I've always envied those organized people. You know, the ones with dedicated slots in their briefcase for each item; color-coded folders with plastic tabs meticulously labeled and spell-checked; and not a single leaf of paper with so much as a crinkle or dog-ear. As much as I admire them, quite early on I realized that I would not be one of them, as many a crumpled and dog-eared photocopied ditto could attest. But as a kid, I was partially relieved of my organizational handicap with the introduction of an innovative new product called the trapper keeper in the late '70's and early '80's (yes, I know I'm dating myself here). This marvel of technology was in essence a loose leaf binder with some pizzazz, whose most prominent feature was a collection of interior folders that both 'trapped' and 'kept' the papers inside from getting soiled or mistreated (unless you're messy like me, in which case you always found a way). An even better side-effect of this leap forward in school-age organization technology, was that now, you could keep all necessary paperwork together in one place in one easy, portable container.
Having made only slight progress in my organizational skills since my time in elementary school, when I'm planning a trip (something I do a lot) I inevitably have a chaotic bundle of both real and virtual documents scattered about both my real-life and computer desktop. When it comes to online research, one survey has your average traveler visiting some twenty websites when planning their trip. For me, you can multiply that by 10 to the 457th power, and that results in a lot of links, bookmarks and misplaced (or forgotten) information. Enter TripFlock - a virtual travel trapper keeper if ever there was one - which as I'm about to explain, is even better than a trapper keeper for the modern traveler. Here's why:
1) You Won't Run Out of Folders
Given the physical limitations of a three-ring binder, a standard trapper keeper had its limits when it came to how many folders it could hold. With TripFlock's planning tools, such constraints are a thing of the past. Individual travelers can create and fill their own personalized travel planning space, where they can forward emails, save web pages and even create a custom trip journal. You'll be able to fit a lot more information into one space than you ever could with an original trapper keeper - and it can't even be knocked out of your hands as you navigate the hallways.
2) You Can Use it to Play With Your Friends
I don't know about you, but my trapper keeper was a rather private affair. But TripFlock's platform is exceedingly social media friendly. Sure you can share posts, links and do all the normal social media things people do; the cool part is that you can even join forces with your friends in planning your trip, with integrated communication tools and messaging capability that will allow you to not only collaborate with your buddies, but also your favorite restaurant manager, travel agent, concierge, guy-with-a-van-who'll-take-you-around-for twenty-bucks (hold on tight to your trapper keeper) or anyone else you wish to include in your lofty travel-planning endeavors.
3) The Textbook is Thrown in for Free
As light and efficient as trapper keepers were, the downside was that inevitably you'd have to bring a textbook or two along - usually covered with paper from brown shopping bags that were heavily adorned with doodles. Not only does TripFlock allow you to store, organize and communicate efficiently, but the website is filled with an ever-growing supply of travel related content. You can explore destination information and reviews from travel experts and everyday travelers. You can join one of dozens of communities that deal with your areas of interest, using it as a forum to ask and answer questions. And there's also a really nifty feature which allows you to 'grab' pages of content (I've currently written 27 for my Trip Accomplice site so far) to use in your planning. With TripFlock you can tap into a large source of textual information without all the extra weight to lug around.
4) You Can Show Off More Than Just Your Cover
As a preteen, the greatest factor in choosing which trapper keeper to buy (or mare accurately, have your mom buy) was naturally the artwork on the cover. Sadly, you were limited to just one scene (or florescent-colored collage of geometric shapes - this was after all the '80's). With TripFlock, you can post and share your pictures with fellow travelers, share links to your favorite travel blogs and sites, and comment on others' as well. And not only can you join one of those aforementioned communities - you can create your own as well. The interaction will allow you to show off your expertise as a world traveler, and the more you contribute, the more you'll be recognized as a valuable source in the online travel community. By comparison, my X-wing fighter cover doesn't seem quite as versatile.
Online travel planning was supposed to make things simpler. However it's popularity has created a glut of information that is hard to assimilate and even harder to organize. Fortunately, the creators of TripFlock took a page or two from the trapper keeper's playbook, and made travel planning a much simpler affair. Now if only my real desktop were as organized as my virtual one...