Travel Apps, Records And Plans
Intrusive or helpful? It’s all a matter of perspective. If you have a Gmail and Google account, you already have this feature working for you wether you know it or not (we didn’t). It seems that any travel confirmation that comes to you through your Gmail is categorized and recorded by the algorithms of Google. Also if you use Google Calendar the information recorded there can also be categorized and recorded by the algorithms (provided they recognize the entry as travel?).
We knew something was going on about a year or two ago when hotel reservations started getting added to our Google travel calendar automatically. Irritating at first – someone or something is reading our emails! We are basically private people and have avoided leaving trails of information concerning us whenever possible. Our generation (rightfully so) resisted giving out our SS number even though governments kept making it more and more mandatory (SS was never intended to be an identification number).
Last week a friend asked if we knew about Google Travel? I logged into my Google account and typed google.com/travel into the address bar and was amazed (shocked?) Going back over about three years where surprisingly accurate partial itineraries of most of our trips.
- Weekend in Singapore
- Zion National Park & Vegas
- Marseille & Paris
- Chimney Rock, NC
- Buenos Aries & Iguazu Falls
- Florence & Rome
- London & Athens
- Cedar Key, FL
- and on and on…
Unfortunately almost all the information was incomplete. Even so maybe we should embrace this. Seeing if I could add additional information to a future trip it turned out to be really awkward. With a little investigation it turns out that you cannot provide any information or links about cruises or land tours (maybe if you book through something like Expedia and us your Gmail as the contact email? Not sure).
It also suggests that you should make your Google accounts more secure – maybe start using a better password and changing it regularly. It would also seem likely that other companies might find our travel plans of some value??
This got us thinking maybe there is something out there that gets it right and after a little searching and experimenting we found TripIt.
The problem with itineraries is they are usually assembled from several sources. Expedia, a travel agent, maybe hotels.com, Marriott or Southwest Airlines. If you’re like us you use a number of email addresses to sort out important contacts from companies that tend to throw emails at you non-stop. As discussed above Google Travel just isn’t doing the job. Our recommendation is now TripIt.
TripIt‘s website/app seem to bring it all together. It allows you to:
- Add an email address to search automatically for confirmations
- Forward confirmation emails from additional addresses to your TripIt account
- Manually add items – easy to do
- Link itineraries to display in your calendar – Google, Apple, Microsoft…
- Provide access to others to view your plans and trips (great for family)
- Keeps important information in the record like flight times and numbers, hotel addresses
- Provides notices and reminders via email
The app and website are free but they also have a Pro version but we’re not sure what else is needed for a Pro version?
Start by creating an account at their website and downloading the app to your phone and/or tablet. Log in on all devices and any additions or changes are posted on all your devices. Next register an email address where it will regularly search for travel confirmations. We used Gmail and it quickly located all current items. You can also forward confirmations from other email addresses to your TripIt account. You first register additional email addresses to your account that you will forward from and they provide a forwarding address. Next you can have TripIt add the information to your calendar automatically, They also provide for you to add names so family members can view you itineraries if you want.
All in all TripIt does everything Google should have done, gives you complete control and doesn’t feel like someone is sneaking around peeking over your shoulder. Five stars.