Still hoping to plan a last-minute summer getaway? There are plenty of great web and mobile travel tools that have become popular in the last five years or so, like Kayak and TripIt, but there are two new ones you might find worth checking out. TravelPost and Tripline take the more general web products of social Q&A and embeddable mapping, and make them specific to travel.
TravelPost recently launched a Q&A site called TravelPost Connections. This is an early product from the stealthy travel company, which was founded by Expedia veterans who bought the existing travel review aggregator from Kayak and took on its name, and now promises big things are on the way. In the meantime, TravelPost is experimenting around social Q&A. Travel forums such as Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree are already abundant and well-used, but TravelPost puts a more modern spin on things by modeling on a Q&A sites like Yahoo Answers and Quora. COO Simon Breakwell noted in a blog post that key features include the use of tags rather than a forced hierarchy and social emphasis, such as close integration with Facebook and the capability to follow other users and their activity. It’s going to be hard for TravelPost Connections to compete against something like Facebook Questions (if they ever get that working properly), but the idea is users can poll a travel-specific crowd (and their friends) for advice about where to visit and what to do when they get there.
Meanwhile, Tripline is a new travel-mapping widget startup. This bootstrapped company has a neat little product that helps users create and annotate maps about their trips. This can be a way to spatially envision an upcoming vacation, or to show and tell what you did when you come back. (It’s somewhat similar to Dipity — which helps users illustrate events by putting them on a timeline — but for maps.)
Tripline founder Byron Dumbrill was head of product for Jumpcut, the video editing startup acquired by Yahoo in 2006 (and later shuttered). Dumbrill said he hopes Tripline can be a storytelling medium, as in the example embedded below, which was made by user Jay An to tell the story through pictures and words of his four-year stint in the Marine Corps.