either of us are used to. Not that we are complaining – it’s going to be an awesome trip! It’s just that keeping up with all these travel details has become a bit of a burden using my old system of multiple saved emails and scribbled notes on my day planner.
Well I finally took the plunge and started using TripIt.com, and all I can say is ‘why in the heck did I wait so long to start using this awesome website?’. For those of you who don’t already know about this site, it is an online travel organizer for personal as well as business travelers. All you have to do is subscribe to the free service (there is a paid version too which I will talk about a little later), easily set up a trip on the site and start forwarding all of your emailed travel confirmations from the airlines, hotels, car rental companies, trains, cruises, buses, etc. to firstname.lastname@example.org. As long as the confirmation is from a supported site, TripIt will automatically organize all of the pertinent information into a master itinerary for your entire trip that can easily be updated as time goes on.
I just did this with all of our flights, and the only one that gave me any problems was my Air India flight from Kolkata to Kathmandu, despite Air India being listed as a supported site. I’m guessing that this is an Air India issue though. But even with this little hiccup, I only needed to cut and paste some basic flight info into TripIt from my confirmation email, and the rest of the details were magically filled in for me.
So now, I can easily keep up with, change and add plans to my trip, all in one easy to use place. And whenever I want to check on the status of one of our flights all I have to do is click on the ‘Check Flight Status’ button right next to the flight information. It also has a link to a map and the current weather conditions for each travel destination listed. And as nice as all this is I know I have only scratched the surface of useful features that are included. Here are just a few other things you can do that I saw listed:
- There are free apps for your iPhone, Blackberry or Android which allow you to access all of this information on your cell phone.
- You can easily share your travel plans on Facebook or LinkedIn.
- You can integrate your itinerary into calendars such as Outlook, Google Calendar and Lotus Notes and keep them in sync automatically.
- By integrating with Yapta.com you can track your airfares for potential vouchers and credits.
And as I mentioned earlier there is also a fee for service version of TripIt called TripIt Pro. There is a free 30 day trial if you want to test it out, but after that the current Summer Sale price is $49 per year (the regular price is $69). This paid version gives you additional services such as getting text messages about flight delays and easily seeing alternate flights with open seats when trouble hits, tracking your frequent flyer miles and hotel points, and automatically sharing every trip with key people, like your spouse or assistant. These extra services are definitely nice, but it wouldn’t be worth the money to someone like me. But for any of you true, hard-core road warriors it just might be. And if you have to travel a lot for work at an organization, then you might even be able to convince management that it would be in their best interests to pay for it.
Anyway, I like TripIt so much already, that I am going to add it to the airfare section of TheBestTravelWebsites.com. I think this is an amazingly useful travel tool that just about any traveler would want to know about and use. And if there are any of you out there that have already been using TripIt for a while, please feel free to offer us any suggestions or pointers.
May your travels go well!