TripIt is an incredibly useful app for any traveler. But is the $49 annual fee for TripIt Pro worth it? My answer: absolutely. Today I’ll explain why - and a unique tip on how to get it for free.The first and last travel organizer in my iPhone,
The free (or 99 cent ad-free) version
TripIt is free for travelers, although with a limited range of options. At its most basic level, TripIt organizes your travel itineraries, from flight reservations to car rentals and even concert tickets, the service will track confirmation numbers, directions and much more in one easy-to-navigate place.
How TripIt does this is by scanning confirmation emails for the relevant data, and then stripping it out into it’s own clean, structured website and app. The information is organized into sequential “trips” and keeps track of historical data, like number of countries visited and miles flown.
To add your travel plans, a user either enables TripIt to automatically scan his or her email files or can simply forward any relevant emails to the TripIt inbox. Personally, I do the latter as I had some problems with the auto feature – but it is up to you. An added benefit for business travelers is Concur itineraries are automatically added when you sync the profiles.
Finally, and perhaps the biggest benefit to me, TripIt can be ported into your calendar feed, automatically updating your computer and phone with new plans. As a person that stores my life on iCal, the benefit of having travel plans automatically sync to my calendars – including the ability to share – is a huge value add.
The $49 Pro version
Where TripIt Pro sets itself apart from, say, an excel sheet or alternative travel app, is the way it tracks your plans. By automatically notifying you of travel information – airline delays, connection gates, etc. – via email, text, and/or phone notification, the app quickly becomes essential to traveling. And I can attest to it – on multiple occasions TripIt Pro has notified me of flight changes even prior to the airline!
To add emphasis to the above, humor me with a story. A few months ago, I received a TripIt Pro alert as I was getting into a taxi to the airport. This was a full 15 minutes before my airline alert was triggered with the same news. Instead of taking the taxi and turning around - a potential 30 minute ride and cost - I simply stayed in my apartment. As the flight ended up being cancelled due to a several-day snowstorm, the benefit there is very real.
OK, back to TripIt Pro (and you). Another way the app tracks your travel plans is using their Seat Tracker alert system. Here you can select the type of seat you want for a given flight and, if one opens up, be immediately notified. In full disclosure, I haven’t used this service much but have read rave reviews elsewhere.
Finally, TripIt “Teams” – similar to Pro – offers a variety of sharing services that are particularly useful for families or small businesses, making travel arrangements for a team much more manageable.
How to unlock TripIt Pro for free
My readers know I hate paying fees and very rarely advise for it. So, in this case, there are two ways to unlock TripIt Pro for free – the first for 30 days, and the second for a year. But both come with disclosures.
For 30 days, all you have to do is be a new member and sign up for the free trial. In my experience, although dated for the trial period, TripIt does a good job of notifying members of upcoming charges in advance and will refund an amount if the customer is wrongly charged. So it really is risk-free.
The second option, however, is far superior in my opinion. As a current top five airline credit card of 2015, the Barclays Arrival Plus is the main card I have brought around-the-world. One of the very unique benefits of this credit card is a free TripIt Pro membership, among many others. This means that all of the TripIt Pro benefits outlined above can be yours - simply by using one of the best credit cards out there.
Do you have TripIt Pro? If so, do you think it is worth the $49 annual fee? Add your own reviews in the comment section below. Or, if not, I recommend signing up for your own TripIt Pro membership trial today.