Google's new Trips app helps you discover noteworthy sights during trips and maps them out in itineraries. The app also imports travel confirmations from Gmail, but that feature is still rough around the edges.
Google Trips, a new trip-planning and travel-guide app for Android and iOS, isn’t the TripIt killer it could be. The free app is, however, a worthy download for business and leisure travelers, particularly those who like to map out sightseeing itineraries for their destinations.
Google Trips and TripIt (for Android, iOS, Windows, BlackBerry and web browsers) both automatically import email confirmations for hotels, airlines, rental cars, restaurants, and more. And they build trip itineraries based on those messages.
TripIt automatically imports travel email from Gmail, Outlook.com and Yahoo Mail. You can also manually forward travel confirmation emails to TripIt at firstname.lastname@example.org. Google Trips is limited to Gmail, and you must be logged into your Google account to use the app.
TripIt bests Google Trips in email import
In my experience, TripIt does a better job importing confirmation emails from my Gmail account.
For an upcoming trip in October, TripIt imported my airline, hotel, and rental car emails, and built a new itinerary around them. Google Trips imported my airline and rental car emails into one itinerary, but it built a second itinerary around my hotel email confirmation. And I couldn’t find a way to merge the two. You also cannot manually add reservations to your Google Trips itineraries, but you can with the TripIt app.
On the plus side, Google Trips makes it easy to access original email confirmations directly in the app.
Google Trips bests TripIt in exploration
Google Trips really shines by helping you plan what to do at your destinations, before you arrive or while you’re there. Trips suggests places to see and restaurants at your destinations. You can browse sights based on criteria such as “Top Spots,” “Now” (for sights that are open when you browse), “Nearby,” and “Local Favorites.” The options available vary by destination.
The app lets you map desired sights in half- or full-day itineraries, or by day of the week, and it displays the points of interest on a map, which is handy.
You can also download all your confirmations and plans for a trip to your smartphone, which might be useful if you travel internationally and want to limit your cellular connectivity to save money.
I like Google Trips and plan to use it to map out future trips— but I’ll also still use TripIt (especially the Pro plan) to organize my travel plans.
James A. Martin is a seasoned tech journalist and blogger based in San Francisco and winner of the 2014 ASBPE National Gold award for his CIO.com blog. He writes CIO.com's Living the Tech Life blog and is also a content marketing consultant.