What's the most important feature of any travel planning source? Good stuff. However, what's good to me may not sound appealing to you. And that's been a big problem among travel planning sites. People have been forced to hop from one site to another to put a trip together. But that could all change.
Desti, a new travel planning app, offers a simple way to plan a trip based on the user's specifications. It offers several ways to search using everyday language. (It's like Siri if she only wrote rather than spoke, and a lot less prone to error.)
Those without a destination in mind can try Desti's Trip Idea Spinner. Tap the search box to bring up the spinner. You can specify the length of your trip, such as day trip or weekend and who will be traveling — just you, teens, couple or seniors. You can also assign a theme such as things to do that are educational , romantic or simply fun.
Desti gives you he information to make a decision whether to include a hotel, activity or restaurant in your itinerary based on the criteria you set. For instance, if you're looking at hotels for a family trip, the section called Your Perspective will include amenities "serves free breakfast" and "has a swimming pool."
As for reviews, you won't have to skim through individual Amazon-style reviews like the ones you find on other sites. Instead, Desti compiles reviews and need-to-know information under a heading called "Stuff to Know," such as "many people had concerns about cleanliness" and "kids under 3 are free." Desti also shows a rating for each listing — Below Average, OK, Good and Excellent.
It's easy to switch between tabs to find a place to stay, where to dine and what to do. As you see things you like, save them to a collection. Once you've added all of your possibilities to a collection, you can whittle your choices to finalize a trip.
The best thing about Desti is that its team doesn't rely solely on information from thousands of sites. The team also visits each new destination to compare the inform Desti has gathered to the team's own experiences.
Kimberly Dillon, Desti's head of marketing, wrote about her recent trip to Lake Tahoe before the popular destination was added to the app. Although she confessed she hates the snow, she and her friends found some pretty great stuff to do that didn't involve skiing. One friend stayed at a new hotel called Base Camp that offered an indoor camping experience with a tent, and faux campfire. This is the kind of gem that's included on Desti, along with standbys like major hotel chains.
For now, Desti covers only California, Utah and Nevada, but founder Nadav Gur told us that Desti will soon include Oregon, Washington and Hawaii with additional locations "coming very fast." And while Desti is currently available only to iPad users, Gur said that an iPhone and Android versions, as well as a website, are in the works.