There is plenty to pack when planning a business trip. The clothes. The presentations. The iPad. The stack of business cards. But there’s also one thing that’s tough for me to leave without: social media.
Of course, there are plenty of social platforms to use when traveling: Foursquare, Facebook and Twitter, to name a few. But while these are fun to use and great for keeping in touch, they are not dedicated solely to travel planning. They’re more for connecting and sharing.
Here’s some good news: As the social web grows, more platforms emerge and the more specific they can become.
When it comes to travel, I plug in to these great tools to learn information about the places I’m visiting. They are also social hubs specific to travel.
Plan it with Concur.
While this is a paid site and oftentimes is a service tied into your employer’s travel and expense program, it is an amazing resource. It’s an online travel agent and culls through hotels, flights, car rentals and the status of all three. All my business trips are booked this way and it ties in with my expense report. Best of all, if you have a Tripit account, they automatically sync up.
And best, best of all, it has an amazing app. You can take photos of your receipt with your camera phone and upload them to Concur.
Track it with Tripit.
My business and personal trips are housed here and while I just have the basic version (there is a paid, Tripit Pro model with flight status tracker and other bonus amenities), it has yet to act like anything but a travel powerhouse. Packed with trip reminders, your flight details (down to your flight number), the ability to add notes and other travel items to your event (such as meetings, dinner plans, etc.) and much more.
My favorite aspect is how they organize your experience. Each travel venture is organized by the title of your trip and within each title are all the details of the excursion. So instead of listing all your flights, hotels, etc., it will say “Louisville Speaking Engagement” and list only the flights, hotels and meetings associated with that event. Very smart. Now I can just go here to see my trip status. I dont have to go to the airline website and then the hotel website and so on.
The app is wonderful as well. I use it more often than the website. Once my travels are booked in Concur, they automatically display in Tripit and then I simply visit the app on my phone or iPad to see the status. From there, I add details or just check my flight times when I’m ready to go.
Lastly, you can share your trips with your connections. This is great for knowing your coworkers’ plans or even your neighbors’ trip details (especially if you’re watching their cats).
Explore it with Tripadvisor.
While you can use it to find and book flights, hotels, etc., Tripadvisor is my go-to resource for the exciting things to eat, see and do while I’m at my destination. With user reviews and ratings plastering the platform, I can make an informed decision on my dinner choice or excursion. Like Tripit, there’s a social plugin and you can see your friends’ travels. I love the interactive map with the pushpins showing your Facebook friend’s trips.
MSNBC has a helpful post with tons of other apps and sites for your travels. There are many great ones out there but these are my go-to choices.
Which travel platforms do you recommend and why? I’d love more tips as my traveling grows!