My hands down favorite travel planning tool these days is Tripcipe, a travel planning map application that I like to say is a marriage between Pinterest and Google Maps. You may have noticed a funny green icon that's recently appeared on all of my travel guides... that's Tripcipe! I've been using Tripcipe it to plan my travels for just over a year now and have taken it with me on my trips all over the world and I am so obsessed I've integrated it into my website. It's free, it's easy to use and if you don't have it yet, you need to get it to make your travel life a whole lot better. And just so you know - I get absolutely no benefit for promoting Tripcipe, I really just love it that much and I'm here to tell you why.
One thing that I find so hard about researching new locations is where to put all of the nuggets of information I find and be able to see those places I want to visit to on a map. For a long time (and if you read my blog in the early days) I would create these ugly GoogleMaps that did the job, but were pretty frustrating to use. Like a magic spell out of a fairytale, one day I stumbled upon Tripcipe and all of my travel planning dreams came true.
Here's how it works:
1. Find It
Let's say you are doing research for a trip and you come across a blog or website and you read about a cool spot that you want to check out. Let's say you are on my website, reading my Guide to Portland and want to remember that eclectic Thai restaurant I talked about. Then what?
2. Clip It
Instead of writing it down somewhere or sticking in an annoying excel sheet, all you have to do is click on the Tripcipe Clipper icon on your browser or if the blog is cool like mine, you can just click on the icon directly next to the name of the place (quick side note: the clipper only works with Chrome, not Internet Explorer). A pop up box will appear, auto populating all of the vital information automatically for you (name, address, hours, website, etc.), including notes, then you can add your own notes or literally copy and paste the awesome info you found from the website, then save it to your specified map!
3. See It
Then you can go back to your map on Tripcipe, either on your computer or on your mobile device, and your clip will be right there waiting for you. Here's exactly what the clips look like within my Portland map, a variety of awesome restaurants, activities, shopping spots and hotels I love to around the city. And that's it, ta dah!!!
now that you know how it works, Here's Why I Love It so much...
- It let's me see where places are in relation to one another. I hate when I come across a blog and read about these incredible places, just to find out later that they are hours away from my location. When I clip something, it immediately shows up on my map and I can quickly decide if it's within my travel vicinity, and decide to delete or keep it there as a "just in case" spot.
- All of my notes are in one spot. Sometimes I'll make a note to visit a place and not remember why that place was special. With Tripcipe, I can include my own notes like, "go for lunch and get the bread bowl" or "remember to take a photo from the bottom of the stairs" and link back to the website I found my information on in case I want to reference back for more details.
- When I'm traveling, I can see what I've clipped nearby. For example, I will clip a ton of restaurants I've done research on, but it doesn't mean I'm going to be able to eat at all of them. However, if I end up near, let's say, the Eiffel Tower and need a bite to eat, I can pull up my map on my phone (no internet or wifi needed) and see what I've clipped close by.
- There's a GPS tracker built into the app. Last year my husband and I went to New Zealand and drove all across the North Island. On one of our drives, his phone ran out of batteries and we had no idea where we were going. I pulled up my Tripcipe app on my iPad and could see exactly where we were on the map and I was able to direct us to our destination, without WiFi or cell service. True story. I especially use this function when I'm traveling internationally in big cities, wandering around on foot having no clue where I am!
- I can add clips from other peoples's trips. Tripcipe allows you to see other users's maps, giving you the ability to copy a single clip or entire trip onto your own map. Of course, you can keep your maps private if you don't want anyone seeing your personal notes, but this makes it so much easier to share my recommendations with other friends and readers.
- It lets you build an itinerary with your clips. I love that I can create a travel itinerary with my clips. It helps make my days much more efficient, attacking a city one area at a time one day at a time, without wasting energy backtracking or running all across town.