You’ve got flights and accommodations. Directions to get to your accommodations and instructions for what to do WHEN you get there. You’ve booked tours with ticket information and directions on where to meet your guide. Lawsy! All the details involved in traveling!
No matter where you go, or how long your trip is, you have confirmation numbers, flight numbers, and membership account numbers. Plus there’s check-ins, boarding, and connecting flight info.
Listen, I’m not JUST an organized person - I aspire to be that way. For instance, the day before I leave for a trip, I gather all my flight information together and try to make it easily accessible on my mobile device. Then I double-check that it's still there the night before the trip.
So, when I’m at the airport kiosk getting my boarding pass (why print at home people? why?) or printing the tags for my (yes) checked bags - I should be able to whip that info out.
But I fail every dang time - crushing my inner organizational self.
I can’t find it - don’t remember where I saved it - is it in photos or email or text? It’s crazy-making! If I’m traveling with my husband, things get a teeny bit tense when he starts with the “oh for fox sake!” while I’m frantically searching. By the time I find the confirmation number, I’m completely stressed. Hate it!
I finally started to wonder if there’s an App for that? And - Yes! There IS an App! In fact - there are multiple travel Apps.
I present to you a list of all the apps and ways I’ve discovered to organize those lists of travel logistics details at your fingertips. I hope they transform your travel experience as much as they have mine.
(Spoiler Alert! Some of these Apps will even text you with updated info like updated gate info. Very helpful for not landing, trekking to your next gate for a connecting flight only to find that the gate has changed. So cool! You’re welcome.
This is the App I’ve used for a few domestic and international trips. I first downloaded the App and did the basic set up before leaving for a trip to Central Europe. Right before my trip, all hell broke loose in my world. SOP for me pre-travel. The initial set up was all I had time for, and I didn’t understand all the App offered.
The trip included a layover in Copenhagen and I headed for a lounge to wait in comfort with free Wifi. Right away, my phone came alive with text messages from a source I didn’t recognize. I assumed it was the airline since the texts contained updated gate information. Then - ninety minutes later, another text came in with the same info but this time clearly from the airline.
That’s when I realized the first messages came from TripIt ninety minutes before the airline alerted me. Plus when I turned on my phone at my final destination (I set up an international plan before I left home), I immediately received a text with the arrival gate and baggage carousel for luggage pickup.
This information is golden for me. I have a little travel anxiety about arriving at unfamiliar places, and not knowing the language, what to expect or where to find things. Especially when traveling solo. I eventually figure things out but not having the slight belly burn while wondering how all the moving parts are going to fit together? Ahhhhh.
Can you relate?
Note: I use Tripit Pro, at $49/year but you may be satisfied with alerts from the airline and stick with the free Tripit plan. You’ll still be able to organize your travel plans and have a master itinerary that you can sync with your calendar. Plus it will give you transportation options, airport, and terminal maps, and let you share your plans with others.
But with the Pro version you’ll get flight alerts, seat upgrade alerts, check-in reminders, alternate flight searching, check-in reminders, “Go NOW” airport alerts, security wait times, and baggage claim info. You can even use the App to track your mileage reward programs and get weather updates.
Whether you use the free or Pro version, the quickest way to get your travel details into the App is to forward any trip related confirmation emails to email@example.com and everything will be auto-populated for you. There’s also an option to manually add the information or let Tripit scour your email for any travel related items.
What the App doesn’t have is a way to access information about booking hotels or ground transportation. But it does give you airport lounge information, via LoungeBuddy, and a way to reserve and pay for access from the App. You can find all the information you need at their website, and download the App for iOS or Android.
Similar to Tripit is the app TripCase. I’m trying this one on my next trip. Again, forward the travel emails you receive to firstname.lastname@example.org to get your itinerary created. You can also add it manually on the iOS or Android App or the website. As soon as you download the App, you’ll notice an offer to sign up for AirHelp - at no cost.
The App tells you that, via AirHelp, delayed, canceled, or overbooked flights might entitle you for up to $700. And it’s free to file a claim. On the App, just hit Accept or Decline to sign up for AirHelp, then you’ll move to an option to turn on One Touch access to the App. And you’re in!
Another unique - but not free - feature TripCase has is a way to track your receipts. It’s $5.99/year with a free month when you sign up. You have to put PDF’s of your receipts into the App, but that’s easy with a free app like this one I use.
Once inside TripCase, you’ll see the standard three parallel lines at the top left which takes you to ‘command central.’ Access the receipt feature there, upcoming trips, or switch to a timeline view. This view opens your itinerary with flight numbers and confirmation numbers all in one place.
And then there’s something called Phone Numbers. When I clicked on this link - a list of flights I have in upcoming itineraries opened. Clicking on the right arrow brought up a list of airline phone numbers separated by domestic, US international, outside the US, and then by country. The possibility that you might need that info gives me a massive HEADACHE - but in reality - shit happens when you travel. So be prepared!
TripCase lets you share your travel info, as long as you give the app access to your contacts. Select sharing and enter a contact or email to have your itinerary sent. The App will save the contact under the Contact section for future use.
You’ll notice an Inbox option on the menu, and once you’ve forwarded emails with your reservations and confirmations, these will show up in the inbox. Including boarding passes!
But wait - you still have to print out your luggage tags because we CHECK OUR BAG!
There’s a new app in town created with a focus on group travel. It has some great features that make moving in a Travel Pack so much easier. Remember that email the AirBnB owner sent with those crazy access instructions? Where is that, and did you send it to everyone in the group yet?
That’s where Lambus shines, according to their website. You can upload all your trip documents to the App, and anyone that’s part of the travel group can access all the information in one place. There are other cool features to help group travel go smoothly - like a way to track expenses for everyone. You can even PAY using Paypal or other apps through Lambus.
Another problem Lambus solves is accessing all this information offline - no need for Wifi that might be missing at that critical moment. “I had some bars a second ago.”
The App is available to download on iOS and Android.
You’re probably familiar with the travel booking site Kayak, but did you know you can use the site and it’s App to track your travel details? Plus, Kayak lets you book flights, hotels, and tours. So not only can you organize your itineraries in one place - but you can plan your itinerary with Kayak too.
You can do the same thing on Momondo that you can on Kayak. Website and mobile App both - plus they look amazingly familiar. Either option allows you to book flights, hotels, and rental cars - then create a trip itinerary for FREE.
If you regularly use either of these two search engines - start using their My Trips feature to get all your details in one place - even if you didn’t book it through their site.
Google Maps and Google.com/travel
I don’t know if you’re a Google Maps user, but I use it almost daily to get around town and avoid as many traffic jams as possible. And, I’m devoted to Google Maps when I’m traveling - especially international travel. But I never used was the App Google Trips because I never knew it existed!
And now it’s going away forever. Dammit - it looked so cool!!
But Google is putting some of the great functions that Trips included in Google Search and Google Maps. There’s a lot of good stuff here - but you need a Google or Gmail account. Navigate over to Google.com/travel, and you’ll see a menu down the pages’ left side with Trips at the top. Click, and any trips you have booked will show up - thanks to emailed confirmations.
You can use the site to book travel, accommodations, and tours on your trip. But on your phone, you need to open the Google app and search for whatever you named the trip. You’ll see something returned with your search saying “View your trip details” with all your reservations listed.
Using the Google App and Maps, you can navigate your trip on the ground as well. If you take the time to create Maps of the places you’ll visit at your destination and save them - you can access them with or without Wifi.
Evernote + Google Drive/Docs
I’ve used Evernote for a long time, and it’s a great (and free in the basic version) way to organize your travel itinerary in one place. You won’t be able to make any travel plans from here - but that’s ok with me.
Evernote also has a camera feature that will allow you to take a picture of your travel confirmations and documents. Or you can upload documents directly using the paperclip icon in the formatting bar. It’s a simple way to get yourself organized.
Google Docs (in Google Drive) is another way to do free, basic trip organization. Download the Google Drive App and set up a new folder for your trip. Once in the folder, open a new google doc - and start typing. You can also upload documents and photos directly to your travel folder.
Get it together with Travel Apps
One way or another - incorporate one of these apps into your life for big trips, business trips, and everything in between. They’re simple to use in their free and paid versions. Otherwise, like my husband just did, you’ll be emailing your itinerary to someone you know with a printer to have 2-5 pages printed out with your information. (Wait til he gets home…we’re havin’ a tutorial!)
Oh and the funny thing is - once he sent me that email, Tripit picked it up and I received flight alerts for his whole trip! I texted the info to him ending each text with an “I’m begging you to download the App!!”
If you’ve used one of these apps on a trip or organized yourself another way, please comment below - let's build a list of best practices for how to do this! And sign up for the Later Letter, my newsletter, to get premium information to make your ever-lovin’, bag-checkin’ travel life easier! This is Part one of a series of articles on travel planning - check out the next one here.