In many sectors of modern life, technology has made things easier (we’re looking at you robot lawn mower). But when it comes to travel, it can be a little more complicated these days to get where you’re going without having to open multiple emails, scan multiple bar codes, and use your phone’s navigation feature to figure out how to get where you need to be. The TripIt app attempts to make all of this easier for you by aggregating your travel information in one place. And the free version of the app certainly does that. But to make TripIt really sing, you will likely want to upgrade.
What you get with the free version
When you sign up for a free TripIt account, you’ll be asked whether or not you want to populate the app automatically as your travel confirmations hit your inbox, which you can do if you have a GMail, Yahoo or Outlook mail account. Say yes, and the app will scan your email box every 24 hours and add any flight, hotel or car reservations it detects. If you don’t want the auto-fill feature to work, all you need to do is forward any confirmations you receive to email@example.com and they will automatically be added to your itinerary. If that still feels too nosey, you can also enter trip details manually.
You can access your itineraries from the main screen, and when you click into an upcoming trip, all your data will be displayed in a list organized by the time of the events involved in your travel. TripIt makes it easy to share your plans with a click or a tap and offers some fun additional features like integration with your maps app and a summary of how much your trip will cost.
While those are all handy features, upgrading to TripIt Pro juices things up a bit.
One of the biggest challenges to modern travel is the fact that schedules are often changed due to delays. In the basic TripIt app, you won’t be automatically alerted to these changes, so you’ll still have to monitor things through the individual providers’ apps or websites, which kind of defeats the purpose of having TripIt in the first place.
Upgrading to Pro, which costs $49 per year integrates automatic schedule changes.
The Pro level will also let you know if the price of your flight has changed after you book or even if a better seat becomes available, and it will send automatic schedule changes to your “Inner Circle,” a group of people you choose to share your plans with. It also sends check-in reminders, shows the wait times at security gates, tells you where to get your bags, helps you navigate the airport itself, and even gives you a bit of country-specific travel information.
If you only travel occasionally, the free version of TripIt can certainly make things easier for you. Having an at-a-glance itinerary is certainly nice, and being easily able to share your plans is handy. If, however, you take more than a few trips a year, the Pro version seems worth the extra $50 per year – if for nothing else than having the peace-of-mind of knowing that you’ll get instant alerts to any changes in gates, flight times, or other glitches in your schedule. Both apps are available in desktop and mobile versions for Macs and PCs.