TripSay is a social networking website for vacationers and travel enthusiasts, which launches today (out of private beta) at 10am PST and I was invited to preview the site before it went live.

What Is TripSay?

TripSay is a networking tool for travel enthusiasts based on personally created travel profiles allowing them to connect with other vacationers, find new places to visit, and discuss travel-related events.

It uses a unique recommendation engine to proactively match destinations, places, sights, content, and activities for people across their network of friends as well as with those with similar tastes.

The site is free and only requires a valid email address.

Setting Up an Account

It didn’t take me long to create a profile that included providing some information on the type of traveler I am (from ‘surfer’ to ‘loner rockstar’). The interface is extremely clean and I was done in 2 minutes with a few mouse clicks. It adjusts and generates a specific travel map (a Google Maps mashup) based on your preferences and interests with recommendations from any new friends you’ve added.

World Builder

TripSay allows you to add the specific places, museums, and cultural travel sites you’ve visited to your custom map, suggesting other travelers you may want to connect with and add as friends. One of the features I found most useful was the auto-fill, so I would only have to type “Sulta” to enter the Sultan Ahmed Mosque to my list of sites I’ve seen.

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Groups

The more places you add, rate, and give recommendations about the more traveler points you earn to compare with the members of your group (the friends you’ve added). You can even organize your friends in different categories of travel, for example keep your “European hiking” buddies apart from the “beach bums”.

My Impressions

I normally shy away from social networking sites revolving around travel since I have this blog and use Facebook (among others). However I was pleasantly surprised by the potential for TripSay to enhance my ability to connect with other travelers. TripSay learns from your profile, interests, and continuing travel experience. TripSay can then recommend new places (and better yet, specific sites) for you to consider, and put you in touch with the people who’ve been there.

I was impressed with TripSay and will keep my account open there. You can view my profile under ‘foxnomad’, which I’ll expand and update in the coming weeks, and add me as a friend if you like.

I’d like to hear your opinions on TripSay and other travel social networking sites –  what have your experiences been like and what motivates you to use or avoid them?

[photos by: futureworkspr]