Duffel offers us a chance to change that. In July, ReadWriteWeb covered a list of travel trends including group planning, mapping tools and recommendation engines. Duffel combines all three in one easy-to-use dashboard.It's almost a rite of passage for North Americans to go abroad in search of themselves. I believe the rest of you call us "ugly Americans." We are the smelly people on your crowded subways, the drunk people in your religious festivals and often, the slack-jawed map readers blocking you during morning rush hour.
The point of Duffel is to clip ideas from anywhere on the web and create a travel dossier for your planning purchases. Naturally, your collection is called your duffel. While the name conjures images of post-College backpacking, this is not necessarily only for budget travelers. Upon creating your first duffel you are automatically offered activity and hotel recommendations in both the high and low price range. From here you can add the events, hotels, restaurants and notes of your choosing. Travel dates are kept in a neat column on the right and recommended activities, restaurants, hotels, modes of transportation and notes are kept on the left to be dragged and dropped into the corresponding travel dates. For faster brainstorming and deal clipping, users can also install a browser bookmark.
One of the great features of this site is that as soon as you create your first duffel, you are automatically offered a "remember to bring" section. For a trip to Paris in December, I received a reminder to bring my camera charger, phone charger and passport. While any trip to another continent should also probably remind us to bring universal chargers, this isn't a bad start.
Once your duffel is established and named, you can invite friends to add recommendations. This is particularly useful for transportation options as subway and train navigation is a must in getting around Europe and Asia. A handy map view also gives you a detailed look at your lodgings in relation to your activities and points of interest. Once you're happy with your duffel, you can print out the entire package including the maps for offline perusal.
While this service certainly offers some overlap to sites like Triporama, the fact that it removes the noise of group polls and tasks means that you're free to concentrate on the fun stuff. To check out Duffel visit duffelup.com.