Almost everyone has had the experience of planning for an upcoming trip or holiday. Making plans for a couple who are visiting one location might be easy, but increase the number of people to four and the number of destinations to more than two, and you will certainly have a real headache trying to sort and keep all your travel plans organized.
TripIt, as it says proudly on its webpage, serves to do all this organization for you, with minimal effort on your part. Let’s get it set up and see how it performs.
TripIt weighs in at just under 3 MB and once installed, presents you with the option to sign in if you have an account. If not, you can create an account from within the app in a few minutes.
While you can get set up and use TripIt exclusively from your phone, there are many more functions available on the official website. For deeper, manual management of your plans, you can always log into your account on the site and make any changes.
Creating Your First Itinerary
Once you have logged in, creating you first itinerary can be done in one of two ways. If you have a Gmail account – which is almost a given since you’re using Android – you can set TripIt to scan all the mail in your Inbox to pick out and automatically arrange all your travel plans. I tested this feature, and found it to work extremely well. Booking confirmations sent by airlines, hotels and even car rental agencies were picked up, details were extracted and organized chronologically in TripIt.
If you are not comfortable giving TripIt your Google login details, the alternative is just as easy. Just forward the email confirmation sent to you by the airline or hotel to email@example.com. Within a minute you should get a confirmation saying that the email has been added to your itinerary. And that is it, you are good to go!
A confirmation email is sent after a reservation has been added
TripIt on Your Phone
Now that your first itinerary is ready, open up the app again. The screen you see in front of you is one of the reasons this app and service became so popular. TripIt’s interface is clean and its design minimalistic in nature, giving you just the amount of information you need on the go and nothing more.
This is what you should see when you open the app and log in
You should see four areas of information: a headline and three sections. The headline, What’s Next, is self-explanatory. It will show you the next travel step based on the plans that you gave it. As long as TripIt has at least one reservation for a future date, it will constantly show something in that space, whether you are currently on a trip or not.
The first section is titled Trips, and shows you the number of active, upcoming or shared trips that you have set up. The shared trip count will only be updated if multiple people using the TripIt service are all travelling together. Clicking on any of the boxes will open a list of all your active/upcoming trips and the corresponding reservations in chronological order.
The next two sections are Points and Network. If you have paid for TripIt Pro, the number of points you have accumulated over multiple rewards programs will show here, but for free users, the box will remain empty. The Network section is used to monitor your friends on TripIt and get updates from them about their travels.
The only setting that you can personalize is the refresh frequency of the app. If you don’t travel a lot, then you can just set it to manual and then remember to refresh the app every time you send a reservation to TripIt. Otherwise you can just let the app pull the new reservations at your desired interval.
TripIt’s Web Service
Like I said earlier, the TripIt app primarily serves as a basic front end to its website, which gives advanced users the options and flexibility that the mobile app doesn’t.
After logging in with your ID and password, you will be able to access more detailed information about your current trips. The interface is highly reminiscent of the app – in other words clean and eminently useable.
If you have emailed your itineraries to TripIt, you should be able to see them on the home screen. Clicking on a trip will show you all the details about it and allow you to make changes to the information, such as dates and locations. In almost all cases, this will not be required since the engine behind TripIt is extremely accurate. Since I started using TripIt, it has correctly extracted and organized timings, distance, confirmation numbers, aircraft type and even seat numbers from airline bookings.
However, what you will most likely use the web service for are the social connections. It can scan your Yahoo or Gmail contacts and let you know which one of your friends uses TripIt as well. You will then be able to see where and when your friends are travelling around the world. There are a myriad of other features available to users of TripIt Pro, but I will not be covering them here.
In summary, TripIt works exactly as advertised. The interface is clean and attractive; the app itself is functional and minimalistic in nature. I used TripIt for an entire month while I was on vacation, and during that time I did not feel the need to login to the website even once. I set up TripIt so it periodically scanned my Gmail inbox for new plans, and I didn’t even need to glance back at anything other than what was available from the app.
There is nothing that I missed having in the app, or wished it had. Therefore, I give TripIt a perfect score and highly recommend it to anyone who has travel on their minds, whether for business or leisure. It is time to focus less on the complicated logistics of travel and more on the adventure!