Duffel – Visual Trip Planning, Online

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Checkfront - Online Booking, Simplified

duffel-logo_big-taglineAnyone who’s made plans for a vacation knows what it’s like to sit down with a pencil and paper and begin researching online, either filling your bookmarks or writing down a lot of information so you can compare your results.  Even if you know that you’ll be booking with so-and-so cruise line or staying at a specific hotel, when you begin comparing all of the great places to see, things to do, places to eat, etc. it can still be unwieldy.

You want to plan a great vacation and do and see all of the things you want to do.  You’ve also got a budget.  Plus a specific time frame for your itinerary.  This takes time and is definitely not something most would consider fun or relaxing–the whole idea of a vacation in the first place.

Duffel (duffelup.com) has a solution for this.

Think of it as Delicious bookmarks for your vacation.  Only better.  Maybe Delicious with Post-Its added.

The way it works will explain this.  It’s so absurdly simple, but useful, that it boggles me nobody has come up with this idea before.  First, you bookmark any page (site, venue, etc.) into Duffel as you travel the Web doing your research and initial information gathering and planning.

As you build a storehouse of the places you want to go and the things you want to do on your vacation, they’re stored in Duffel waiting for you to come back and organize them.

Once you have all of them and think you’ve got the majority of your sights and restaurants (or whatever) logged, you then go to Duffel and, inside your account, begin organizing.  Your stored links are viewed as thumbnails and you can drag and drop them to create an itinerary.

Now it gets interesting.  Let’s say you’re going to Santa Monica and a friend of yours was there last year and recommended a specific restaurant.  You can have your friend find the information on it and collaboratively share it in your Duffel.  You can do this with several friends or have your whole family involved in group vacation planning.

Each member can recommend venues (URLs or just directly inputted text) and each can have a say in the time table and organization.  For busy families or for working vacations with a group from the office, this could be a great way to save time and headaches.  You can even share your plans with the world by allowing them to be public.  Browsing through those, I see that a lot of great ideas could be found that way as well.

Duffel is made by four Web entrepreneurs and technologists in San Francisco who love to travel.  The site launched at TechCrunch50 in September and is free to use.


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