|by JD Rinne||Helpful Websites||4|
Still not riding the social media wave? New social media site Traxo, currently in beta, offers an interesting twist. Organize your trip itineraries and connect with friends on the road.
Traxo is first a trip organizer tool. After you sign up for free, the site will start pulling all of your travel information from 40 major U.S. booking sites, including Orbitz, Hertz, Travelocity, British Airways, and more—even major hotel groups like Starwood. Traxo remembers to check these sites for you periodically and update your trip itinerary, or add new trips as you book them.
The social media part of Traxo comes after you've planned an itinerary. Say you're going to San Francisco. Traxo will search your "buddies"—people you've approved or invited as friends—for trips to the City by the Bay. When there's a match, Traxo tells you and your buddy that you'll both be there. Let the happy hours and dinner dates ensue! Traxo will also tell you buddies who have been to San Francisco recently (and who lives there permanently), so if you can't meet up with a buddy, at least you can get a great recommendation for lunch.
The usability of the site is much like Facebook; there's a buddy approval system and an inbox, for e-mailing buddies for travel advice, etc. Speaking of Facebook, Traxo actively works with the social media megasite—you can import all your Facebook friends automatically into Traxo, and your trip itineraries can be published on your Facebook wall.
There have been some recent concerns about privacy on social media sites (like Twittering your vacation plans, definitely a no-no). Traxo co-founder Andy Chen told me about Traxo's custom privacy controls, which you can set on a trip-by-trip and buddy-by-buddy basis. And for those vacations when you don't want anybody to find you? Put the setting at "private."