Travel Apps, Records And Plans
Intrusive or helpful? It’s all a matter of perspective. If you have a Gmail and a Google account, you already have this feature working for you if 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 and added to Google travel. Also if you use Google Calendar the information is also added to your calendar (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 about us whenever possible. It’s a generational thing and 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 a national identification number).
Last week a friend asked if we knew about Google Travel? I had no idea so I logged into my Google account and typed google.com/travel into the address bar. I was amazed (shocked?). Going back over three years were 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. Heck, Google almost knows more about me than I know. I tried adding additional information to a future trip but it turned out to be really awkward or just not possible. With a little investigation it turns out that you cannot provide or add any information or links about cruises or land tours (maybe if you book through something like Expedia that google is working with and use your Gmail as their contact email? Not sure).
Google 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 and we wouldn’t be shocked if Google shares (two weeks before a recent trip to Singapore I started seeing ads on my search page for Singapore tours and restaurants)??
This got us thinking maybe there is something out there that gets it right and after a little searching and experimenting we settled on 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 seems to bring it all together. It allows you to:
- Add an email address to your TripIt account to search automatically for confirmations to be added to your TripIt itinerary
- 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 and dates
- Provides you with 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 to justify 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 to the account so family members can view you itineraries if you would like.
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.