#sponsored by @tripitcom
It’s been six years since Dustin and I traded our New Orleans apartment for a home on wheels. Pre-vanlife, we would seize any opportunity to hit the road. We’d escape to the Appalachian Mountains in Georgia, or the Smokey’s in Tennessee, or to any music festival within a day’s drive. With a full tank of gas, some road snacks, and a paper map, we’d hit the road and at times, revel in the thrill of getting lost and asking for directions. Fast forward to today, and our road trips have evolved. Instead of taking short day trips, we’re on the road for weeks to months at a time. In a way, our life is one continuous road trip.
Spending extended time on the road, traveling thousands of miles, and having dozens of destinations requires organization – keeping track of our stops, our routes, and COVID-19 guidelines, all of which usually involve half a dozen apps and websites. Over years of traveling on the road, Dustin and I have grown to value simplicity when it comes to trip planning and managing. So, on a recent road trip from Joshua Tree to Kodachrome Basin in Utah, we used one app to plan and organize our entire trip — TripIt.
The TripIt app feels like having a personal travel assistant. We just sync our emails, and TripIt automatically imports our travel plans and makes one comprehensive itinerary for each trip. Our travel plans are accessible to both of us, across our phones and other devices, and they’re even available offline. The Map View and Navigator show our route options so we can choose the best option based on time, distance, or scenic views. The Nearby Places feature helps us find places to eat or where to get gas near to where we’re visiting. It even provides neighborhood safety scores, handy when we need to camp in or near a city. There are options to add documents to our itinerary as well, so when we have tickets to a show or a van gathering, we can conveniently access it from TripIt rather than searching through our emails or screenshots saved to our phones. Lately, the COVID-19 conditions have become an important aspect of traveling to public places, so the COVID-19 Travel Guidance feature in the TripIt app has been very useful in helping us choose our destinations and plan our routes.
When you’ve been on the road for as long as we have, it’s hard to remember all the places we’ve visited. We used to pin our locations to other map apps, but that became convoluted. TripIt shows us our travel stats, so we have a record of the campsites that we really enjoyed staying at, places we’ve visited, and even our favorite food stops. This is just another reason why TripIt has become an essential tool for our lives on the road.
And it’s not just for road trips. Our digital nomad lives often require us to fly to various destinations for work, sometimes with short notice. TripIt’s calendar syncs automatically each item to my calendar so I’m ready for each segment of my trip, and the Pro version of TripIt sends important alerts about my flight in real-time. In addition to seamlessly managing my itinerary, my personal favorite feature of the app is the Carbon Footprint feature, which tracks and shows offset options for my flight’s carbon emissions. As we move closer to establishing a carbon-neutral economy to help slow the acceleration of climate change, offsetting carbon emissions generated from flying is crucial to funding conservation efforts worldwide.
In this unpredictable lifestyle, I’ve been forced to reimagine what it means to be a “professional” and redefine traditional ideas of success and career. At times, that means working from a roadside pullout on a rural highway, or a Walmart parking lot when I’m in need of wifi or a good cell signal. I’m continuously reevaluating and finding new ways to streamline my work-life-travel balance. While it’s an ongoing experiment, I’m happy that I have the TripIt app to help me manage my digital nomad life on the road.
Feel free to give it a try for yourself. TripIt is free to download using this link, or upgrade to TripIt Pro (the premium version) here and use code Noami30 for 30% off.