TripIt: A Nifty App

One of the hassles of travel for me is toting around an entire file folder of flight, hotel and rental car confirmations. Why do the confirmations have to be 5 pages long? Even if I print only the first page, on a 3-4 week assignment that frequently entails 30-40 pages of confirmations.

Enter the niftiest iPod Touch (also iPhone and iPad) app I have ever seen. It’s called TripIt and I’ve fallen in love with it. Here’s what it does and how it works.

Basically, TripIt creates a complete itinerary of your trip and makes it available on your iPod, iPhone or iPad (it may also do Windows-based systems, but I’m not sure). I do mean complete, from flight info to hotels, rental cars, events, whatever. Since I use Apple’s Mobile Me, it automatically and wirelessly syncs my iPod Touch, laptop and desktop as soon as I make a change on any device. Mobile Me also stores the information in the “cloud” so I can retrieve it in the unlikely event of a systems crash or a stolen or broken device.

What is most amazing of all is that once you register, all you need to do is forward your confirmation emails to TripIt and it automagically adds them to your itinerary! You just forward it to plan@tripit.com. That’s it. No subject heading to add, not even one word of explanation. It detects from your email address that the confirmation is for your itinerary and that’s it. In seconds it pops up on your TripIt itinerary. This thing is so complete, it even includes your departure gate, synced to your mobile device as soon as the airline releases it.

The itinerary includes your confirmation number, reservation number, addresses of hotels. Amazingly, TripIt simultaneously downloads a Google map of the area, with a pin showing the location of your hotel or car rental agency! Plus, it adds a constantly updated weather report for each stop in your itinerary.

If you are staying in a tiny lodge in the bush somewhere, and TripIt can’t decipher their confirmation email (or if the lodge doesn’t send one), you can add to your itinerary manually. I’m loving this thing. No more carrying around reams of paper. Everything in one place, available in a tap and swipe.

You can have multiple trips going at once. TripIt even keeps track of every one of your airline miles accounts.

Okay now, I saved the best for last. The cost of this app is a big, fat 0. Zilch, nadda, zip (there is a premium version called TripIt Pro that goes for $49 a year and includes lots of power features, but I don’t use it… yet). Go to TripIt.com for more info and an entertaining video.

Addendum (June, 2011): I decided to purchase the Pro version and I love it. The more traveling you do, the more value you’ll get from the Pro version of this app.

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