As EcoTripSos – Budget Travel Guide, there are two words we have kept saying since the beginning of our blogging adventure: ‘plan’ and ‘research’. Yes, in order to find the cheapest deals and reach as many destinations as possible through the cheapest way (assuming that you do mind sleeping in a park), a good research and planning are obligatory. Some of you might ask ‘How can I research a place I know absolutely nothing about?” at this point. Naturally, the information you can obtain about a place you know nothing about is limited to several travel blogs and hotel/hostel search engines. It is not already possible to have ‘infinite knowledge’ otherwise it wouldn’t be worth living the life (I <3 cheap philosophy), right? Even a Turkish myth (or Middle Eastern?) say that Lokman Hekim was swallowed by a series of natural disasters since he discovered the formula of immortality... And yes, this is cheap philosophy justified by local myths.Anyway, I get sidetracked quite often these days. You should have warned me... As we said, a good research and planning can keep a lot of burden (money, energy, stress) at a safe distance. As EcoTripSos - Budget Travel Guide, we have made a small research to meet the need and discovered a really cool web site: TRIPOMATIC!
But what is Tripomatic about? Tripomatic actually decreases the difficulty of trip planning from ‘Regular’ to ‘Recruit’ (a CoD player, yeah). That is, from ‘simple’ to ‘very simple’… It almost gives us a ready-made trip plan. Tripomatic even allows you to download the mobile app or carry your trip plan with you at all times online AND offline! Since it is pretty much a huge site, let’s go step by step from this point.
Once you reach the homepage via www.tripomatic.com, all you need to do to plan your trip is to click on “Create Your Trip Now”, the huge blue button.
When you scroll down a bit, you see some brief introduction to the site, mostly what you can do with it. But as you scroll down even more, a much better structure welcomes you. The ‘Destinations’ menu on the left site gives you a list of the most popular destinations, through which you can plan your trip to a particular one, print out a city map or read (or download) the tourist guide for each city.
Even better, on these pages, there are ready-made trip plans from 1 day to 3 days, sometimes even longer. You can simply download one and claim it yours!
For now, we will assume that you’ll plan your trip from the scratch, so let’s click on “Create Your Trip Now”.
2. Choose a Destination
When you click on the button above, the above screenshot is what you see. You just type in the city where you want to go, say, Rome. It gives us all the options with the word ‘Rome’ in it, so we click on ‘Rome, Italy’.
3. Dates and Duration
Upon city selection, there appears a calendar and a scroll bar to set the duration of our stay. We choose some randomly and click next, only to see a little surprise from Tripomatic.
4. Ready Made City Tours
This section is optional but quite useful. Some pre-made popular tour plans particular to the city of your choice are presented to you as your initial activity within the city. If you choose one of these, you can see on the map the beginning point, the order of locations and the ending point of your ready made tour on a red line. If you click ‘Finish’ without making a choice here, you can proceed to the city map (without red lines).
5. Trip Planner
The best of all… Based on our previous selections, the city map is displayed. What a city map… It actually has three headings, so let’s have a look at them one by one.
This is the landing page when the city map is displayed. Marked on the map, you can see small photos, which is the COMPLETE LIST OF SIGHTS!!! It goes from historical sites to restaurants&bars, natural parks, even night clubs!
Is that it? Of course not! When you point to one of these small photos with your curpor, a small info screen shows up, which has a couple of sentences about the site. Right below, there’s the button “Add to Day 1”.
When you click on “Add to Day 1”, you simply include that particular site to your first day plan. However, you can also choose “Day 2” or “Day 3” from the left top of the screen, if you prefer to do so.
This small info screen has yet another cool feature. Some of you may have already noticed that the name of the site (or place) is blue and underlined, which means it links to another page. When you click on that link, you get more detailed (sometimes even 4-5 paragraphs) information about what you’re pointing at. If it’s a restaurant or a bar, you can even see the phone number, e-mail address, working hours and the official website information. Finding out about the entrance fees of museums is also possible.
Are they too complicated, the marks on the map? Simply narrow down your options, using the ‘category’ function on top of the map. Or click on ‘Must-see’ so that you see only the most important points on the map.
When you add your points of interest using the “Add to Day X” buttons, they are marked on your map and a red line becomes visible between those points.
For a sattelite view of the map, just click on the ‘sattelite’ button on the right top of the map, as in Google Maps.
Now let’s have a look at the second tab.
As you may have already guessed, when you click on this tab, the accommodation services (but not all, unfortunately) are marked on your map. When you move your cursor on one of them, a small info screen again shows up and the button “Show Rates” redirects to booking.com for up-to-date rates. If you click on ‘Select’, another screen shows up, on which you can set your dates and add the hotel to your plan. Just click ‘Save’ if you plan to do so.
If you say ‘The classier, the better…’, you can narrow down the options by using the ‘Show By Star Rating’ function on top of the map.
This is the third and last tab of Trip Planner. In this tab, you mark the transportation options on your map (obvious, right?). Actually, they are marked the moment you open this tab. But you can narrow down your options by using the ‘Show by Type’ function on top of the map.
If it is not possible to reach a particular spot on foot, you can just click on any transportation option you want and click again on ‘From Here’ button on the small pop up screen. Then click on your arrival spot and click on ‘To Here’ (and ‘Save Route, too) if you would like to add this short bus or train trip to your trip plan. It is immediately displayed on your map with one of those red lines.
If you don’t know where exactly the place you want to go is located, you can use the text boxes on the left to type the name in.
Another cool feature of the transportation tab is the ‘Add Car Rental’ button. Yes, Tripomatic also simplifies renting a car. When you click on that button, rent-a-car companies are marked on your map and you can identify the start and finish points of your trip in the text boxes on the left. If you click on ‘Compare car rentals in area’ right below this field, you can simply do what the button suggests. Neat, isn’t it?
After you make all your choices and decide what to see, where to go, you can download your brand new trip plan to your computer or smartphone, using the “Save&Download” button on the left.
Cool as it seems, Tripomatic also has some disadvantages.
1. Language Support
Tripomatic operates only in English, and I don’t think it can be translated any time soon. Because it is a vast project covering almost all the world and translating the whole thing would take months, even years.
2. Missing Destinations
All the popular destinations in the world are present on Tripomatic in detail. But not every city, unfortunately. Just for the sake of trying, I searched Yozgat (a really small town in central Turkey, sometimes made fun of by asking if it actually exists) and no results were found. But I still think it may not be considered a disadvantage. Because Tripomatic is covering another city as you are reading this article and in time, you will have difficulty seeing “no results found” in its search engine.
3. Missing Sites / Facilities / Hot Spots
As for activities and transportation, I must say that it’s almost complete (for popular destinations, at least). But the accommodation services appear to be quite limited. For that reason, it would be convenient to make use of other hotel/hostel search engines as well.
Plus, there is the “Add Your Own” button on the left top of the Trip Planner screen. When you click on that button, you can add an unlisted site to your map and plan accordingly. This way, the missing parts are compensated.
Tripomatic is a project that would make one feel safer in lands s/he knows ‘absolutely nothing about’, it’s more like public service, if you ask me. With only several clicks, you get a whole bunch of information about where you should eat, where you should stay and which train station to use. Although we have mentioned some disadvantages, with a little bit of extra resource, it could be compensated and even so, I still believe, in a few years, the disadvantages will be dealt with by the Tripomatic team. .
Briefly, I really love this site, thus I wanted to share it with you guys. My personal opinion is that it is the best trip planner on the market. A+!
Trip Planning Made Easy: Tripomatic
Trip Planning Made Easy: Tripomatic