Travel Planning Tool?
May 26, 2016 7:41 AM   Subscribe

What travel planning tool do you use and recommend?

Hi everyone -

First let me say that I know there doesn't exist some magical tool that will be able to do everything I want but I just wanted to see what options were out there for me. Starting this year I'll be traveling more and currently use TripIt to plan the bare bones of my trip. I don't really like it since the interface looks kind of ugly and its not "smart". As I'm doing more research for my trips and vacations, I'm coming across things I'd be interested in doing but yet committed to doing. TripIt doesn't have a place to add a list or points of interest. It would also be great if I could plot these places or things I'd like to do, on a map and visualize it that way too. I'm starting to formulate a food bucket list too but thats in my head and some it is dependent on which towns/cities I go to. Something social so you and your travel buddy can access and update would be great!

So mefites.. how do you plan your trips/vacations? Sorry I'm kind of all over the place, I'm planning my first international trip since 15 years ago.
posted by driedmango to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I've done a lot of long-term trips over the past 5 years and I haven't found any travel-specific tool or app I like.

I use Evernote to tag and collect the web pages and documents I need.

For mapping and visualizing, when I see a place I might want to visit, I look it up on Google maps and "star" it. Then when I'm in that city, I can pull up the map and see all the saved places that are close to whatever area I happen to be in. Among the seasoned travelers I know, this is the most popular mapping system, but it's not terribly sophisticated.

That's the best I've got! Will be watching this thread to see what others come up with.
posted by horizons at 8:24 AM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

I really just like Google. Google Destinations can help you find places to visit, and then as you do research you can add the specific points of interest (restaurants, museums, etc.) on a Google map. You can even make different map layers for different types of places. Then when you're out and about you can consult the map to see what's nearby. You can use Google Docs for anything that doesn't need to be on the map. I hate to be all Google Google Google but it just works.
posted by Brittanie at 8:32 AM on May 26, 2016

I prefer TripCase to TripIt.
posted by humboldt32 at 8:39 AM on May 26, 2016

This may be more of a hack and not be the integrated "smart"/social networked tool recommendation that you're looking for, but I try to remember when I'm looking around on Google Maps (which is where I do a huge chunk of my vacation planning, from lodging options to restaurants to sightseeing) to "save" the places I'm planning or considering. This makes it easier to zoom in/out and get a visual sense for proximities and distances and so on.
posted by drlith at 9:16 AM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

TripIt is much cleaner looking on the iPhone than on the web. Also, their Pro service makes it much better since it adds notifications for flight schedule changes and delays.
posted by kdern at 9:18 AM on May 26, 2016

TripIt isn't for "planning" in the sense of inspiration/idea generation. It's for scheduling. There's no point in even putting anything into TripIt before you have the thing booked.

That being said, I think it is a really good scheduler/itinerary manager.

I haven't found a good tool for the "inspiration" part of planning yet. I use a lot of Google Maps stars (which are kind of clunky) and Evernote, and emails (if I'm planning with another person). Google Destinations looks like it could be interesting but it's phone only: who wants to travel plan on a phone?
posted by sparklemotion at 9:27 AM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

Hi popping in to clarify! I know what tripit does right now. I'm looking for something that can do both. Being able to drop something into tripit so I can mull over without a booking or reservation is the ideal I'm looking for.
posted by driedmango at 9:38 AM on May 26, 2016

I use InRoute to plan road-trips. It lets me add waypoints, reorder them, set departure times, calculate arrival times, and generally get all the details worked out.

I start by setting waypoints for cities. Then as I book hotels in each city, I'll convert the waypoint to the hotel and set a layover with a departure time the next morning. Add in any sights or other stops along the way (you can search along the route for things) and add layovers (e.g. Ben & Jerry's factory tour gets three hours spent on-location before hitting the road again). Reorder if needed. Add more stuff, etc.

Highly recommended. iOS only.
posted by DaveP at 4:35 AM on May 27, 2016

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