I recently had the opportunity to work in Melbourne for 10 months, where I was able to fly back to my home town of Brisbane every week, with a short 2 week stint in London. Keeping track of airline bookings, accommodation, and frequent flyer programs can really become over the top for those new to travel. Simple things like getting from the airport to the hotel at my destination could have been a nightmare. If not for the digital age.
Keeping your travel diary organised is obviously an art in itself. I was lucky, having only two flights per week, a single hotel booking, and a better half to pick me up from my home airport. Frequent travellers quickly realise the need to keep all of their information together, and in this day and age, your smart phone is probably the likely device.
Unfortunately there are some aspects which just can’t be made easier – sometimes there just isn’t a way around booking your flights using your corporate flight booking system!
For the most part, I found TripIt to be an extremely valuable tool in my travels, and I will undoubtedly continue to use it for future travels.
I setup TripIt about 2 years ago for a tiny trip to North Queensland for work. I hadn’t had much need to use it again until my recent travels, and I was delighted to learn about some of it’s features. One of the most beneficial two features for me was the ability to submit my itinerary to TripIt via email. Our corporate booking system would email me a confirmation of my flight details, which was subsequently forwarded via an Outlook mailbox rule, to the firstname.lastname@example.org address. Moments later, my flight was able to be completely tracked via TripIt’s website and iPhone applications.
The next best feature of TripIt, in my opinion, was it’s calendar subscription. I synced this with both Outlook and my iPhone, and was able to view my entire itinerary against other calendar items, which was crucial in being able to work out whether appointments would need to be moved around or postponed accordingly.
As a TripIt Pro user, I also received SMS alerts to my mobile, advising information such as what gate the plane was leaving from, and on the rare occassion, if the flight had been cancelled or delayed.
As well as TripIt, I utilised the Starwood Preferred Guest web portal and iPhone app extensively. Both allowed me to conveniently book or re-book my accommodation using my corporate account number, which made for a pleasant experience. Having utilised a number of different hotel chains, I found Starwood to have, by far, the best functionality in terms of their website, and their rewards program was nothing to complain about!
Packing your bags? I made a list for that using Microsoft’s OneNote iPhone application, complete with tick boxes. No more worrying on the way to the airport if I packed my toothbrush, and no more forgetting to pack socks (this really is the worst thing that could possibly happen when you fly out on a Sunday dressed in casual clothes and wearing thongs, knowing full well you have your suit, shirts, and shoes packed).
All in all, that beeping buzzing technology in your pocket, can make travel a breeze if you use the right tools. It doesn’t part the traffic and give you a clear road, but it may just give you traffic information so you don’t have to put up with that, either.