A while back, my friend Phil Gerbyshak (aka. The Make It Great guy) suggested I check out a travel site called TripIt. The service allows you to “connect” with people you trust and share travel itineraries. At the time, I was busy and wasn’t too sure about the idea of yet another social networking kind of thing.
In December, the siren’s call of TripIt pulled me in and I started using it. I’m now hooked.
So – what does TripIt do? I’m greatly simplifying the power of TripIt, but I think of it as a database that tracks two things about you: Where you are (or will be), and what you’re doing (or planning to do) while you’re traveling. It compares your trips to those of other people you’re connected to (more on that in a minute) and lets you know when you’ll be near someone you know. That makes it simple to plan ahead and arrange a get-together if you so desire.
Let me tell you a bit about how it works…
Getting your trips in
Letting TripIt know where you’ll be couldn’t be much simpler. You have two choices:
- (the easiest) Forward a copy of your travel itinerary (or confirmation email) to firstname.lastname@example.org. They’ll process it and automagically add the trip to your account (they know who you are because you associate one or more email addresses with your account).
- (only slightly more difficult) Go to the TripIt site and click one of the “Add Trip” buttons. You then manually provide a few pieces of information about your trip and it will be added to your account.
Pretty simple. And if you have an oddly formatted itinerary that it can’t handle, you get an email notifying you there was a problem.
TripIt is strictly an “opt in” kind of service. You need to invite others (or be invited by them) to connect and give permission to share trip information. TripIt makes things easy here, too. You can invite people manually, use their “find people using TripIt” wizard, or use TripIt’s application in LinkedIn (I’ve used a combination of all three).
TripIt analyzes all of trips you and your connections will be taking, which enables some cool things:
- You are notified when friends are planning to visit your hometown (including telling you whether you’ll be in town that day or not)
- You get a dashboard of what upcoming trips are happening the next few weeks in your network, which allows you to recommend things for them to do while traveling
- You automatically create a history of your travel including a running total of your miles traveled
- You get a pre-trip reminder that your trip is about to start, along with average temperatures for your destination
- and more…
Oh, and TripIt is free.
I like TripIt much more than I ever expected to. I’ve already made some connections I wouldn’t have otherwise made during my travels even though I’ve only been using the service for about 2 months. The two things that really made it easy for me are the ability to email itineraries for processing (that makes it so easy to use TripIt), and the integration with LinkedIn (one of the few social networks I use consistently). Simplicity is key.
If you travel quite a bit (or know people who do – remember, it will tell you when they come to your town) I recommend you give TripIt a try.