Being stuck down the bottom end of the world in New Zealand means that I, like most of my fellow countrymen, love to get out and about and travel the globe. The only problem is choosing where one should travel to. Traditionally, New Zealanders will start their big OE (overseas experience) by basing themselves in London and plan adventures from there.
The impact that the Internet has had on travel has been massive and I for one am all for it. Until recently, however, the Internet was really only an excellent tool to help you build the very basics of your travel itinerary. Flights, accommodation and car rental have been well catered for over the last few years. But what about when you actually arrive at your destination and you want to do something that doesn’t involve transport or sleeping?
This is where a new breed of services such as Tripcart come into play. Tripcart is a service that helps you plan your road trip within the USA. If you have ever been to the states for an extended period of time you will know its a big place and there are a whole bunch of choices when it comes to things to do, places to see, activities and the like. There are not many other places in the world where you can stay in one country whilst experiencing a true ‘road trip’. Tripcart have obviously identified this and aim to help those of us who are keen to plan our USA road trip online.
Tripcart is definitely a site that I would categorise in the ‘online travel 2.0’ column. These guys are using classic 2.0 tactics such as Google Maps mashups, category clouds, reviews, ratings and other mandatory 2.0 style consumer generated content. This combination of site features and tactics are well executed on Tripcart making for a nice interface and therefore user experience.
As mentioned, the Tripcart site is part of a new breed of travel booking sites. So the service that these guys are offering is not that unique in a way. I recently reviewed Tech Crunch 40 participant Tripit who are also tapping into this new offering. With this in mind it’s great to see that Tripcart are focusing on one travel market (USA domestic) in the first instance.
As they say, “even the simple plans are hard to execute,” and it must be easy for web 2.0 start-ups in the travel industry to fall into the trap of going global too quickly. The domestic travel market in the USA is huge so Tripcart will have more than enough work on their hands getting a great selection of local US inventory and content up on the site in the coming months and years. So yep, a smart move to stay local in my opinion.
I’m off to the States again (geek conferences!!!) early 08′ and I happen to feel like a bit of a road trip through the beautiful south this time. My options for building an online itinerary are growing by the week with these great new travel start-ups…….you gotta love it!