Tools I Use – TripIt

Tools I Use – TripIt
This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Tools I Use

I was looking back at my posts and realized that I haven’t covered off my favorite travel tool ever, TripIt.  Today I am going to give you an overview as well as show you how to use this amazing tool.

What is TripIt?

TripIt is a tool that makes it extremely easy to organize your travel.  In the most simplistic terms, it take the itineraries that are sent to you through your airline, hotel and tour agencies and automatically parses them and displays them in a format that is very easy to read.

How to Use TripIt

I could provide you with a long drawn out explanation but TripIt has already done a very good job of it in on their site so I’ll steal it from them:

tripit-overview

It really is that simple.

When you create an account with TripIt, you provide your email address as well as the email address of other accounts that you may get your travel itineraries sent to.  I have registered all my webmail email accounts as well as my work email account.

When I book travel the first thing I do when I get my itinerary is forward that email directly to TripIt.  Once the email is received at [email protected]  from one of your registered emails, TripIt knows that the information belongs to you and will put it in your itinerary.  To me this is pure genius.

The information you forward on is parsed and made available to you on the web or your mobile device.

Why This Matters

Well first off, the service is FREE so it’s a great tool to have for your trip planning but for me the value is in a few distinct areas:

  1. TripIt keeps all your important information in one place.  Instead of searching through your emails to find your hotel confirmation number or your airline confirmation code so you can check in, all you need to do is pull up TripIt and it’s all right there.
  2. TripIt helps you see which days on your trip you have open so that you can plan more fun things to do.  Personally, changing time zones and flipping between days can be confusing so knowing exactly what day you land and when you move locations allows me to book my accommodations and tours accordingly.
  3. TripIt catches costly mistakes … or rather, it puts them into an itinerary so you can see the mistake.  TripIt has actually caught two bonehead moves for me where I booked my flight for the wrong date.  After forwarding my itinerary to TripIt, I pulled up my trip and found that the dates were all wrong.  Luckily I was able to make changes because it was within 24 hours of booking but had I not used TripIt, it would have resulted in a very expensive mistake that would have likely resulted in a cancelled vacation.

Here is a marketing video from TripIt explaining what I just said above.

 App View

For the most part, I use TripIt while on the run so the Android App comes in extremely handy (iOS has an app as well).  Here’s a sample of what an itinerary might look like.

 

jb-milage-run-tripit

As you can see, this itinerary came from my JetBlue Mileage Run that happened earlier this year.  What I find extremely handy is that TripIt often will retrieve important information for you in the background.  Take a look at my connections in Seattle and Long Beach.  Both gates showed up so I didn’t have to waste time searching for a flight board at the airport.  I could simply get off the plane and proceed to my gate.  I also love how it provides me with the time I have to connect.

The iOS TripIt app now has integration into LoungeBuddy so it can point you in the direction of a lounge when you are transiting an airport.  As I understand it, Android integration is coming soon as well.

Free vs Pro

TripIt is absolutely free but operates on a “freemium” model so they try to upsell you to the Pro version.  For most people the free version is sufficient but for frequent travellers, the Pro version might be worth its weight in gold.  The Pro version of TripIt runs $49 USD/year but they offer a 30 day free trial.

Outside of the standard features, the Pro version offers the following:

  • Real time flight alerts – know before everyone else if your flight is delayed or cancelled.
  • Locate alternate flights – in the event your flight is cancelled or delayed enough to miss a connection, you can find an alternate route.
  • Find out when a better seat is available – this is basically integration with SeatGuru so that you know when a more comfortable seat becomes available … no need to settle for a middle seat.
  • Get flight refund notification – this feature basically hunts for a seat sale immediately after you purchase your ticket as some airlines will match or beat a lower price withing a set period of time after you book.  Sounds great but in practice, I don’t think this will provide you with much value.
  • Lounge Buddy credit – if you become a Pro user, you will receive a LoungeBuddy credit of $25 USD to be used at a lounge (if you don’t already have access through something like the American Express Platinum card).
  • CLEAR membership – receive a 4 month trial of CLEAR, a service that preclears members so they can breeze through lines at certain airports.  Like NEXUS but only at select airports.

Like I had said, for most travellers, the free version works perfectly well but you may want to give Pro a shot.  I personally use the free version but if I were to go on another round the world trip, I might strongly consider purchasing the Pro version.

Conclusion

TripIt is my number one travel tool for a reason.  It works and it saves me a tremendous amount of time.  I can’t remember the number of times that I needed the address of my hotel for a taxi or Uber driver and simply pulled it up on the TripIt app instead of searching through countless emails … which reminds me … TripIt has integration with Google Maps so if you click on an address, it will automatically send you to the turn-by-turn navigation feature of Google Maps!

TripIt is amazing.  Use it.

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