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Review: My Gola – A Custom Trip Planning Site

Photo Credit: Tamas on Flickr

Planning for a trip is the most difficult part of a trip for me. There is just so much research and planning to be done to make sure I don’t miss out on something on the trip. Anything that would make this easier would be a god-send.

There are a lot of tools to help with this online today and I have used some of them. But, I’m always on the lookout for new ones. Here’s where MyGola comes in. MyGola claims to help you create a custom trip in 15 minutes. So, I figured I’d give it a spin.

The site offers three types of sign-in – facebook, twitter and id & pw. The twitter login didn’t work for me though and I had to refresh the page to get the twitter login to register.

Straight up you are asked to plan a trip in 15 minutes. I decided to go with Thailand. Che and I had travelled there last year and so I know a little bit about the country.

The ‘Thailand’ place-search results in a lot of package options. I can either select a listed package or filter the travel packages based on themes, dates and places. Filter it is – so I choose History and Outdoor as themes, days as 10-20 and places as N/A (my choices didn’t make any difference). Here’s the short list of 10 that I got –

One of the things Che and I didn’t get to do in Thailand was visit the hill tribes, so that’s the package I choose to explore. A 12 day Trek to hill tribe villages of Northern Thailand.

My first view of this section of the trip plan leaves me wowed. I like the idea of seeing a day map for each day, it gives me a immediate realistic understanding of distances to be travelled through the day.

Each day of the itinerary has a drop down of places to be seen. Each place when selected shows you a photo of the place and gives you details about it along with more photos and videos. All the places can be marked as either definitely or maybe going.

I quickly went through all the places and selected the ones I wanted. Some I definitely wanted to see and a couple were maybe’s. I ended up with 19 places before I clicked on the ‘See Your Plan’ option.

Here’s what the plan looks like –

The planner is quite neat. It shows the day in timeslots and I could add, move and remove places from it. I could also extend and reduce my time spent at each place.
When I tried to add a place, I got options of places near-by to choose from with details. I could also had an option to add a place that was not listed.
Clicking on each place on the planner to took me to more details about it, there was even a description right here in the block.
Like I said before the planner is neat, it gives you control over your entire trip.

Once you’ve saved the basic plan, you can invite people to edit and refine the plan. If you have questions, you can ask the experts at MyGola. And you can also download the current plan as a pdf, that looks quite handy for travel with maps and other details.

Another way to plan a trip is by using the ‘Start Planning’ option in the left column. This method works a bit differently. You enter the countries or places you want to visit, the number of days you have and the site gives you a recommendations of cities and locations to visit. Mark the ones that interest you with definitely or maybe and you’re back to the planner we saw earlier. This option is great if you don’t want to start with a package and want to plan your trip from scratch.
You can also mark places as favourites and save your plans for future use on MyGola.

My Thoughts –

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The planner from MyGola impressed me. It’s the first planner I’ve seen that gives me so much flexibility, info and help, all in one place. I didn’t finish planning my trip in 15 minutes as promised but I did enjoy spending one hour planning it. 😀
MyGola has a good coverage of the world through tour operators. I found packages for most countries and cities I tried searching for, even those in India.
If you’re looking to plan a trip abroad or to one of the tourist destinations of India, this planner will work well for you.

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There are some things though that were missing. I noticed that not all places had enough relevant photo and video content.
Though you can plan what you will do in each day, there are no details for in-between the days. E.g. I could plan what to do in Bangkok on day one and activities for Chiang Mai on day two but I couldn’t find a way to plan how to get to Chiang Mai from Bangkok. I wasn’t looking for tickets, but I would have liked to know the distance between places. I also would have appreciated space to add my travel details in the planner, so it would show on the pdf.
Like I said above, MyGola currently works well only for countries and touristy cities. A search for locations or lesser known places will not help much.

I’m looking forward to using MyGola to plan my next international trip. Have you used MyGola before? What do you use to help plan your holiday? Do you have any favourite websites or apps?

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