How Would You Improve Travel? $50 For Your Thoughts

How Would You Improve Your Travel Experience?

Earlier this week, I shared a cool new feature from Google that allows you to check your flight status and see all your upcoming travel plans.

I literally just used it to check my flight later this evening!

flight status -1

Features like this fascinate me because such a small thing can make life SO much easier for millions of people. Instead of digging into my inbox or worse, having to find the confirmation code and log into the airline’s website, with 1 search, I was able to get all my upcoming flight info!

While we as passengers (unless you are Richard Branson) can’t go out and buy an airline and make it better, things like Google’s new feature and sites like Hipmunk, HotelsTonights, etc, show that we certainly can improve everything in-between the physical act of flying on a plane. So as part of my school, for the past few months, I’ve been tinkering with the idea of building a travel app.

Travel is one of the few things that I am truly passionate about and from my experiences planning trips, booking trips, and taking trips, there are quite a few inefficiencies that could really be improved upon.

For example, one thing that I have always found annoying is that if you are planning a trip with someone else, there is no easy way to share and collaborate on your potential itinerary.

Many of you may be familiar with this pattern.

You go to Kayak or (insert your preferred travel provider or airline here),  find a flight that you think might work but need to check with whomever you are traveling with before you book it. When you go to try and copy the potential flight and paste it in an email, the formatting always gets messed up so you end up just typing it out.

In recent years, especially when I am planning a larger trip with multiple flights and hotels, I now resort to just creating a Google Docs spreadsheet and copy pasting in potential options. It isn’t pretty or very effective BUT it gets the job done and it is sharable with the people I am traveling with.

What Are Your First World Problems?

So creating a web app that helps you organize potential flight & hotel options is one thing I have been tossing around but I would love to hear everyone else’s opinions on the matter.

So my 2 questions are:

1) How do you plan a trip?

Do you use a spreadsheet, Google Docs, Evernote, email, etc.?

2) Are there any travel technologies that you wished someone would build to make your life easier?

For example, someone thought that it would be nice to manage all your frequent flyer accounts in one place, so they built AwardWallet.

Don’t worry if your idea might not make any money, I just want to know things that really bother you as travelers and any solutions you have to fix them.

If you have an answer to either of these questions, please leave a comment below or you are free to email me.

For your participation in this “market research”, I’ll randomly send one person a $50 Amazon electronic gift card based on the responses posted by 5pm (Chicago time) on Monday, March 10. If you want to be considered for the giftcard, remember to use your real email.


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  1. 1) How do you plan a trip?

    Evernote and Wikipedia

    2) Are there any travel technologies that you wished someone would build to make your life easier?

    HotelTonight but for points.

    1. @Hao – How do you use Evernote? I use it to snap screenshots of photos of flights i want to take and then save them.

  2. I’d love to have a program that would list the major chain hotels (e.g., Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, etc.) in a certain neighborhood, or near a particular landmark (e.g., Madison Square Garden) AND, along with the nightly price, how many points each requires for an award night stay, so that it would be easy to figure out which points to use for the best value.

  3. 1) When I plan a trip I keep track of all my itineraries via email. I have a separate email address that I send/forward all my stuff there. This way I don’t have to search thru all kinds of junk to locate things. I also keep a small printout created in excel that has my reward #’s, this make it quick access if need be. The last thing that I have done is take a picture of my priority pass, passport, Dl, etc and sent it to my travel email, so that I have it I case of an emergency.

    2) what I wish someone would create is a mix of passbook and COIN ( new credit card tech, that stores all your CC’S in one place). I would love for this to have your air tickets, rental car info, hotel checking/key, etc all in one place so I don’t have to carry and stumble thru all my stuff. My phone or a card can have all that info stored with a swipe/scan etc

  4. 1. I usually use Kayak, friends and family who have been to the locations and to plan and book my trips

    2. A comparison site where, when you plug in a particular route, it not only lists the prices and on-time percentage for the flights, but also adds recommended tips for that route. Essentially combining Kayak and Yelp/TripAdvisor for flights.

  5. I plan with email. Better screening of passengers before airport arrival to speed up the airport experience.

  6. I use google maps when I’m in foreign country. I put a star on he places I want to visit or the hotels I’ll be staying at.
    One thing I wish google maps could do is to make a personal note on the places I mark. So that I know what to look for or what to eat!

  7. i would like a way to instantly know when new seats become available…and… when the potential of an overbook is high. that way I can look at my rebook options, dial that in, and grab a sweet compensation package! sweet!

  8. 1. Plan a Trip — Word Doc or Spreadsheet
    2. An App which can give best mileage currency to use for given trip based on Source and Destination. A better version of what was!!

  9. i plan my trips via an open email draft–easy to make changes along the way.

    i’d love to be able to compare redemption rates in a particular city across different brands.

  10. I wish that there were a website where locals would hire themselves out to be your tour guide for their neighbourhoods.

    Not a proper travel tour. The best experiences have been with the locals and restaurants referred to by locals – so why not hang out with one for the day. I would much rather feel like I live in a city than go to all the tourist hotspots

  11. I use a excel spreadsheet to track my miles and membership numbers.
    I always print a hard copy just in case because I’ve experienced where the agent at the counter could not find my reservation and my 3G phone has no reception!

  12. I wish all the hotel booking sites would easily allow adding the reservation to your online calendar of choice and use the hotel check in/out times on the event.

  13. 1) I use google calendar for my details and recently have started to use TripIt. 2) I wish there was a way that a free program (as opposed to a paid one) would update and send me an email if there are schedule changes to a flight.

  14. I basically use a spreadsheet and google calendar. I also leave travel-related emails in my inbox (I usually keep my inbox pretty free of clutter) so I don’t forget about them!

  15. I use the regular tools when planning: airline, hotel and OTC sites, FT, Tripit, Airbnb, AwardWallet. Often an email from AW is first notice I get of a schedule change. I keep trip related notifications in my email for verification during the trip and subsequent use for expense reports, taxes, etc.

    As for an innovation, I wish there was an app that would ensure ticket numbers made it from one airline to the next. It would be a lot easier to babysit an elaborate itinerary that way than to have to call multiple airlines one an a time to check a trip segment by segment.

  16. 1) I use google and spreadsheets to plan out my trips.

    2) I’m completely new to traveling and putting together points for trips. I wish there was an app that would help you step-by-step in the process of booking your first trip using points. I tried Travel Hacking Cartel and I follow a bunch of blogs, but I still find points (specifically airline points) confusing.

  17. I use google docs to help plan my trips and i wish there was a tool where you could enter where you want to go and it would tell you the cheapest miles to use.

  18. 1. I usually see which program I have points for then search by there sites to see where to go for the best value.

    2. A website similar to award wallet or in additional service of award wallet where you could search for say 4-7 nights with these points what are my options?

  19. I use my email for keeping track of booking stuff. It does get muddled, but I also put it in a word document right before I leave so my reservations, tours and flights are all put together.

    I absolutely love having Tmobile’s intl text and talk plan – it has helped me avoid getting lost. I wish there was an app that would help me pick hotels that would be close to things that I would like in an area. I don’t know if that would be based on my demographic or if it could interpret what I liked during past trips. It is usually too hard to figure out a place in town to stay without researching the area a bit (or a lot.)

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