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As travelers across the United States get ready for a long weekend known for road trips and traffic jams, there are dozens of travel apps and services begging for drivers’ attentions.
But with Google Maps and Yelp giving travelers the essentials for trip planning, people don’t need another resource or smartphone app cluttering their devices to help them get from Points A to B, unless that resource is a smarter combination of both.
As more tech gets introduced every day promising to make trip planning simpler (though not always fulfilling that promise) it’s easy to forget about a travel company such as AAA that’s been around for years. We’ve seen our fair share of trip planning startups and apps and we feel AAA’s TripTik is still the best thing to happen in this space since it’s a map personally customized for each traveler — and people actually use it.
AAA told Skift it’s not abandoning the printed version of TripTik as 1.5 million travelers asked the company to prepare paper maps for them last year. The 14 million maps created on the desktop version in 2014 and the 1.6 million on the AAA mobile app dwarf the paper number, though the latter still demonstrates the demand for print maps.
The obvious disadvantage of printed maps is their inability to provide real-time updates for traffic delays, weather and turn-by-turn directions.
“One of our goals is to provide our more than 55 million members with the mapping and travel information they want in the format they prefer to use it,” said Bill Wood, AAA’s vice president. “Digital mapping is a commodity…We continue to evolve our products and services to meet member preferences and enhance our mobile and online services.”
The TripTik online tool essentially gives travelers everything they need in one place and keeps all navigation on the same page — features that matter when time is crunched and side-by-side comparison is desired. For example, the map offers filters that when clicked show icons sprinkled across the screen highlighting where hotels, attractions, restaurants and shopping are available.
Clicking on “Book” after clicking on a hotel or car rental of interest redirects to another tab but hotel reviews from Booking.com are brought in and descriptions of various size cars and prices show up for Hertz car rentals.
Showing the current cost of gas at different gas stations in a specific area is another feature we like. And sure, there are trip planning tools that for years have been doing what TripTik does like showing directions, weather, traffic and saving trip preferences. But bringing the conveniences together is what wins us over and what other trip planning companies should focus on. TripTik is also available as part of AAA’s mobile app which tracks a traveler’s current location and the map moves with the traveler.