How I Keep All Our Travel Plans Organized

Keeping track of travel reservations can be quite a chore. You’ll have an email box clogged full of airlines, hotels, car rentals, trains, meetings, appointments, tickets and whatever else you’re planning for your trip. Back in the day, I used to keep a folder with printouts of all this information and brought it with me wherever we traveled. I also needed to bring a backpack full of maps and travel books. Now I’ve traded in that folder for a website and phone app that keep all of this information organized for me.

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Travel back in the day included carrying and reading endless guidebooks. It was especially fun in the rain.

Since 2009, I’ve used the website Tripit to keep my travel plans organized. The website and subsequent smartphone apps have grown into a robust way to store travel plans and share them with others.

Here’s how the website works. You register your email addresses with Tripit. When you receive a confirmation email, you then forward the email to Tripit and the system processes it and adds it to your trips. If you want, you can register your email address with the main providers (Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook) and the website will scrape your email and automatically add any new reservations to your account.

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Tripit has become “smarter” over the years. When you get a reservation that doesn’t fit into a trip, a new trip is created for you. In addition. the logic has improved over the years. Previously, the times on the emails were entered in exactly as listed. Tripit now organizes the times into a logical order (You arrive on a plane, then rent a car and finally check in to your hotel).

You can also link your Tripit calendar to your other calendar programs such as Outlook, Google Calendar or Apple iCal so the information is easily accessible. If you’re traveling with others, or have people you want to share your trip plans with, it’s easy to give them access to any of your trip plans.

All of these functions are all available with the free version of Tripit. I choose to keep the free version but have considered upgrading to Tripit Pro. The Pro version costs an additional $49 a year (but you can get a 30 day free trial).

Tripit Pro also gives real time flight alerts for changes, helps find alternate flights and better seats. It also will tell you if you can get a fare refund due to a drop in price. I’ve received a free trial of the Pro version when were traveling overseas and the alerts about flight changes came before those issued by the airline. However, I try to keep on top of my flight status so the $49 for that service seemed to be a bit too much for me to pay.

I’d feel safe in saying that the Tripit website and the smartphone app have been one of the game changers in the way we travel. How do you keep your travel plans in order? Have you found a different program that works for you?

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