Summer is almost here! And, if you’re anything like me, you’re pining for a vacation! I’ve got a pandemic’s worth of pent up vacations inside of me. How about you?

And while, of course, COVID isn’t over. We’re all basically acting like it is. And that means summer travel is on the horizon for many of us. (I’m still going to be wearing my N-95 on the plane though and trying to eat outside wherever possible! I’m not that ready to pretend everything is ok.)

I love traveling. It’s one of my favorite things. It’s one of the things I’ve missed most over the last couple of years. Now, I’m a very frugal person in general. But travel (and good food, let’s be real) is where I prioritize my funds.

But, counterintuitively, I hate travel planning. It’s one of my least favorite activities. I think I developed an aversion to travel planning way back in the very early years of my career, when I was an office manager and responsible for planning other people’s travel. I don’t like comparing flights and such even when it’s for me; let alone doing it for trips I wasn’t even going on myself!

Lucky for me, according to the division of labor in my home, travel planning falls into my husband’s bucket. So, I’ve mostly been able to remove that particular burden from my own workload.

However, once I’m on a trip, I still have to keep track of the details. We all need to know the flight confirmation numbers, the address of the hotel, the restaurant reservations we’ve booked, etc. And keeping that info in email (or worse, paper) is messy at best.

So, I want to share with you my absolute favorite app when it comes to traveling. (And, with the love letter I’m about to write, you might be questioning if I’m getting paid to write this. But I assure you, I’m not.)

I have been using this app, religiously, since 2008. (When, honestly, it was probably a website and not an app, because I didn’t have an iPhone until 2009.)

What is this magical, free app? It’s called TripIt, and it’s a game changer.

Here’s how it works:

  • Whenever you receive an email confirmation (flight, hotel, Airbnb, restaurant, etc.), you just forward the email to TripIt
  • TripIt magically parses the data into an itinerary for you, complete with weather and maps
  • You open the app and you know exactly where to go, and when, with the confirmation numbers at your fingertips. All the info, all in one place.

That’s it. It’s magic and it takes so much stress out of travel.

Now, of course, it has tons of other nice features as well. My favorites of which are that:

  • You can share your trips with others, so if you’re traveling as a group, you can easily see everyone’s flight info, etc.
  • You can add freeform notes, so you can keep track of all those recommendations you picked up along the way and access them in one place.

You know, as I was sitting down to write this, I was thinking about why it is that I’m still so enamored with this tool, 14 years after I started using it. And I think it’s this: TripIt is the travel equivalent of a “single trusted system”. It’s everything you need, all in one place, presented to you linearly. Your brain can let go of the details and enjoy the trip, because everything you need is right there.

What’s your favorite travel tip or hack?