If someone were to ask you about your travels over the last five years, you could definitely recall the details of your most recent trip. You’d likely also reminisce about your favorite one. The flavors of Paris; the beauty of Morocco—you get the idea. Well, what if you had to recall every trip you took over the last five years? Every vacation, every business trip, every time you crossed your country’s border. For many of us, that’d be quite a lot to remember. For others, recalling every detail—with laser-sharp accuracy—makes or breaks what comes next.
Meet Abbas. Raised in Canada, Abbas and his wife, Nadya, moved to the U.S. in 2001. At that time, Abbas had accepted a job in Washington, D.C., with OPNET Technologies, Inc. Fast-forward to 2017; Abbas and Nadya decided to embark on the path to citizenship. One of the steps in their application process involved submitting a N-400 form—a form that asks for a detailed record of an applicant’s travel over the past five years, along with supporting documentation—to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The analysis of the information not only determines whether you're eligible to apply for citizenship, but also plays an integral role in whether your application is approved. In addition to submitting this form, Abbas and Nadya would be required to continue tracking their travel until the application process was complete.
If you’re thinking, how did they do it? The answer is TripIt.
From planning to landing—to indispensable archiving
"The U.S. citizenship process requires listing all of the time that you've spent out of the country, including where we were, on what dates, and the duration of our trip," shared Abbas. "Given that our families are in Canada, I travel for work internationally, and we vacation at least a few times a year outside the U.S. as well, it was the most detailed part of our application. Without TripIt as the reference, I'm not really sure how we would have done it."
Frequent travelers are familiar with the time-saving nature of TripIt. Abbas, though, had a reason to quantify it: "I had 40+ trips to account for and gather data for. It took at least eight hours of time to compile and validate the information. Without TripIt, it would have involved manually sifting through all my travel-labeled emails, which would have taken at least five times as long."
So, why TripIt?
"I've been a TripIt user since the early days. It's how I've kept my travel organized for a long time so it was the first thing that we thought of, especially when we considered the alternatives and realized that we had a secret weapon to get this data. I didn't try to gather the data in any other way because it was clear that they would all be inferior approaches," said Abbas.
Aside from the ability to track his 30+ trips per year, Abbas also shared his favorite TripIt Pro features: "I like the real time alerts on flight changes; reminders to check-in; delays and gate change notifications; gate information for connections; and if I'm checking luggage, arrival information about bag pick-up."
Like every great trip, this one has a happy ending: the couple became U.S. citizens in April of 2018. So, what’s next for Abbas and Nadya?
"I've been on a sabbatical since March 2019," noted Abbas. "I'll be wrapping up my sabbatical to start a new role in February." And, judging from Abbas’s self-reported 38 pages of trips on TripIt.com, we’re sure they have a few travel plans to look forward to, as well.