Even if you’re leaving home alone, you don’t have to plan—or experience—your adventures totally solo. A slew of fresh Web and mobile apps are plugging into Facebook, Foursquare, GPS functions and other tools to provide inspiration, real-time information and recommendations on where to go, what to see and even who to hang out while you’re traveling. Here are four of the best available, plus a sneak peek at three that are coming down the road.
Launched in September, Trippy helps you create detailed travel itineraries, using Facebook to figure out which of your pals knows a destination and can clue you in on lodging, restaurants and everything else. The easy-to-use app, which has sync-able Web and mobile iterations, then operates like its own social network, letting you share comments and photos. Trippy also allows you to piggyback on the efforts of other travelers by copying their trip plans. Free, available for Web and iPhone;trippy.com
This Web app focuses more on people than on places, integrating info from Facebook and LinkedIn to show your personal connections around the world and help you meet locals when you’re traveling. Back at home, share photos, give advice or serve as a guide to other globe-trotters. Tripl’s design is bright and friendly, and it rewards activity with “points” that eventually might lead to discounts, founders say. But the app suffers from feature overload, and right now users can only log in with Facebook or LinkedIn. Free, available for Web; tripl.com
Do you obsessively track your travels? Tripline brings to mind AAA’s old TripTiks—those custom maps with the red line showing your driving route. But here the line is a virtual breadcrumb trail of your journey, which can be enriched with photos, videos and updates from Foursquare, Twitter, TripIt and other systems. The trips can be shared with friends on Facebook or kept as private journals. Free, available for Web and iPhone; tripline.net
Lonely Planet’s coming-any-day Wenzani (“What are you doing?” in Zulu) will blend content from authoritative sources (like L.P.) with recommendations from your social network to create an interactive guidebook experience. Free, available for iPhone in late 2011; wenzani.com
For Armchair Explorers
Finally there’s a use for the millions of travel photos that get plastered on Facebook. JetPac, which just started letting users sign up for a sneek peek, mines your personal network to generate galleries of travel pictures and recommendations you can use for inspiration. It sneakily taps competitive instincts, too, ginning up a list of your most-traveled friends. (No. 57—are you kidding?) Free, available soon for iPad; jetpac.com
For Deal Mavens
Relaunched this October in invitation-only beta mode, Gtrot mines Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare to figure out the best activities, spots and deals in a location, personalized based on your friends’ activities. The service also sends out special travel deals via email about a week before you go on your trip—helpful for budget-friendly planning. (In case you were curious, “Gtrot” is short for “globetrot.”) Free, available on mobile Web by early next month; gtrot.com
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