While taking time away from the daily grind to explore a new destination can be an exciting and invigorating way to recharge and unwind, the pre-trip planning process is often overwhelmingly stressful. Fortunately, the developers of TripSee have found a way to eliminate the need for the cumbersome spreadsheets, endless email chains, and stacks of written notes many of us previously relied on when creating a family or group vacation itinerary.
RewardExpert recently spoke with TripSee co-founder Raymond Martinez about the inspiration behind his travel-simplifying app, how it works, and his tips for using it to create the best possible vacation experience.
Founded to Solve Trip Planning Frustrations
Martinez and his business partner, Robert Larmore, launched the TripSee app in January 2016 through their company TierItUp, which they founded in 2010 to create social and lifestyle applications for mobile and web users.
“TripSee came out of our frustration of planning trips ourselves,” Martinez explains. “About two years ago, Robert and I were both planning trips to Europe. He had a bunch of big spreadsheets and was trying to get his family and other people involved. He’d email them the spreadsheets, and they’d have to approve certain items. It was a really big mess. At the same time, I was getting on Google Hangouts with my friends to throw around ideas and links. Robert managed to make his trip work, but I got frustrated and just booked a tour instead.”
When they returned from their vacations they began to put their heads together on a solution. “We looked around and didn’t find any other apps or websites out there that were exciting, so we decided it should be our next product,” Martinez recalls. “We spent about six months in development before we had a version we could run by our friends. Everybody seemed to really like it, so we kept going.”
Now available on both the AppStore and Google Play, TripSee has been downloaded by close to 5,000 travelers. Martinez and Larmore launched a web-based counterpart to the app earlier this year. It includes all the features of the mobile version but gives consumers the ability to plan their trips at their desktop and then use the app to take their digital itinerary with them on the go.
“Our web-based release came from user feedback,” Martinez says. “They wanted more screen real estate to be able to really dive down on the map, pan around, and stuff like that. We’ll also be able to add features to this easier, give users a chance to see if they like them, and then move them to the app later.”
How TripSee Works
Whether you’re planning a trip online or on your mobile device, using TripSee is simple and intuitive. You start by entering the name of the city you’re going to visit along with your method of travel and the number of days you plan to stay. TripSee will then generate a blank itinerary.
“At that point, you can type in a tourist attraction like the Eiffel Tower or the Sears Tower or someplace else you want to go,” Martinez says. “TripSee will then take you there on a map and display a bunch of other locations to visit, starting with the must-see things, really popular restaurants, and maybe a couple of good hotels.”
If you don’t have a starting point in mind, you can choose points of interest, landmarks, museums, or restaurants and the software will generate a list of suggestions. Click on one that seems intriguing and you will find details such as address and telephone number, hours of operation, and customer reviews. You can then choose to add the destination to your trip and even set a specific time and duration for your visit.
“We pull Google’s ratings and other information like that,” Martinez explains. “We may begin working with Foursquare soon as well. Right now, we have a few different APIs that we pull in to examine the data and decipher which are the best restaurants, museums, and other stuff in town.”
If your plans change, rearranging your itinerary in TripSee is as easy as dragging and dropping a destination to a different day. You can even add travelers and share your trip with friends and family by email, text, or on Facebook.
How to Get the Most from TripSee
Martinez had a few helpful tips to help travelers get the most out of TripSee when using it to plan an itinerary for their next vacation.
“I’d start by encouraging you to use it to stay organized,” he says. “If you’re just using it to create a list of destinations, you can take your planning to the next level if you add reservation times, when you want to be at certain places, and how long you want to stay. That will really help you keep your trip on track.”
He also suggests creating your itinerary online at home and then using the app to refer to it on the go.
“Planning on the web is going to be easier because you can have more tabs open and see things a little better,” he says. “But having your trip in the palm of your hand is really convenient when you are sitting in your hotel and you’re like, ‘Where are we eating tonight?’”
Finally, if you’re finding it challenging to use the app, don’t hesitate to contact Martinez’s team for help.
“Don’t be one of those users who gets frustrated and uninstalls the app. A lot of the time, we can fix whatever problem you’re having very quickly. This is a very user-driven app, and we’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions so we can get to work on implementing them.”