Tired of printing confirmation emails for every flight, hotel, car and restaurant table you reserve? Or typing the contents of all those emails into your calendar?
Time for a travel organization app. There are several, and they can swiftly transform your emails into a single, easily shareable itinerary with confirmation numbers, addresses, maps and detailed notes. Which is best? That depends on you. All of the apps can help make itinerary creation a breeze, but each is distinguished by different features, be it flight alerts, currency converters, airport spa locaters or customizable lists like “Wines I drank along the way.”
I tested some of the best-known apps — those most likely to appear in app stores and web searches — and split them into four categories to help you find a perfect match.
If you don’t want to automatically import your plans, just forward your confirmation emails to planstripit.com instead. Either way, you can view your itinerary on your smartphone or tablet (through the app and on your calendar if you enable “calendar sync”) and on the web (so if you still want to print it, you can). And you can share your itinerary with friends, family and social media followers.
For $49 a year, you can upgrade to TripIt Pro, which includes alerts for things like flight delays, gate changes and better seats when they become available. Pro users can also monitor their frequent flier accounts. If you’ve been using TripIt, you know that some airlines have been unavailable, but you can now track your American, Delta, Southwest and United miles too.
That said, the TripCase app does have some nice features, like the ability to look at your itinerary in “timeline view” as well as “action view,” which includes a fun heading that shows when you’re going. For instance, I have a coming trip to France, so mine said, “trip starts in 2 months.” There are good maps and, for any hotels on your itinerary, a graphic shaped like a Do Not Disturb sign reminds you of the checkout time. Action view also has handy icons that allow you to check local weather and email your plans to others.
A similar app, TripDeck (free), lets you create an itinerary by filling out tabs including flight, train, cruise and lodging. Alternatively, you can sync the app with TripIt. I tried to do so several times, and each time, the app crashed. . It also crashed when I tried to add a trip manually, even when I made sure all other apps on my phone were closed. I tried on different days too. No luck. Next.
Like TripIt and TripCase, WorldMate (free; a “gold” version is $3.99) can be used on the web and on your mobile device. And it automatically creates an itinerary when you forward your booking confirmations to a designated email (tripsworldmate.com). Designed for business travelers, the bells and whistles here include a currency converter, a tip calculator and the ability to share your trip with your LinkedIn connections. WorldMate allows users to search for hotel, flight or car reservations using travel sites like Kayak and Expedia too, though this is easier done on WorldMate.com than on the app.
There are folders you can customize by choosing colors and icons (an airplane or luggage, for example) as well as the font and background of the notes inside. One pre-existing folder called “travel journal” allows you to document your trip not only in writing but also with photos and art — if you select a drawing tool.
Even better: You can do this on your smartphone, tablet or laptop because Awesome Note syncs with Google Drive and Evernote, so all your notes (one might be an itinerary; another might be a packing list) can be synchronized across devices. And there are various ways to share a note with loved ones, be it through Google Drive, printing it or sending it as an email, even a text, from within the app.
Ultimately, I think TripIt is the most intuitive itinerary app. It’s sophisticated yet simple. No ads, no games, only what I want: a color-coded itinerary (hotel icons are orange, flights are blue) that I can access from multiple devices and easily share.