I never imagined when I started techAU that it would take me around the globe. Somewhere in the last 9 years, interstate and international travel became second nature and now I’ve clocked up almost 200,000 kilometers. It’s not even half way through 2015 and I’ve already clocked up 44,548 kilometers of travel. The reason I know this, is all thanks to travel service TripIt.
It’s no secret that organising the logistics around travel is a nightmare and thankfully TripIt made it easy. After first trying the service back in 2010, I was blown away at its ability to digest and accurately interpret my travel itinerary. When you understand that trip details can include accommodation, flights, trains, buses and more, all listed in a variety of orders, naming structures and timezones, this technology to automatically deconstruct it was stunning.
What I learnt was that receiving an email from a PR company about the latest press event, was 1 click away from being translated into usable information. My workflow goes like this. I receive the email with the dates, times, locations etc of the trip, remember some of these may be in attachments, I forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org and wait.
Over the years I’ve seen the service reduce the processing time from minutes to seconds. I can then log into the website, or pull up the app on my phone and like magic, all of the details are there. Occasionally there’s some tiny things that need tweaking or manually entered, but this is such a time saver, I don’t care about a few minutes of tweaking around the edges. In reality, most trips happen perfectly the first time, which still five years on, still blows me away.
Gone are the days of printing of flight details ‘just in case’ as I know I can rely on the app once I reach the airport. Here’s something that may surprise you, I’ve never paid for the service, not a dollar. While TripIt has a Pro tier, that allows you to manage frequent flyer points and get updates about delayed flights, I never felt the need to pull out the credit card and pay the annual fee. For me, free does everything I need.
In 5 years, I’ve travelled 196,081km across 6 countries, 30 cities and 46 trips lasting 180 days. Those stats alone are just music to the ears of a data junky and probably in this world of monitoring everything we do, reason enough to give the service a try.
There is a social element to the service, but for some reason my email can’t be used as an address book, so left up to manually importing contacts, I haven’t got into that side of things. What I have done is chosen to share trips on Facebook. Given I’d likely be posting about my upcoming trip anyway, it’s an efficient way to let family and friends know what I’m up to.
While I’m often asked with a tongue in cheek, if I’ll be in the country this week, the reality is a lot of time is spent in airports, so it’s not quite as glamorous as it seems at times. That said, my international adventures now include China, America, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and of course Australia, it’s been a hell of a ride and something I never expected, but am eternally grateful for the opportunities this site and my readers have afforded me.
Subscribe via ICS
After having your trip details digested, it’d be great to have that information added to your calendar. Thankfully TripIT offers a .ICS calendar subscription, which you can add to any modern calendar app or service. This means having your itinerary emailed to you, no longer leaves you creating calendar items manually, instead just forward the email to Tripit and then visit your calendar and the trip shows up.
Below is my calendar of the recent trip to CES Asia in Shanghi China, with a Calendar colour of red.