Out of Iceland comes a nifty new travel planning platform, and we take it for test drive.
Launched in May 2015, TripCreator is a startup that attempts to solve the problem of information overload in the travel planning space. While I’m personally a fan of reading lots and doing my research before I make my travel choices, I do see the need for something that works as quickly as TripCreator does.
Users start by entering their destination, dates and number of travelers then customize your budget (from low to high) and your desired activity level (from mellow to busy). Finally, you can further customize your trip by determining your “Traveler Type” preference (you can choose as many as you like). The categories include Adventure, Cultural, Family, Historical, Nature Explorer, Relax and Romantic, Sport Traveler (Golf, Hiking & Water Sport), Wildlife and Wine and Dine. It’s three simple pop-ups to get to the “Create Trip” button that kicks out a custom itinerary including accommodations and car rental (if necessary).
Once TripCreator has, er, created your trip (I do so love startups that are actually named thing that they do!), you can view it either as a calendar, a list, or a map. Each is interactive, allowing the traveler to further customize by adding or subtracting suggested options. Don't want to visit three London museums in a day? Knock one off your itinerary. Reviewing several itineraries I created, I was impressed with some of the details provided like how many miles I might be driving in a day and suggested start and stop times for each attraction visited. I was also amused at the map version that is animated showing your path throughout each day. Sometimes whistles and bells do serve a purpose, and I could imagine myself driving out of Cardiff to visit Tintern Abbey as I watched the dot move across the Welsh highway. At times, technology can inspire as we plan our journeys to seek, in the words of Wordsworth in his ode to Tintern Abbey, “a sense sublime Of something far more deeply interfused”.
At its launch, the site provided coverage for Iceland only while they were in their proof of concept phase, but they’ve slowly been rolling out additional destinations that they cover. In total, they currently allow for trip planning to Austria, Denmark, England, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Sardinia, Scotland, Sicily, Sweden, Switzerland and Wales. By the end of 2016, they intend to cover most of Europe and the US and Canada.
I do have one bone to pick, though, with the site. The text it provides for descriptions of attractions is pulled from Wikipedia, a notoriously inaccurate source of information. Hopefully, the folks at TripCreator will see the light and move towards a more reliable source for reviews (like licensing from a trusted travel guide brand) or creating it themselves. The functionality is impressive, but the sourcing for content is problematic.