Ever try planning a trip with friends or family? If so, you know how quickly the many emails and phone calls to discuss booking and itineraries become frustrating. Fortunately, a new breed of travel site has arrived, making planning and sharing multi-person trips much easier. Known as collaborative travel planning sites – or social travel sites – they harness social media so numerous travelers can share and access information.
Like Facebook, Flickr, and Foursquare, these sites have mobile applications for access on the go, a far cry from the days of chain emails and postcards.
Here are a few web apps we found helpful for planning and sharing trips:
Bumped.in (www.bumped.in) Rather than limiting interaction to an existing group of friends, Bumped.in introduces people with similar interests. It alerts users when similar travelers are in nearby proximity, which is especially useful for those taking frequent routes or trips.
Dopplr (www.dopplr.com) Dopplr displays trip details and tips in a color-coded timeline and shares them among users within a created network. Users can receive tips, reviews and advice on locations, restaurants and hotels from friends. Dopplr creates a “social atlas” so people can utilize the collective travel knowledge of all users.
Globetrooper (www.globetrooper.com) Globetrooper finds travel partners based on shared travel interests. Users create trips and indicate their ideal travel partner(s) based on cost, date, and location, as well as in-depth factors like difficulty and degree of culture shock. Prospective travelers then browse the trip and chat with organizers to see if it’s a match. Whether traveling in a pair or with a large tour group, Globetrooper is a fantastic app for travelers looking to put the “social” into social travel.
Gtrot (www.gtrot.com) Short for globetrotter, gtrot has morphed from a site for backpacking college students into a full-service social gateway for travel. Built on Facebook’s platform, gtrot shows members which of their friends are going where and with who, and helps them coordinate to join in on their trips.
Kukunu (www.kukunu.com) Users on Kukunu create an itinerary with dates and destinations and notify their friends. There’s also the option of booking hotels and activities from its extensive partner inventory, with a special discount to Kukunu users. It supports full integration with Twitter and Facebook, so users can share their travel plans within their broader social network.
NileGuide (www.nileguide.com) Aiming to be the go-to source for travelers, Nileguide offers unique guides and articles on destinations, activities, events, and travel technology, written and curated by their own network of local travel experts. An added bonus: Users can create personalized travel guides to take with them.
TravelMuse (www.travelmuse.com) Like similar sites, TravelMuse builds itineraries by destination, but takes it a step further with a “Find Inspiration” trip creation capability. After picking a departure point, users choose what kind of trip they want based on activity and the maximum amount of time they are willing to travel, offering suggestions that users may not have considered on their own.
TripIt (www.tripit.com) TripIt imports and sorts through details like itineraries, flight times, car rental details, hotels, and other useful information, which are then pulled directly from a Gmail account. Updates are shared through Facebook and LinkedIn with an embeddable badge for a blog or personal site.
Tripline (www.tripline.net) Travelers share their trips – through photos and written details – with users on newly-designed Tripline. Besides dates and destinations, they can search for specific points of interest and customized places, invite friends and Tripline members to check it out, and even add theme music. The result is a clean, clickable, and personalized view of a trip.
WAYN (www.wayn.com) WAYN, or Where Are You Now, is a more established travel social network focusing on younger travelers. Users list their personal contact information and travel history, including pictures, videos, and itineraries. The interface is simple to use and includes its own messaging capability to communicate in real time.
Each of these sites has a different focus, but all have impressive capabilities and features that allow for socially connected travel experiences. See which ones work best with your travel style and social needs by trying them out!
Story by Martin Clinton