Online Trip Planning Tools

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May 14th, 2018, 04:46 AM
  #1
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Online Trip Planning Tools

Has anyone had positive or negative experiences working with tools like TripPlannera or TripHobo? I think these concepts are cool but I don't know that the idea has been executed well yet - what's your perspective?

I love to travel so I'm very interested in trying to build a next-generation tool like this that could help simplify my planning and help me find things I would have otherwise missed. I'd love any feedback on what your biggest pain points are when planning a trip and what you wish technology could help you with.
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May 14th, 2018, 12:29 PM
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I wouldn't use anything like that. I already know how to book air and hotels on my own online. The rest of the research I'd do here on Fodor's and on Trip Advisor.
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May 14th, 2018, 02:27 PM
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The internet makes planning travel very easy. Since you can already easily research airline ticket prices, accommodations and things to do in any location there’s really no need for another “trip planning” website.
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May 15th, 2018, 03:15 AM
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I have positive experience with offingapp.com app development they make car dvr/gps navigator. I'm luck, that i made video record of car incident. Thanks to this travel app, I did not go to German jail. Drive safely!
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May 15th, 2018, 04:37 AM
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I agree the internet makes things very easy and maybe it's just me but I still feel like I'll spend a good 20+ hours planning any real trip (E.g. our trip to Azores in June, not our annual snowboarding trip in Colorado) because I spend so much time a) figuring out where to go, b) researching what I do to get there, and c) coordinating with whoever I'm traveling with.

My hope with one of the websites above (or something new) would be that it can take that 20 hours down to 4-5 by serving me with the right information and options at the right time. Maybe this is just a me problem? If so, I'd love to hear how you all have streamlined your planning
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May 15th, 2018, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by peredrift View Post
My hope with one of the websites above (or something new) would be that it can take that 20 hours down to 4-5 . . . . I'd love to hear how you all have streamlined your planning
If it's only "the usual" choices in the planning process that interest you then I suppose drastically reducing the time it takes makes sense. But I think many, if not most, of the travelers you'll find on Fodor's aren't interested in doing things the fastest way. For these reasons and more: Taking more time often reveals more interesting options. We get to know the places a bit more and can make better choices during more in-depth research. And because planning is fun - why would I want to spend less time doing what I love to do?
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May 15th, 2018, 11:36 AM
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I don't need to streamline my planning. And it doesn't take me 20 hours either. What exactly are you "planning" that takes so long?

It's easy for me to figure out where to go, what to do, and who I am going with (or go solo).
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May 15th, 2018, 12:41 PM
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Then there are jokers like me for whom the words "Planning" and "Vacation" only appear in the same sentence in threads like this
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May 16th, 2018, 07:17 AM
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Google is my friend to find the best hotels, tourist destinations and restaurants during my trip.
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May 16th, 2018, 08:48 AM
  #10
 
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My reaction to this entire concept is the same as a traditional "Travel Agent" ... don't use one, don't need one
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May 16th, 2018, 09:25 AM
  #11
 
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I don't think it is possible to make such a tool that would work for everyone. Maybe you could make one that works for yourself or a specific set of people, but not for everyone. People have different interests, different budgets etc. And a healthy person travelling alone isn't going to have the same needs as someone travelling with two small children or with an old relative who can't walk up a set of stairs.

For myself, I like planning my trips. It's part of the fun. It usually takes a lot longer than twenty hours (unless I go on a group tour), but I don't do it all at one time.

I usually decide on a destination first, then make sure I can actually get there (flights or trains), then I use Google to find things to see and check opening times for specific sites. I use booking.com to find hotels, then cross-check on Trip Advisor and Google before I book.

Sometimes I make mistakes, of course. But that can be fun, too, at least when telling the story a few years later.
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May 18th, 2018, 01:28 AM
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I haven't tried such planning tools yet. I do not know if it can be useful for me since we are booking directly with a travel agency, we've known for so long. They actually give us ideas and suggestions for our trips.
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May 18th, 2018, 08:28 AM
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Thanks everyone for your perspectives. MmePerdu, I'm new here so your insight to the audience that uses Fodors is very helpful to help me understand where a lot of people are coming from. I guess to answer your and Suze's questions - I tend to spend most of my time in three areas: First, figuring out the best place(s) to go given our time, budget, and what we want to do. Second, figuring out exactly what we want to do while we are there (what dive shop do we use, which hikes do we want to go on, what museums are actually worth visiting, etc) and this takes the majority of time because, to your point, we aren't just interested in the 'typical attractions'. Third is the logistics - we know what we want to do but how long does it take to get from A to B, what activities are close to each other that we should group, etc.

For me, the first and second part are enjoyable when I find relevant content to help me make decisions but I feel like my hit rate on any given blog, forum post, etc is only like 25%. The logistics, well maybe that's just not my style I like the idea of the planning tools that would help me filter through the irrelevant content to get to what is actually important for me and that makes logistics easy. To Anyegr's point, I don't think this is for everyone but I wonder if there's value for those who like to travel but aren't as experienced as most people here on Fodors may be?

Alternatively, scoped down - would you find value in a tool that helped you manage the logistics? Right now my wife and I use Google Sheets to create and edit our own calendar but that just feels clunky every time we do it - what tools do you all use that may already help close this gap?

Sorry for the long post - thanks again for everyone's thoughts, they are valuable for me to understand and learn from.
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May 18th, 2018, 10:06 AM
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figuring out exactly what we want to do while we are there
Well no one, no online website, no travel forum, can figure that out. Only you know what you want to do!

but I wonder if there's value for those who like to travel but aren't as experienced as most people here on Fodors may be?
But then how would they (inexperienced travelers) even find your website?

would you find value in a tool that helped you manage the logistics
Nope. If I had a really complicated trip, then I'd simply whip up an Excel spreadsheet to keep the details straight.
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May 18th, 2018, 12:38 PM
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As suze says, no tool will help you make decisions for items one and two. For the logistics, you can try Rome2Rio and google maps as starting points, and a good guidebook can help. I also use a rail map for the UK, Europe and India. I do initial planning on a paper calendar (you can print off pages for free from assorted web sites) and then transfer to a spreadsheet.
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May 19th, 2018, 10:03 AM
  #16
 
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I used TripCase for our Jersey/France 3 week trip in 2016. I found it very useful for storing info and confirmations for flights, car rental, ferries, trains, hotels and event/tours. I set everything out in a nice itinerary, with reminders. I also kept a journal with printed copies of everything.

I did most of my actual planning on the internet using all sorts of different sites (including the wealth of info from users at Fodors!). The planning was part of the fun for me, but I understand that someone may not want to spend as much time as others.

Briefly I logged on to the two sites you mentioned and came up with road-blocks right away for an imaginary trip flying into Phoenix, renting a car for a week and flying home from Las Vegas. TripHobo looks nice, but I couldn't figure out how to do an open-leg trip. Triplannera didn't even recognize Phoenix as a destination so I gave up right away.

I would like to hear about new travel planning websites or apps, especially ones that aren't just directing you to booking sites! The thing that I would have found useful to have is more of a journaling feature - to record reviews and thoughts. I don't have any big trips planned at the moment, but really appreciate a good app to organize myself.
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May 20th, 2018, 09:07 AM
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Re the fictionary Phoenix example above...

Sounds like you would have found better information here (!!) than you did using those two website - simply ask on the US forum on Fodor's tagged for Arizona people will (often) basically plan your entire trip for you (&/or provide tried & true itineraries including transportation or car rental, lodging, sight seeing, even budgets).
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May 21st, 2018, 01:11 AM
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<<I'm very interested in trying to build a next-generation tool like this>> You need a very deep wallet for developing an online planning and booking tool - most interface with 1000000s of other applications to show inventory and allow bookings, it's very complex, it's very expensive. I use google maps to figure out logistics or research on TA, I don't need a Rome2Rio type application to find that stuff out.

TripPlannera is not an online booking tool, it is a trip planning tool, ie you enter dates and a destination (from a fairly limited dropdown list) and it suggests an itinerary based on interests. PHX is obviously not as popular as NY, MIA, PAR, LAS or BCN. They are planning tools ie plan what you can do each day you are in Vegas for example and where to stay/eat/what events are on/attractions/points of interest. Its not about booking flights or car rental as far as I can see. At most it has links to redirect you to booking.com or other hotel booking engines to actually book the accommodation or book tickets for attractions. TripHobo seems to have links to skyscanner so you book flightson whatever site you pick from skyscanner I guess. TripCase is an itinerary management tool, not a planning or booking tool, meaning that you can send your hotel/car/ferry confirmation or airline confirmation emails to your TripCase account to keep tabs on your travels in one place and in one itinerary/trip, I use it all the time, for my own itineraries and to follow my OHs business travel bookings.Saves creating an excel spreadsheet which might be difficult to refer to when you are on the go,you can manually add details to TC if there is no email confirmation from your supplier, add notes, send emails to an "inbox", you get notifications from airlines about gate numbers/delays etc and past trips are kept for ever, useful feature to look back over where you went/when. Saves typing into excel hotel addresses/phone nos/confirmation numbers/hotel rates/room type you booked and all other things you need to have handy for your trip.

I don't need any more tools, I have hotel/car and airline websites to book on, or well known, well established and proven online booking tools such as booking.com, expedia, autoeurope etc, plus TA and other forums to read about what to do/how to get to etc and TripCase to manage all my itineraries in a single place.

Last edited by Odin; May 21st, 2018 at 01:20 AM.
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May 21st, 2018, 04:42 AM
  #19
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mdinbc and Odin, thanks for your thoughts. Mdinbc, I definitely agree with the user experience in both of those sites, they were quite frustrating to me too. Odin, that complexity is exactly what's interesting to me, it's a hard problem to solve. I get what you're saying that TripCase does a lot of this for you already - I probably need to spend some more time working with that myself since I've only used it a couple of times for my own trips. Good homework to do, thanks
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May 25th, 2018, 02:01 PM
  #20
 
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I used this site extensively when planning 3 week Europe trip in 2016 and come often here for advise (and entertainment!) While planning I also loosely followed organized tour itineraries for ideas on how long certain sites were recommended to visit. For example what to do with 3 days in Normandy or 4 days in Paris.

It would be very useful to have such as site. Enter start place and end place, your interests and certain itineraries may be suggested, with recommended travel options.

For me planning is part of the fun, but I do see the benefit of planning site for those that either don't trust themselves to be organized, or don't want to spent too much time themselves.
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