Trip Planning with Trekkel

March 21, 2014

in Travel Tech

  • SumoMe

In the past I’ve written about the “Holy Grail of Trip Planning,” a Website or app that will assemble a complete itinerary for a vacation trip, book your flights and hotels, recommend restaurants, and map out fun activities for you.

No thinking would be required on your part. Just show up and have fun!

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Well, I’m still looking for that “Holy Grail” and here’s yet another outfit that wants to be it: Trekkel, whose motto is “Travel Planning Simplicity.”

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“What makes Trekkel special?” is a question that Trekkel.com poses near the top of its Website.

If you click on that big question mark, up with come a pop-up box full of answers. Well, maybe its full of answers.

 

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Sign Me Up?

Like most Websites that provide services, Trekkel gives you the option of registering and creating yet another username and password to go along with the hundreds of ones you’ve created for other sites, or logging in via Facebook.

Signing in is a bit confusing. I tried to sign in via Facebook, but I’m not sure it actually worked. So I ended up setting up a Trekkel account with a separate username and password.

Pick A City, But Not Just Any City

We might as well give you the bad news right up front.

Trekkel can’t help you plan a trip unless you want to visit one of these fifteen cities:

  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Honolulu
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • New Orleans
  • New York City
  • Philadelphia
  • Portland
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Vancouver (British Columbia)
  • Victoria (British Columbia
  • Washington, D.C.

What’s Important to You?

Next, Trekkel asks you to use sliders to rate the importance of the following on a scale of 1-5:

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As you can see, the default rating is 2.5 for all of the choices.

Easy As Pie

Actually, making a pie is a lot harder than making a Trekkel Trip, because once you’ve picked a city and rated what’s important to you, you just hit a big red “GO” button and your trip is created automatically.

What You See is What You Get

Since I live near San Francisco, I picked that city and left all of the ratings at the default 2.5 setting.

Here’s what the Trekkel Trip I got looked like:

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Hotel Booking

Clicking on the “Sleep” tab in my Trekkel Trip produced a list of 53 hotel recommendations arranged from highest to lowest “star” rating and accompanied by an interactive map.

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I browsed the listings, and picked a hotel to add to my trip plan.

Feed Me!

Trekkel’s map showed several eateries near the hotel I had selected, so I added some of them to my trip, too.

What’s to See and Do?

Finally, I paged through the activities and attraction listings under “See/Do” and added a few that I definitely didn’t want to miss out on.

What I Got in the End

What I hoped I’d end up with is a detailed itinerary with listings for everything I’d clicked on to add to my Trekkel Trip.

But all I saw at first were my hotel and three of the restaurants I’d selected.

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Eventually I discovered a scroll bar on the right-hand side of the listings that let me see everything I had chosen. But I would have liked to have been able to print it out for easier reading.

Online Booking

Trekkel lets you book your hotel via Expedia. But to make restaurant reservations you’d have to click on the link in Trekkel to the restaurant Website rather than being able to use an online reservation serve such as OpenTable.

For advance purchase of tickets for attractions, such as touring Alcatraz Island in the middle of San Francisco Bay, you have to click on the “Tour” tab at the top of the Trekkel Website rather than a button under the “See/Do” tab listings.

Calendar Entries

You can added the dates and times of hotel stays, restaurant reservations, and planned sightseeing activities to a “Calendar,” but as far as I could tell, you have to do so manually, even if you book a hotel room from Trekkel via Expedia.

The Calendar isn’t trip specific. You can enter anything you want in it, and view it by month or in a printable “List” format.

Buying Gear and Other Items

Click on Trekkel’s “Gear” tab to buy luggage, daypacks, clothing, and electronics via Amazon.com that you may need for your trip.

And The Verdict Is….

Trekkel has the right idea: Make trip planning simple.

But I found its user interface confusing to use, requiring too many convoluted steps to book and calendar hotels, tours, and restaurant reservations.

Trekkel can’t help you find and book flights or rental cars, so I doesn’t provide a one-stop-shopping experience for travel.

And if you you want to vacation someplace other than the 15 cities it covers, you’re out of luck.

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