This afternoon TripSay, a travel site that's currently in private beta is opening up to a larger group of testers and launching a few new features. The service will help you figure out places you should go on your vacation based on a calculator that will narrow down the results based on your budget, lingual ability, and comfort zone for going off the beaten path. You can also plug in your interests, and add ratings of places you've already been.
All of this information is taken and mapped out for you while being combined with what other TripSay members have put in as their favorites. The idea is that you can browse around other people's experiences and begin to plan out your own escape from the working world.
This isn't a new idea by any means, but TripSay does have some good things going for it. For one there's simple linking to media publishing services you're already using like Flickr, YouTube and Blogger. I've seen some travel sites come through and attempt to steal away that conversation from popular blogging tools with their own solutions, so it's worth a kudos for any site that recognizes the mass market will go with what their friends are using.
Also useful is the new groups feature. Groups let members join up and share places that have exceptionally good offerings in a particular interest. For example, the freeskiing group has compiled a list of some hot spots around the world which can be cross referenced with each recommender's likes and dislikes. That way if you're a newbie skier, by checking out someone's recommendations you can make sure their skiing habits don't tend to require a helicopter.
To expand on that, there's also an "expert" section. Similar to Yelp's idea of "Elite" members, TripSay premier users have more gravitas than new users based on their past interactions on the site, either in submissions or discussion.
The service is currently in private beta, but we've got 500 invites for Webware readers. To get yours just shoot an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Webware."