Version Reviewed: 1.4.1
iPhone Integration Rating:
User Interface Rating:
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Traveling can be a hassle. That's why, after years of fumbling with tickets, hotel confirmation numbers, and miserable trips across the globe, I am a loyal TripIt user. The site is a home for your travel documents on the web - it's as simple as forwarding any email confirmation you get to firstname.lastname@example.org. TripIt parses the email and gives you an understandable itinerary accessible from anywhere. TripDeck, by Mobiata, adds a beautiful front-end to TripIt in the form of an iPhone application. It takes TripIt's basic functionality, adds in some features of TripIt Pro at a lower cost, and brings it all to a beautifully designed mobile package.
Sync It Up
Unlike many other travel apps, TripDeck doesn't make you enter any of your travel information on your own. Instead, simply allow TripIt to interface with the application and it will pull down all of your travel arrangements. The workflow is quite simple: 1) book travel plans, 2) forward them to email@example.com, 3) view them in TripDeck. You'll wonder how you lived without that kind of simplicity after using the application.
TripDeck wouldn't be much if all it did was mirror TripIt's mobile interface. Instead, TripDeck adds a terrific UI innovation with the concept of "trip cards." Each phase of your trip is given its own dedicated card, with a confirmation number (if applicable) and all relevant information. For my recent trip abroad, it was helpful to look at all of my different travel and accommodation arrangements at a glance. TripDeck even provides quick shortcuts to call any of the travel providers you're booked with. I booked my trip with AirBnB and found that TripIt properly extracted all of my data and TripDeck displayed it in a rather useful manner.
No Such Thing as Free
As with many free apps, there's a catch to TripDeck. The application does not include many of the features of paid travel apps, relying instead on TripIt sync and its user interface for downloads. Those are, it would seem, enough for a basic user. For those who want more, TripDeck offers three different in-app purchase packs. The first delivers push real-time alerts with flight status. Also available are zoomable flight maps and live flight statistics (ex: your gate information). Mobiata charges users $2.99 per extra feature, adding up to a costly $8.97 for the app "nicely equipped." Astute readers will recognize that most of these features are included in another Mobiata application, FlightTrack Pro. I used FlightTrack Pro in conjunction with TripDeck on my trip to test both and found that the features in FlightTrack Pro (and, therefore, in TripDeck's add-ons) are definitely good for the constant commuter but mostly unnecessary for the casual traveler.
The Frugal Traveler
TripDeck is an integral tool for any traveler - especially one on a budget. The free app is essential for keeping track of information on a trip, whether it's accommodation information, plane gates, or train times. While much of this is due to TripIt, the Mobiata team deserves kudos for such slick integration and a well polished UI. Business and frequent travelers should beware that the add-ons for TripDeck are expensive. There are other options out there that provide similar features (like TripTracker Pro), but few are as visually attractive as TripDeck.