If you'd like some good news about travel, mine is that technology is evolving in ways which helps travelers organize their trips to a "t."
TripIt is the site that is captivating me right now, because of its simplicity, neutrality, utility, and the fact that it is an independent site that goes its own way. TripIt is like powering your itinerary with a whole new social networking engine.
It works by having you simply email your travel plans to TripIt; then TripIt updates, revises, and expands your itinerary with time- and money-saving options you might never have thought of. For example, if I booked my travel on Expedia, I would forward that itinerary to TripIt and receive back an email with links to all sorts of travel options.
For business travelers, one of TripIt's most intriguing features is its link to LinkedIn.com, which is perhaps the most popular of the business social networking sites. TripIt will tell the people with whom you are linked on LinkedIn where you are traveling and will also show you where your LinkedIn network is traveling. What would otherwise be an impossibly complex and chaotic task — constantly comparing schedules with dozens of your business associates to identify opportunities to meet on the road — becomes a simple and direct networking interface.
TripIt also provides an easy way for you to share your travel plans with friends and family, and thus reshape your itinerary around shared family/friend events and interests. So it's far more than just a Web site that gives you hotel and sightseeing and other options. It's a place to touch base with people you know and some you don't. What I really like is that you can control where your trip information is shared.
You have to register with TripIt, but because the site is independent, that's an advantage. I prefer not to concentrate my travel information and social networking data at the site where I purchase my travel.
TripIt is emblematic of the next generation of social networking sites. Hopefully they'll all try to be as useful as TripIt, because for my money TripIt represents the kind of travel technology we need more of; and it's one of the few new developments that's making travel easier.
Have you tried TripIt yet? What do you think?
Airline Futurist • Miami • www.us.amadeus.com