Like many Virtual Assistants part of my remit with some clients is to plan their upcoming travel arrangements. Most of the time it’s a straightforward flight or two, perhaps with a taxi pick-up at one end or the other but now and again it can be a bit more of a challenge. There have been some fun moments – like a client missing a flight in Italy, so deciding he’d like to drive back instead… so I had to book him a car and email him the driving route to his mobile. Another wanted to drive back from Europe when the ash cloud from the Icelandic volcano prevented his flight back. This week threw up a similar problem. It seemed a connecting flight was about to be missed and a client needed to get from Zurich to Liechtenstein. This time my Google search didn’t quite cut it. I realised that this place in Leichtenstein wasn’t exactly on a direct train route. It wasn’t so easy to spot the nearest train station and I quickly worked out that I might be needing to be looking at buses too.

Then I discovered a site I hadn’t come across before and turns out it’s been around for a couple of years now. Where have I been – and why have I been planning this stuff on one website at a time?

I came across rome2rio quite by accident. Have you been using it for ages? All you have to do is enter any town, address or landmark as the destination and rome2rio searches flights, trains, ferries and driving routes to show you the best options for getting there along with current indicative prices.

Based in Melbourne, Australia, Rome2rio was founded by Michael Cameron and Bernie Tschirren, two ex-Microsoft engineers who love to travel. Using their search engine you can search over 600 transport operators and 670 airlines so you shouldn’t need to search websites to get the information you need

rome rio search box

Once I’d put in my start point and destination, what had seemed like it would be a bit daunting to plan with certainty popped up in seconds, along with an indication of the price and alternative options. I was able to get back to the client much faster than if I’d carried on wading through all the different options separately myself

zurich to vaduz

The database of operators is expanding all the time. On April 9th additional coverage for the UK was added with over 1500 bus operators in England, Scotland and Wales added along with bus routed in UK, Netherlands and Sweden.

There’s a lot of pressure on governments and transport providers now to make data available to third parties as smartphone users demand downloadable information on how to get from A to B whilst they are on the move. To date it has been US local transport operators leading the way in publishing full schedules in a digital format but now this trend is extending into Europe, and Rome2rio will add further complete transport networks as the data becomes available.

And after all that… my client made his flight and didn’t need this information after all! A shame as I thought the journey along the lakes looked like it might be very nice indeed.

Highly recommended. Take a look at rome2rio.com

If you have other recommended travel planning tools, please leave us a comment below.

 

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