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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bespoke breaks: tailored trip planning with Triporati

So who has used Triporati? I'm curious to know. Terry and I are just two of their travel experts on a team that includes a notable bunch of travel writers with a library's worth of guidebook credits to their names, but I have to say (and I'm not biased, honest) that I'm truly impressed with how Triporati works. Let's say you're not sure where you want to go but you know what you want to do. You want to spend a week basking on a beach, for instance, you want to make yourself dizzy with some high altitude fun and fresh mountain air? But you're not sure where you want to do it. Well, go to 'Discover Great Trips', scan the Recommend Trips For... the Beach, Eco-Tourism, Adventure, Family, etc, click on something you like, and you'll find popular destinations that match your interests. Don't fancy any of those? Then click on 'Your Custom Trip'. Once there, Select Your Interests (from a long list that includes everything from cooking classes to wine tasting) and Complete Your Trip Profile (this is where you input your airport, time of year you want to travel, budget, etc; you can also save this info and name your trip to store your profile). Once you're done, click 'Recommend Trips' and Triporati magically produces a list of All Recommended Trips for you. If you see places you don't want to go or want to narrow the choices to a specific region you're dying to explore, you can select a region from 'Show trips in...'. Click on a place that appeals and you'll get the vital info to help you make your decision. This is the content that experts like us write: an overview of the destination, must-see sights, attractions you can leave for next time, activities and events, etc. Then there's all the helpful stuff Triporati brings together for you, including hotels, flights and tours (and the ability to compare rates and deals), travel insurance, news, weather, visa and travel info, guidebooks to read, photos and videos to inspire you, and google maps so you can see where the hell you're going. And if all that doesn't help but you think you're on the right track, take a look at 'Trips Like...' which recommends similar (but different) destinations. If you're travelling with friends or family, get them to have a go and compare results! Give it a try and let me know what you think.

The pic: one of the many breathtaking beaches in the south-west of Western Australia, an area that extends from Esperance to Albany and all the way across to Augusta, with a coastline dotted with beaches boasting snow white sands, turquoise water, and dramatic rocks - that's a trip I'd do again in a heartbeat.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Lara,
It is a good site, but I don't know how different it is to TripAdvisor and half a dozen other sites that basically allow you to find the same information.
What I really wish these sites would have is the capacity to create multiple itineraries that were combinations of opportunities for booking through them and just putting in your own details. I keep going to these sites, hoping one of them will do that - that one of them will deal with a single user's multiple and ongoing trips, rather than a single users, single trip. I know that they probably allow (as expedia and tripadvisor and all of the other ones) you to keep your past itineraries, but as someone who constantly travels with work, I really find it annoying that I have to continue to develop something offline to manage a process that I actually think most people use. I want a single resource that allows me to book, manage my numbers, bring in external information, manage my packing list, all of that... and if somewhere did that, I'd pay a fortune. I can't believe I'm not the only one?

Anonymous said...

Hi Lara,

That sounds really cool and I'm going to check it out now. PlanetEye is another site that also has some nice features for trip planning, as well as local experts (full disclosure: I'm the local expert for Berlin. Go local experts!)

A suggestion for Sandy: have you tried TripIt? That's got some pretty cool features including automatic import of your travel details by just forwarding the confirmation email on.

Lara Dunston said...

Hi Sandy - what makes Triporati cool for me is the fact that it helps you choose a destination that's right for you based on your interests, whereas with Tripadvisor you need to know where you want to go before looking stuff up. Triporati also provides so much more information that Tripadvisor. Another - and for me very important - different is that most of Triporati's content is written by travel experts (although there is also a community space) whereas Tripadvisor is mainly about the community and ordinary people are writing the reviews.

Jacinta makes an excellent suggestion - Tripit - I think that will do what you want... take a look and let us know.

Hi Jacinta - yeah, I've only taken a quick look at PlanetEye (cause they asked me to write for them - Dubai) but that was in the early days. I will check back in. And I'll also take a look at Berlin ;) I'm with you on this one - I much prefer to take advice from local experts, whether they're travel writers or people who've lived in the place for a long time who know the hotels, restaurants, shops, sights, etc.

Thanks for dropping by, you two!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jacinta, you're right, Tripit really has some potential for what I need. Yes, Lara, sorry about complaining about what is a great site. It's a million times better than TripAdvisor... I think the whole problem of who to trust and the uneven reviews is really key. A case in point is that I've just been booking some travel for the US, and always want to peek at Expedia to see the review on a hotel, but bluntly, I really have no idea what expectations the reviewer who may never have set foot outside their hometown before, has. With professional reviewers, they understand the broad perspective of the reader, and it's often less about their experience and more about the experience of a bunch of readers.
I really like the idea of the Triporati site, but the sorting mechanisms might end up being a bit of a tricky thing... for instance, museums as a selection tool, what cities don't have museums, and would they all be reviewed... it might have to have a fair bit of growth to get the magic that I hope it does. I think, in a nutshell, I'm saying (to quote Blackboard) 'Hurry Up", because it's a great idea!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I just tried it and now have it bookmarked. I especially like that when you decide on your interests you can rank in order of priority. For instance, while I usually enjoy dance and festivities, I think for my next trip I need some relaxing aspects more. The site came up with some unique recommendations, some I had not even heard of/considered. Very cool.

Anonymous said...

What I really want to see is Mr. & Mrs. Smith hotel finder combined with Eyewitness Travel Guides and local comments by "experts/natives". That would be the trifecta of travel!

Lara Dunston said...

Hi Sandy - totally agree with you re experts (people who stay in hotels for a living, i.e. people like us who spend between 250-300 days a year in them) versus people who vacation for 2 weeks a year.

On the subject of museums, I guess there are certain cities you'd go to that have an array of excellent museums or a museum or two of note (say London, Paris, New York, Sydney etc or Cairo's Egyptian Museum) and then there are cities like Dubai or say Perth that might have a museum or two that you'll visit while you're in the city but you're not going to fly to that city specifically for your museum fix. Replace Museum with Restaurants, Wineries, Surfing, Croquet or whatever.

Do let me know how you go with Tripit - personally, I found it more of a hassle than it's worth, but we always have planning for so many different trips underway at once, however, I can see it would be useful if you're just planning one trip.

Hi Monica

Lara Dunston said...

Hi there Monica - oh, that's great news! I'm glad you like it. Look it's so rare that I actually review (plug) other sites like that, but I really like it so I wanted to share it, so I'm glad you do too.

Lara Dunston said...

Hi there Travel Muse - now that's an idea! You should suggest it. Now, what about i-escape? I love their choices and the style/feel of the site (disclosure: I write for them too!)

Jen Laceda | Milk Guides said...

Lara - by reading your comment thread alone, I have learned about many sites that I didn't know existed. I will be checking them all out after I write this.

Great photo, by the way. You really make me want to go to Australia. Forget Baz Luhrman and Nicole Kidman. You and Terry are the real deal !!


Anonymous said...

Lara - Just swung by Love the look, going in for deeper dive. Thanks for the tip!

Lara Dunston said...

Hi Jen - well, I'm happy to have helped! And thanks for the compliment! You're too sweet.

Hi Travel Muse - glad you like i-escape - they do have some very cool properties on their site.