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Santa Barbara, Ca

I'm a full-time rambler and contract designer with as many skill sets in my quiver as there are plane tickets in my passbook. I've worked in ornamental iron, jigsaw puzzle design, bookmaking, glass engraving, and a variety of other mediums. I'm currently living out of a backpack as I trek my way around the world.

Blog

Tripit & TripDeck: Travel App Tag-Team

Zak Erving

I miss the days when the world was safe under these two great sentinels

I miss the days when the world was safe under these two great sentinels

I remember growing up in the late 80s/early 90s when WWF Wrestling Challenge was part of my weekly TV routine. These were the glory days of Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker (my favorite), Macho Man Randy Savage (my other favorite), Ultimate Warrior, and Jake "The Snake" Roberts. I followed these spandex-clad heroes with all the enthusiasm I could muster. I had WWF binders and organizers for my first day school. I even shed tears of joy when the great patriot Lex Luger defeated Yokozuna after almost being pinned twice and claimed victory for all 'Merica.

Tag team matches were always the best. They were a real twofer—as if seeing Hulk Hogan wail on some baddies wasn't cool enough, seeing him and Macho Man wail on some baddies together was the best (see: WrestleMania IV, 1987). Imagine being a little kid and seeing two of your biggest heroes fighting against evil, winning (seemingly without effort), and then high-fiving and slapping each other on the back while delivering an important monologue about staying away from drugs and following your heart.

Yeah, tag teams rule. And they still do. That's why Tripit and TripDeck are the heavy-hitting duo behind all of Plan Beagle's logistics and scheduling. Each one of these apps by themselves is a superplex of a resource, but the same rule applies here as it did with WWF in 1987: two is always better than one. Here's a breakdown of what they do:

Tripit

"Organize your travel" is Tripit's premise, and like many smartphone apps geared for itineraries, it does a fine job of allowing users to keep tabs on their upcoming and existing flight plans. Paying users have access to flight delays/cancellations, refunds (if a lower fare is found after ticket purchase), and a one-year VIP status with Hertz (car rentals) and Regus (office space), which alone are worth the annual $49 price tag a few dozen times over.

But what really gets me excited about Tripit is that I no longer have to punch in all of my flight numbers, airport codes, and departure/arrival times manually—all I've got to do is email my airline confirmation to plans@tripit.com, and the itinerary robots link up the "from" address to my account in the Tripit system. Voila! All of my airline information is synced in 10 seconds or less. (Note: I used to use other apps to do this same thing, but in many cases the response times varied from several hours to several days.)

Once I've got my flight outline, I'm ready to switch over to TripDeck…

TripDeck

TripDeck picks up where Tripit leaves off (kind of like Hulk Hogan helping Macho Man pin André the Giant), but it doesn't ignore the work Tripit has already done for the user. TripDeck users who have a TripIt account can sync the two together to seamlessly import flight information, which then becomes a rough sketch of one's entire journey, bookended by flights.

Individual entries show up in the TripDeck interface as cards, and they can be shuffled through one at a time in chronological order, or displayed all together as a list—even the most detail-oriented traveler will appreciate the slick interface with tons of customization options.

From here, it's up to the individual user's preference to enter as much additional information as needed: from car rentals to hotel reservations to restaurants and activities. And it doesn't let up there: any entry made (a train leg, for example) can be reinforced with additional notes and maps, and details can be shared with fellow travelers and friends back home.

Bonus: Mobiata, the company that created TripDeck, also has a series of flight tracker applications, aptly named FlightTrack Free, FlightTrack, and FlightTrack Pro. Their features and usability vary according to price tag, but the premise is consistent across the board: these apps are for monitoring flight departure/arrival times and baggage claim carousels. Push alerts, Tripit integration, airport maps, and weather updates are available with purchased upgrades.

Have you used any of these apps before? Did you find them useful, or did you find a particular feature interesting?