Organizing 250 days a year on the road isn’t easy. In fact, it’s a mess. It’s such mayhem that I have a full-time staff member dedicated to booking rental cars, hotel rooms, trains and planes. Here’s the rub—booking all this stuff is only half the battle. Knowing where you’re going and what you’re doing next becomes a constant source of anxiety—unless you’re well organized. And, fellow travelers, I’m not known for my superior organizational skills.
What Would Bond Do?
It’s not unusual for James Bond to follow a lead from Jamaica to Venice at a moment’s notice. One call to MI-6 and he’s on the next flight out. Upon arrival, Bond’s met by a local liaison who’s taken care of everything he needs: cars, hotels, dinner reservations, local currency, a burner phone. It’s seamless.
Well, I’m no Bond. I have no local liaison in the hundred cities I visited last year. But I’ve got the next best thing: a digital liaison.
My Virtual Liaison
OK, so my local contact isn’t a Bond girl or Felix Leitner from the CIA. My contact is an app and I’d argue that this app is just as capable as an MI-6 operative. Maybe even more-so.
In 2008, I signed up for TripIt Pro and I’ve relied on it every single day I’m on the road ever since.
How Does It Work?
If you travel a lot and haven’t signed up for TripIt, you’re missing out. TripIt automatically takes every single one of my travel confirmation emails (hotels, flights, rental cars, car services) and instantly turns it into an easy to read itinerary. Sure, that’s awesome. But, what’s even more awesome is the way the TripIt mobile app works when I’m actually on the road.
Staying One-Step Ahead
It used to be that much of my travel anxiety came from not knowing exactly what I was doing or where I was going next. Was I supposed to take a cab from the airport or did we book a car service? Am I connecting through Chicago or flying direct this morning? Did we ask for an early check-in in Amsterdam, or will I have to wait to get a room?
The beautiful thing about using the TripIt mobile app is that even before I have any of these questions, the app alerts me as to what’s next.
TripIt’s app is truly smart. TripIt knows when my plane lands. As soon as we pull into the gate, the app tells me whether I’m waiting for a car or taking a cab. I don’t have to look for it. I don’t have to fumble through my luggage to find a printed itinerary. I don’t have to think about it. This peace of mind alone is worth the annual fee. But that’s not all I love about TripIt.
Keeping Others Informed
TripIt’s clear and concise itineraries are perfect for sharing with others. Every time I receive one of those emails that ask “what time are you arriving in town?” I share a link to my TripIt itinerary. It’s so much easier than transcribing my flight info or forwarding the hotel confirmation. This feature has saved me hours of annoying clerical work and my contacts are grateful for the simple insight into my travel schedule. I also added my wife to my TripIt account, so she knows where I am, whether I am delayed and where I am going all the time.
Not Just for the Travel Stuff
It took me two years to realize this, but TripIt is great at handling more than just the travel-specific items like hotels, flights and cars. I’ve started adding business meetings, lunches, dinners and other appointments to TripIt as well. Why would I add this kind of stuff to TripIt instead of just my calendar? TripIt automatically adds everything in the correct time zone. I can’t tell you how awesome this is.
The TripIt Tip of the Iceberg
TripIt is full of other great features like alternate flights and seat alerts. But if you’re like me, you’ll appreciate the peace of mind TripIt’s mobile app delivers while you’re on the road.
In our quest to travel like Bond, I can assure you that if MI-6 starts closing field offices, they’ll start issuing TripIt accounts for every spy.