TripCast: Capturing and sharing your travels

TripCast travel journal

Travelers love to not only capture their journeys for future reference, but share photos, videos, and details of daily events with others. Blogging tools like WordPress can be problematic for those who only travel on occasion, and emailing or messaging photos and videos can result in an overload for people you're sharing your trip with. TripCast is a new free iOS app from Cluster Labs that, in my opinion, is one of the best apps available for not only capturing your trip, but sharing it with others.

TripCast is universal, making it handy to add photos or videos to a trip from your iPhone and then wait until you're on an iPad with a keyboard to add lengthy commentary.

The app launches with a short description of how it works, then asks you to log in with Facebook, Google+ or an email-based account. In no way are your entries shared on those services, they're only used for authentication.

Once logged in, you can begin tracking your trip. Adding an entry is as simple as tapping a + button, then adding a photo from your photo library or camera, a video, a note, or just a location.

Each location appears on a map, so as you create multiple trips you'll soon see red "pins" scattered around the world wherever you happened to "drop" them. I found the location capabilities to be very precise, to the point that the app often knew the exact name of a venue.

The images are placed into a gallery for future reference, and a backup of those images can even be downloaded after a trip. That's a good enough reason to use TripCast -- just making sure that your images are being archived.

Each trip is given a name and a title photo. For example, for a recent Walt Disney World resort stay, I called it "A Very Disney Christmas" (sorry, but it seemed to fit...) and put a photo of a walkway lamp with a poinsettia next to it as the title photo. On the iPad, the individual trips are listed down the left side of the page -- a tap brings it up for viewing.

The trip pictures and comments are then viewed as a timeline with the most recent submissions at the top of the list. Scrolling down essentially takes the reader backward in time to the earlier events of the trip. For any event, viewers that you've shared your trip with can add comments and join in on the fun.

Want to let everybody in the family add to the trip? No problem -- just share the trip with them, and if they have a TripCast account and are logged in, their memories can be added immediately. For those three people in the world who don't have iOS devices, sharing the trip provides a link to a website for viewing and commenting. You can choose to be notified of every change made to the trip, and decide whether or not those you're sharing the trip with can invite their friends to also take a look at it.

There are two things I'd love to see the developers add to TripCast to make it perfect: first, a way of editing or deleting additions to the timeline, and second, the ability to export the trip with all of the content to a zipped set of standard HTML/CSS files for even better archiving of your memories. Since TripCast is free, my concern is that I'll get hooked on it and then the company will cease to exist. Think that's a silly concern? Ask my fellow TUAW editor Dave Caolo how many photo sharing sites he's had to move photos off of...

Having my trips as a downloadable website that I can host on my own would be the ultimate insurance against obsolescence. Other than those two suggestions, I have nothing but praise for TripCast.