The start of 2015 brought with it new goals for me including more diligent travel planning, so I was excited to have the opportunity to test out another new web app for travel planning, Tripcipe.
The travel industry is booming in recent years—the US Travel Association reports 133,600 travel industry jobs were added in 2014 alone—and everyone wants a piece of the action.
It seems not a day goes by that we're not learning of a new product or new technology to make every aspect of travel easier, more affordable, more accessible, and more enjoyable overall.
Travel planning apps are certainly no exception; these days they are cropping up one after another, each one hoping to earn a coveted spot as a must-have tool in travel planning—the Skype of the travel planning world, if you will.
Tripcipe (pronounced like recipe, I imagine) allows you to put all the necessary ingredients for your upcoming trips in one convenient place.
Lodging, sites you want to see, restaurants you'd like to try, where to shop, and anything else you might think of.
Where You Want to Go: Trips
Once you've decided where you're headed on your next adventure, you're ready to create a trip.
My upcoming travels are taking me to Seattle, New York, and Barcelona, among others, so I created trips for each of these destinations.
Then you're ready to start planning what to do at each destination. Enter: Clips.
What You Want to Do: Clips
When you first create your account with Tripcipe, you'll have access to bits of information procured by other travelers called “clips.”
A clip has useful information about a sight or activity—the name, address, the type of clip (Eats, Sleep, Activity, Shopping, or Other), a photo, the source URL, and any notes the user may have added such as prices or hours of operation.
In order to create your own clips, you must install the Tripcipe browser extension, a small green button that sits in the upper right-hand corner of your screen (you'll be prompted to do this when you create your account).
Then, when you're researching for your upcoming trip and come across something you want to save as a clip, you simply click the green button.
Much of the information needed for the clip will auto-populate—a photo (which you can change if you like, or even upload your own), the URL, and in most instances the address as well—so you just have to fill in the blanks before hitting save, and the clip will appear in your trips on the Tripcipe site.
When you click on a trip to check it, you'll see a list on the left-hand side of the screen giving details of each clip along with a beautiful Google map showing the location of each—just hover over one to highlight it on the map.
Tripcipe makes it simple to search by clip, trip, or site users by typing a keyword into the search bar. Because the site is still in private beta, there aren't many clips to choose from just yet so most of my clips I created myself.
Another way to explore the site is to view recently created clips; much like a Pinterest feed, you can follow other users and see their most recent clips.
My favorite way to explore the site, however, is by using the map feature. You'll find it under the Explore tab along with recent clips. Just type in where you're headed and a map will appear showing all clips for that destination.
This might be what I like best about Tripcipe.
Say, for instance, I'm only visiting a place for a day or two. Seeing the attractions I'm interested in laid out on a map allows me to know exactly how far apart they are and whether I'd be able to see them in the same day or a short period.
If I know I'll be getting around mostly on foot, I can look for attractions that are all close together geographically. I also used the map to compare locations of several different accommodation options to see which I liked best.
The Mobile App
For iPhone users, Tripcipe's free mobile app allows you to take your trips with you to refer to on the road (the Android app is still in development at time of review).
Edit your clips and access the source URL just as you would on your computer and filter by type of clips you want to view. The latter is a good option if you have many clips and your map appears cluttered.
While the app requires a Wi-Fi connection or data plan as of today, the ability to access content offline will be coming out in the next few weeks.
Users will then be able to access all of their information and maps whether or not they have Wi-Fi access or a data plan.
Using Tripcipe is like creating a digital scrapbook (sounds a lot like Pinterest again). I like that it allows me to put everything in one convenient place to refer back to, and I like how easy it is to create clips to save for later using the browser plugin.
The site layout is very clean and intuitive to navigate; the layout is quite similar to Pinterest in this regard as well.
Perhaps my favorite part is the visual aspect of it; the photos attached to each clip give me a good sense of what the activity, restaurant or accommodation is like, and being able to see the exact location on a map is very handy.
The mobile app is a great idea—having information like addresses and hours of operation on the road would be very helpful. Once the new release allows for trips and clips to be accessed offline, I would be inclined to use the iPhone app regularly.
Room For Improvement
Most current users are not adding notes to their clip, so it's impossible to know whether they recommend the sight or activity or whether the simply thought it looked interesting and plan to research it further.
For me, this makes others' clips far less useful and leaves much of the researching up to me. I found myself spending little time on the Tripcipe site itself and lots of time on Google and TripAdvisor.
Allowing users to check sites and attractions (either directly on the clip or by linking to TripAdvisor or other review sites) would make clips much more useful.
For seeing and comparing locations of attractions, Tripcipe is a great tool. However, with so many similarities to Pinterest (which has 70 million active users as of January 2015) I can't quite make a case for using it as my go-to travel planning app.
Ready to give Tripcipe a try? Sign up for a free account here and let us know what you think in the comments below.
This review was brought to you in partnership with Tripcipe. As always, the author's opinion is her own.