Dec 2, 2014

A Tripit App review

I first downloaded Tripit for my ipod back before I was traveling much. I didn't see the point in it really, it didn't provide me with any information (or travel inspiration) I didn't already have, and I quickly forgot about it, and then uninstalled it.

But a few years later, I gave it another shot, this time on an Android with a larger screen. I realized that I had been using it the wrong way. Instead of being a planner like Trip Adviser, which can provide you with ideas of where to go and what to do, Tripit keeps your itinerary organized. I get the sense that this app is intended for business travelers, who might not be planning their own journey or have a lot of meetings and other structured activities pre-arranged.

When I find a cheap flight with good dates I create a new trip, enter in the dates I'm flying and the carrier and flight number, and Tripit fills in the rest. If I decide the next weekend would be better for my schedule, I can change the dates and Tripit will double check the times. Then I usually open up tripadviser and wikitravel and start adding all the things I want to do. If I don't have a date or time in mind for these activities and attractions, I just let them pile up on the first day and move them around later.

I can also add ground and water transportation, for the journey from the airport to the hotel or if we want to take any days trips.

From Europe to Asia to Europe, by air, land and water

All this information was added automatically
I tend to leave the food (and craft beer bars) to my husband. He finds some affordable, interesting, and well rated restaurants, we choose our favorites, and add them in.

One key feature of Tripit that I don't use very often is it's ability to sync or be updated by other users for something like a business trip or a tour group, where you have a lot of people doing the same thing. If you forward a confirmation email to Tripit, it will automatically update your itinerary for you, so if you're managing a large number of people you can update everyone with the relevant information at once. I don't actually use the email forwarding feature since I tend to use the app to plan a trip as much as to stay organized once I'm there. By the time I buy the tickets, the flight has been entered for some time.

But this time I gave it a try. I actually just forwarded the flight proposal my office sent me to double check to them and it worked. Eventually. I had signed up using a gmail account (, and their service interpreted my email as coming from a different email at googlemail  ( I also have this problem with pinterest. I had to merge the two addresses, and then it worked fine, and entered in all my flight information automatically.

Some of the fields for a restaurant
It's also nice to have a copy of our plans that I can't accidentally throw away, or get lost in my inbox. A few days ago, I went through all my holidays for the year,  double checked the dates and also what time I flew to determine how many holiday days I have left. 10! These will roll over into next year, and I'll get half my yearly allotment since I'm moving back to the states at the end of June. That means I'll have 25 vacation days to use up in 6 months, when I only managed to use 20 in all of 2014! Hopefully I'll get paid for the ones I don't take, because otherwise I'll be sitting at home for some of those last days.

But anyway, back to the app. When you add an event or destination, you're given a variety of fields to fill out to keep all your information together, things like confirmation numbers, urls and photos, as well as time and address. Once you have an address added, you can tap on it and google maps (or another map app of your choice) will open up to show you where it is.

I find Tripit very useful for organizing trips and storing ideas, but there are somethings I wish they'd change:

  • More categories and icons - There are only four activity types available - meeting, tour, concert and theatre. The average traveler probably isn't going to be attending any meetings, and while he or she may
    go to a concert or the theatre, they're probably not going to be going more than once. What about museums? the beach? cathedrals? festivals? neighborhoods? shopping? rock climbing?

    This is probably just a minor quibble, but take a look at how my plans for Istanbul appear-->

    For an app that's purpose is to organize your itinerary and provide you with information quickly, that's not very helpful.
  • Requiring an end time for activities. I know, I know, you need to leave enough time to get from one place to another, but when I'm on holiday I'm a bit more relaxed, time is a bit more relative, and I often just want to say "after the Colosseum we will visit the forum" rather than "at 3:30 we leave the Colosseum and see the Forum at 3:35".
  • The calendar syncing feature doesn't work on my android. I've tried it many, many times, and the only way I can get it to work is to manually add the url in a browser, rather than through the app. It's just a one time add, but it is a little annoying to set up, especially since that feature is supposed to be built in.
  • A multi-add option would be nice. When I am traveling for work, I would love to be able to enter that I'm working 9-5 every week day instead of having to enter it day by day (so far, the longest work trip I've had is three weeks).

There is also a paid version of Tripit, but from what I can tell, the features you get will (like flight tracking) only work with an internet connection, something I don't often have at airports or while traveling.

While Tripit won't help you pick a hotel or book a train ticket, it's a very useful (if somewhat tedious) way of organizing your trip, and you won't ever accidentally lose an address like you might on a printout. It's easy enough to rearrange items if your plans change (for example, in case of rain), which also makes it good for keeping a record or what you did when, which can make it a useful tool for travel writers and bloggers, as well as for more official business like work travel.

Have you used Tripit? maybe the Pro version? How about any other apps like it? or maybe you'd rather just use pen and paper to plan your trips?

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