Tuesday, June 18, 2013


I may have my head down right now as I power through this week, but I have an amazing guest on the blog today who more than makes up for my absence!  I met Gillian in 2007 and - well, she tells the story a lot better than I ever could (which might have something to do with the Guinness we drank, the hypnotic lilt of the Irish accents around us, and Gill's much cooler head) so I'll let you read it below, but I just want you all to know that I'm delighted to have her here on Betsy Transatlantically.

After running into Gill in Paris and then meeting her properly in Dublin and then finding each other on the same floor in a dorm in New York, I wasn't surprised that she was able to introduce me to a dozen friends in London or that, after graduating from college, she moved to Istanbul, where her network grew.  If anyone knows the importance of connecting people around the globe, it's Gillian - and if anyone appreciates that just as much as she and I do, it's you!  So obviously, when she founded an incredible company built on the idea of helping you meet up with your friends no matter your location or budget, I knew I had to introduce her to you.  And she was so excited to share TripCommon with my readers that she's offering one lucky follower a $25 credit to any flight booked through the website!  Read all about it and then go forth and enter the giveaway at the bottom, dear readers, and tell all your friends!

I'll never forget the second time I met Betsy. It was in a bar in Dublin, and I was carrying my brother's old boy scout backpack, a relic of the 1980s, with shoulder straps that had been bleached and sweat stained into the color of over-milked coffee. I was fresh off a bus and hoping to find my parents, who were in town for the weekend.

Betsy was surrounded by a group of men (are we surprised?). My father, among them, was totally absorbed in whatever story she was telling. This was the pre-Betsy Transatlantically days, but I can confirm Betsy's always been able to draw a crowd, online or off. 

Who knows what we talked about. The details that stick in my mind are the laughter, the clunk of pints of Guinness being knocked together, the feeling that we were all great friends, if only for the evening. 

I remember trying to place where I'd seen Betsy before. Late in the evening, we realized we'd both sang in the same choir in Paris. After marveling at our small world moment, we became Facebook friends, and kept in vague touch.

Two months later, I was visiting a friend in New York and I asked if she knew Betsy, a tall, dark curly-haired girl who'd been in the same class as her in college. She didn't, but there was a Betsy who matched that description that just moved in down the hall. 

As it turns out, they ended up becoming good friends, and both of us will hopefully be making it to Betsy's wedding this summer.

I'm sure many of you have had these small world moments yourselves (and I'd love to hear about them in the comments!). We're more connected with more people that have been more places than ever before. We can also stay in better touch. 

Yet Facebook, Skype, email, and even Snapchat are poor substitutes for seeing a cherished friend - or even a semi-remembered choir mate - in person. I've learned that I'll always be happier spending my money on a weekend trip to see a friend than I would be if I buy that dress, phone, or Apple product that catches my eye.

And I'm not alone in this. Study after study has found that travel and time spent with friends are some of the most valuable investments you can make.

So a friend and I started building TripCommon to help people stay in touch with the people important to them. We let you build a wishlist of the people and places important to you - and we'll do the heavy lifting of monitoring when and where you'll have the best opportunities to see them. 

An important part of what we do is find places you and your friend(s) might be able to meet in the middle. So say if you and your best friend live in London and Stockholm, and want to go somewhere but don't really care where - you can do a multi-origin search, and see where would be cheapest, or closest in price. We'll also highlight any friends you have living in those cities:

Maybe your fiancé lives in London, and he's not supposed to come to the US while you are working out your visa status. There are actually a surprising number of places you can reach for around $1000, even in high summer, in South America:

You can also just see where your friends are, and add the ones you'd like to see to your 'wishlist': we monitor flights from your home airport to everywhere on your wish list and let you know when there are good deals to reach those places.

You can zoom in and see exactly who is where, and send them a Facebook message directly from TripCommon:

We've partnered with Skyscanner, Europe's leading flight search engine, to make sure we're bringing you the lowest fares (don't worry - it works in the US too, and often has better prices than Kayak). 

We at TripCommon hope that the tools we're building will enable you to travel more and stay in better touch with your friends. If we can bring you the right details at the right time, we can save you money and help you see the world.

Please give us a try at tripcommon.com, and let me know what you think. If you like what you see, we'd so appreciate you spreading the word. To sweeten the deal, we're also offering a sweepstakes for $25 off a flight booked through TripCommon

Thanks to Betsy and to you, her readers - we're looking forward to seeing many of you on TripCommon soon!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

this is not a sponsored post; I just think that everyone should know about TripCommon!


  1. Thanks so much for the post Betsy! It's also given me an excuse to play around a bit... my brother lives in Istanbul and I'm in New York. I'd love to get further afield, so I searched for Africa, and filtered by a place where I have friends already living. Ho Chi Minh city is the verdict, and it looks surprisingly affordable for a September trip - $972 average, and almost equivalent in price for him and me. Who knows, maybe I'll be off to Vietnam soon!

  2. Love trip common! Can't wait to use them to book a ticket to meet up with my friend who's doing Peace Corps in Ukraine :)


  3. What a great website! Thanks to the military, I have friends and family scattered throughout the world. My best friends are headed to Germany and my husband and I are off to Hawaii - this might be a great way for us all to not only link up but to have an adventure in the process.

  4. Thanks for founding and sharing this amazing website, Gillian! Once I'm not spending all of my money on flights to Heathrow (poor little me, I know) I'll jump to take full advantage of TripCommon :)


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