How do you plan a trip? Do you go online, to the library or contact the Chamber of Commerce and pour over guidebooks, articles and brochures about the location you will be visiting? Once you've narrowed down the sites/restaurants/hotels you'd like to visit, do you rely on the comments and reviews from other travelers online to decide on your final itinerary? I think that's how most of us plan our travels. Random tosses at a dart board, hoping what you come across is something cool to see or do and the opinions of strangers with potentially entirely different agendas than your own guiding you in your final choices. We work so hard and save so long to take that trip. Why do we use this method to plan our dream vacation? Because it is the only way available, right? Not any more.
Uptake, the travel search engine with the largest online travel library in the U.S., has decided the best way to travel is like you've been there before. To not be the typical tourist, but to be explorers with an inside scoop from folks who know the place inside and out. To let you become that explorer, Uptake combines their travel library of information with your connections in the know about where you want to go - your Facebook Friends.
With the launch this week of their new Travel Q&A platform, Uptake allows you to type in a personalized question right from the home page about wherever it is that you want to go. And then, by typing in your Facebook login, their technology filters through your friends' and acquaintances' data to provide you with a list of who you know, who know about where you want to go.
Once your friends have been filtered you can check off the ones you want to reach out to or just reach out to them all. Your question that you typed up is put right on their Facebook wall. They can either reply to you through Facebook or go right to the Uptake link and post information there.
Your question will also be posted on Uptake and anyone on there can go ahead and respond as well. Uptake will then provide you with links to the pages from their library of information about the specific places recommended to you so you can look up all the details and also read those consumer reviews. But to me, the innovation of filtering Facebook for people you know, who know you and your tastes, and who are familiar with the place you want to go is the real edge. I bet you weren't even aware that you knew people familiar with wherever it is that you want to go. And maybe they aren't directly familiar, but may have close friends or family of their own who are.
So go give it a whirl. If you are planning a getaway somewhere, type up a question looking for the best beach no one knows about, what kind of hotels are near your planned sightseeing locales or what kind of suitcase to pack for the weather when you visit. Even if you are only looking to liven up a weekend in your own region, use Uptake's new Travel Q&A feature to ask your friends for their favorite fancy restaurant in town or if anyone has an opinion on that new museum exhibit. The possibilities are endless. It is kind of like a travel Twitter with a filter to send out questions only to the people that have the knowledge to respond.
**Full disclosure. I write for and edit Uptake's Restaurants Blog. However, I was not paid to write this post or even asked to do so. I wrote it because I thought their new approach and innovation was wicked cool. Now, if ever baby Sammy would let us have a night out - nearby or on a road trip - I could really put this technology to great use!!!***