Around a year and a half ago I had the honorable pleasure of going on a business trip- to Paris. Not being one to miss out on the free airline ticket I made plans to stay a week beyond my professional obligations. I’ll openly admit that my opinion of Paris was a bit wanting upon my entrance. At one point France was such a reviled place that the US congress renamed French fries to freedom fries. By the end of the trip my sole wish was that the French would have the kindness to influence more of our cuisine than the fries. The mystique of the Seine, the food that could be savored like none I had ever eaten, the ambiance of the streets, shops, and people had entranced me like a child in Disneyland. I would return as soon as I’m able to once again breathe in the Francophile air.
My trip was largely unplanned. As it turns out the same employer that sent me across the world expected me to actually work, err, a lot. I stayed within the city limits and experienced Paris as someone who might live there. By the end of my stay people were asking me for directions. I guess I look like I know where I’m going- even when I accidentally wandered off the map more than once.
Although I would never replace my disjointed wanderings I knew there were better ways to see what France had to offer. Some of my strolls took me down streets I might not otherwise have taken. Into farmer’s markets I stumbled which may have been missed by major travel guides. While I discovered many off Broadway shops that held an intrigue of their own, I’m sure I missed a few classic French sights. In lieu of planning the recreational part of the trip, I went the sheltered vagrant route.
As it turns out a better way does exist to plan one’s travels. With Tripomatic you can turn your aimless wanderings amid distant lands into directioned, aimless wanderings. It’s a tool that highlights all the major tourist attractions throughout the world and allows you to easily create itineraries for your days.
The first clarification I need to make, by special request of their PR department, is that Trip-o-matic is definitively not a device that 3rd graders, and your average SlapStart writer, would utilize to harass their cohorts. It doesn’t cause anyone to trip, stumble, or fall in any regard whatsoever. Unless of course such trips cause you to fall completely enamored with a distant and magical part of the world. Planning such a trip is easy. First you choose a destination. This brings you to a map focused on that spot. Alternately you can start with a global view and zoom in as you like. Once you’re looking at your destination you’ll find a series of icons representing popular local destination points. You can click on them to get more info and add them to your day’s itinerary. When your day is full you can add a new day and continue adding places to visit. And when you’re done you can click on the Get Guide link which produces your trip, completely planned. Here’s a sample of, yes, a trip to Paris. You’ll note it includes all your destinations, maps, and links to more information. Further, it’s easy to export to a format to travel with. Saving to PDF, printing to paper, and sharing on social networking sites, are among the many options available.
Although the branding might be misconstrued for a novelty item in a gag shop, Tripomatic rises above most websites in its implementation. Hotels are easy to find along with links to booking info. They are readily added to your trip’s daily schedule. Activities are categorized so you can sort by your preference. There are multiple inline slideshow pictures that give you different views of each destination. Really, Tripomatic is on a mission to cover the entire globe. If you have a specific location you’d like to include that isn’t already in the system you can add custom activities. On top of that there are must see lists for the most prominent tourist spots as well as links to guided tours.
Traveling to new vacation spots is a grand endeavor. Some like to book every minute of their time to see the superficial edifices left behind by people ages ago. (I hear there’s a tall skeletal structure somewhere south of the Seine…) Others like to soak in the ambiance, enraptured by the music of the streets and a language not their own. Whatever the case, Tripomatic is a fast, easy, and free way to plan one’s vacations and get ideas on places to visit when traveling.