Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tech Column: The Internet's Best Travel Website

by Bill Adler

We do a lot of sharing on the Internet, but that doesn't mean that we have to share everything. I'm not talking about sharing intimate personal information. I'm talking about useful information, such as my favorite plumber, because if I shared that plumber's name, he might not be available for me when I need him. Travel deals come in limited quantities, so it is with some hesitation that I write about the best travel website on the Internet.

Before I change my mind, I'll down a glass of whiskey (though it's only 10am) and reveal the name: TripTwit, www.triptwit.com.

Here's what TripTwit does: Just as the law of gravity forces all objects back to earth, all good travel deals end up on Twitter. But Twitter is a vast, anarchic space, which makes it hard to find what you're looking for. To find a good travel deal on Twitter you either have to search every hour, lest you miss one, or you have to sign up with just about every airline, hotel and travel agency and read all the travel tweets. You could spend as much time searching for good travel deals as you do waiting to take off from DCA at 5pm on a Friday evening.

Enter TripTwit. TwipTwit scans and organizes Twitter's best travel deals for you. Here are some examples of what TwipTwit can find (the deals can go quickly, so if a link doesn't work, that's because the particular discount has been used up):

Southwest U.S. Cities Sale from $69 One-Way – Book by April 12 http://t.co/hMHFKCqZ

#Airfare Deal: New York/Washington D.C. - Beijing, China. $855 r/t. Details: http://t.co/eskhGbtR #travel #nyc #was #pek

Jamaica: $350 off air and 4-star all-inclusive resort from $679. http://t.co/KqycweL6

3 & 4 Night Getaways with Air: $649 & up -- Punta Cana 3-Night All-Inclusive Getaways w/Air; http://t.co/EoGNDFSU + http://t.co/oTpGOSsA

TripTwit is free and works two ways. First, you can simply browse the site for current travel discounts by destination, brand (airline, hotel, cruise line or car rental company), or origin. It's the latter category that makes TripTwit so useful: It can monitor everything on Twitter for the best travel deals that originate from Washington, DC. TripTwit does the kind of heavy lifting that a human could never do.

You can sign up for TripTwit alerts, too. If you're interested in a particular destination --say Bora Bora, Japan, Paris-- TripTwit will send you daily alerts. Twitter travel deals often have a lifespan equivalent to that of an ice cream cone in July, so these alerts can be invaluable.

There you have it. The best travel deal website. Maybe one day I'll reveal the name of my plumber, too.


Bill Adler is the co-publisher of the Cleveland Park Listserv, www.cleveland-park.com. He is the author of "Boys and Their Toys: Understanding Men by Understanding Their Relationship with Gadgets," http://amzn.to/rspOft. He tweets at @billadler.

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