While some Americans still turn to travel agents to do trip planning, most are now doing it themselves online. According to a new report from the travel industry research group, PhoCus Wright Inc., more than half of all U.S. travel will be booked online this year.
The Internet puts a wealth of travel information at your fingertips, but once you have all the information in hand, it can be a real challenge to stay organized.
Well, now you can throw away that bulky manila folder filled with printouts of all your flight, hotel, rental car, maps, directions, weather and travel notes.
There's a free online service available from TripIt that automatically organizes all your travel information into one master travel itinerary that you can share with the people who need to know -- no matter where you have booked the different parts of your trip.
Based in San Francisco and founded in October 2006, TripIt's mission is to simplify the online travel experience. By automatically creating master itineraries with all your critical trip information, this unique online service helps do-it-yourself travelers organize their travel plans so that their trips go more smoothly.
Better yet, TripIt enables friends, family and co-travelers to share travel details and work together to plan new trips.
According to Gregg Brockway, the service's co-founder and president, the idea came to him and associates because of firsthand experience. The frustration, he allows, of packaging everything together made him realize a one-size-fits-all pit stop was needed.
Here's how TripIt works: A traveler simply forwards their travel confirmation e-mail -- TripIt will work with most any travel service -- and the TripIt "itinerator" instantly incorporates it into a master itinerary.
Then, TripIt puts that information to work on the traveler's behalf by automatically anticipating basic needs to make the trip easier, such as adding daily weather reports, local maps and directions, helpful destination information and more by using information pulled from a variety of other popular Web sites.
Travelers can then print out all their bookings neatly in a single document to take on their trip. The information is always available online -- safe and secure.
Once the itinerary is created, TripIt helps solve the coordination and communication challenges of keeping in touch with the people who need to know about it.
To set up a free account, log on to: www. tripit.com.