Remember the days when you had to physically print your airline tickets and take them with you to the airport? As a child I vividly remember spending an extra 3 hours in the car on the way to the airport in another city as we realised halfway into the long journey that we had left our travel reservations behind. Skip forward a decade and now you don’t even need to keep copies of your emails on your phone. Welcome to the world of travel planning and tracking apps.
These apps allow you to import all of your reservation details, mostly automatically, and keep an organised listing of each reservation that you can easily refer to. Push notifications for flight delays and gate changes, combined with suggested sightseeing directions and itineraries, can really make your holiday a breeze.
Here’s my top 3 recommended apps for Aussie travellers.
My personal favourite is TripCase. The product was launched by Sabre in 2013 and its strength lies with its deep integration with the network of airlines and travel agents using Sabre reservation technologies.
For airlines such as Virgin Australia, flight delays and gate changes will occur within TripCase often before they are announced at the airport.
Many corporate travel agencies in Australia will link all of your bookings automatically with the app if you sign up with your corporate email address.
For all other reservations, you can forward them to the TripCase email address for automatic import or manually add each detail.
- Solid and reliable app
- Free instant notifications for gate changes and delays
- Automatically syncs with Sabre’s reservations network (110,000 travel companies)
- App design is fairly dated and not as nice as Google’s
- Sightseeing and food recommendations leave a bit to be desired
For Google users, one of the easiest apps to start using for tracking flight and hotel reservations is Google Trips. The app ties in with Gmail and will automatically pull reservation information from your emails without any manual setup. It’s simplicity is one of its best features; it makes it super simple to locate details that are usually buried deep down in your emails. The app also offers a very pleasant and intuitive design.
The killer feature from Google’s offerings is their ‘Things to do’ and ‘Day Plans’ features for holidaymakers. This feature ties in with Google Maps recommends activities and specific routes to take in cities to see the sights. This is one of the features that only Google can offer, for it relies on vast amounts of data and insights to be crunched. For people short on time, it really takes the stress out of planning sightseeing tours. I personally found some of the plans really helpful on a recent trip to Barcelona.
- Beautiful and intuitive design
- Fully automatic for Gmail users
- No flight delay or gate change notifications
- Cannot manually add reservations
- Lacks many of the more advanced features offered by TripCase and TripIt
TripIt is a real work horse when it comes to organising and tracking your travel reservations. Probably the most feature packed solution on the market, TripIt can almost handle any type of reservation with ease. You can forward your reservation emails or have the app scan your email account automatically.
Unfortunately I find the app a bit too clunky for my liking. The design isn’t very aesthetically pleasing and not overly intuitive with a lot of features tacked on in certain areas. This is also one of its strengths, with a lot of advanced features, albeit that require paid accounts. Features such as seat selection notification and flight re-routing suggestions.
While the app is very powerful, unfortunately not even flight update notifications are free, which is disappointing for such a basic feature. The free version of the app still has helpful features but is littered with ads and I find the app less appealing than TripCase.
- Handles almost any type of reservation
- Can be setup to automatically scan Gmail accounts
- Powerful paid features like seat selection notifications, alternate flight searching and points tracking
- App has a very poor design
- Flight notification updates require paid accounts