Organizing travel


20 December 2011


Whether travelling to a seminar or conference, or just having a holiday, using a travel organizer can make the process simpler and easier. A good travel organizer keeps all your travel details (flights, hotels, car rentals, meetings, weather forecasts, etc.) organized and synced to whatever devices you use (two computers, an iPad and an iPhone in my case).

I am aware of four travel organizers that do this: TripIt, TripCase, WorldMate and Wipolo. In each case, you simply forward confirmations from hotels and airlines to an email address to automatically compile your itinerary. I’ve found the automation is not always accurate, so I prefer to enter the details manually.

Because of the competition, the services seem to be constantly adding features to try to out-do each other, which is great for users. I use TripIt. Once I’ve entered flight details, hotel details and information about any meetings into TripIt, I just check the app when I need to know when my next flight is leaving, where my hotel is, when the meeting starts, etc. The user interface is very simple, and there are neat features such as weather forecasts, and Google maps showing how to get from the airport to the hotel. All booking references and other information is stored for me, so I don’t need to carry around a sheaf of papers.

All the services include some social networking abilities for sharing your trips with friends. I turn those features off, partly for security, but mostly because I don’t want to annoy my friends with updates about trips that probably have no interest to most of them.

There are free and pro versions in each case, but I haven’t found the need to pay for a pro version yet. People who travel a lot more than me would probably find some of the pro features useful, especially if you are in the US.

There’s a review of TripIt, TripCase and WorldMate in the WSJ, but it is more than 18 months old so the features have probably changed since it was written.