Trip-planning Help


No code today, sorry. But some of gadgetery and cool applications instead.

During my “posting black-out” I managed to change gadgets. Loyal readers will remember that I used a binomy of Nokia 5310 and iPaq 214. Even more loyal readers will remember my disappointment with the iPaq device.

That disappointment and the lack of appealing “classic” PDA alternatives led me to acquire a PDA-phone (or phone-PDA). It is the gorgeous Htc HD. And so far I have not been disappointed.

As a matter of fact I am crazy about this device. The screen is superb, the form factor and the size are appealing and even though the processor is less powerful than the iPaq 214, it feels faster and snappier (lack of screen responsiveness should take most of the guilt). It took me some time to get used to its size as a phone (as a PDA is very sleek), but I am fine with it now. And the integration of devices (something I despised in the past) has proven to be a good thing instead of “con”: it takes pretty decent pictures (daylight) and the GPS is awesome.

But I am not here to praise the traits of the HD but someone else’s…

Those who know me, also know that I am a bit absent-minded and forgetful when it comes to travelling (amongst other activities) and resultant misfortunes turned to be an endless source of amusement to some (if not all) of my friends.

Some time ago I discovered a program for Windows Mobile called WorldMate Live. It is a very good program (and a website companion) that helps you planning your travels (save itineraries, flight, hotel and car reservation data) and comes with handy tools as weather forecasts and currency, unit and time conversions. It is a very handsome-looking mobile application but it felt a bit slow to me and used a very weird notification system (side effect: it stayed resident in memory, consuming  some of it). Past tense as I stopped using it,… because I discovered Spb Traveler.

Spb Traveler is not free (as the very capable non-pro version of WorldMate Live is) but it is so much responsive and full-featured that worths the money. There were a couple of features missing though, and they were sort of killing features for me: the ability to use a non-mobile application for data entry and the possibility to forward reservation emails so that they can be added to itineraries automatically. And again past tense is used as from recent version 2.5, Spb Traveler can use a non-mobile application for data entry.

But I am still not here to praise the goodness of Spb Traveler either :-) But one of the data-entry methods:TripIt. I must admit that this unknown-to-me web application has impressed by it a great deal.

Its clean design is pleasant to the eye, it is very Web 2.0 in its conception (Ajax-y) and extremely easy to use. It also provides analysis and import of emailed confirmations and I have to say it works very well (although it chokes with Spanish confirmation emails, it is Beta, though, but take note if you are reading this).

I was able to import all the data for my upcoming travels and I got them exported to my mobile device in a breeze. It also has a component of networking application that I have not taken any advantage of (and I do not have plans to, yet).

Their mobile site is light and informative (with a iPhone-ish look, not sure if that is good or bad) and, best of all, membership is free. I have no relationship whatsoever with them, but with my experience so far I strongly advise anyone that likes to have their travel information at hand to use their services.

Look Ma!! I am not ranting, I also say good things when they can be said.

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