MELISSA CHICKER — News Writer
Travel can be expensive, chaotic to plan and communication between large groups can be difficult. MyTab, created by Heddi Cundle, who has had 18 years of public relations and marketing experience that includes travel & hospitality, was launched three months ago to help students create an easy and budget-friendly way to book a vacation.
MyTab is an online giftcard account where you can gift travel cash to friends or yourself and save it on your own account while planning a trip on your own or with friends, according to Cundle. When you are ready to book your flight and hotel you can redeem your funds to one’s own account.
“We spend days looking for the lowest travel prices, we get irritated by constant problems with prices going through the roof during events and even for a group trip it is just exhausting to plan to the trip and get all the money back from each person,” Cundle said. “So we thought of a happy and easier way.”
How does it work? Sally wants to take a summer vacation trip to Italy. She signs up to myTab for free and sets up her trip with some of her friends on Facebook. Along with gifting herself in her own account, she can send “shout outs” and post them on Facebook and Twitter to ask some of her friends to help her with her trip. For example, if her birthday is coming up friends and family can put money in her myTab account as a birthday present. The transactions are instant and she saves more travel cash to make her trip happen. She then can find the flight and hotel, through its partner Expedia, on myTab.
When planning with friends, it is just as easy; each person has their own account and keeps track of their own money. Friends can set up reminders to other friends on the website about details of the trip and to make sure no one forgets important items such as luggage or a passport. Instead of one person handling all the money, each can account for their own cash with PayPal.
“People are still going to travel; it’s the one thing they will do even with a bad economy,” said Cundle. “What we are doing is changing the whole concept by making it easier, faster and as we grow we can get them a deal they can’t find on Expedia or any travel site.”
Study Abroad Programs, like StudyAbroad.com and IES Abroad and the Center of Cultural Interchange (CCI) are working together with myTab to promote one another in the process. Students can choose which study abroad provider they are using through their university and myTab can track which students are going where and keep it confidential. Students on Southern’s campus are also interested in learning about the new website.
“I am taking a trip in January so it would be convenient to set my money aside and not worry about it. I can keep putting money in the account and be knowledgeable about where it is going,” said Troye Jacobs, a communications major.
From the financial planning, whether it is being gifted or saved, to planning the trip individually or in a group, booking the money down, being able to re-gift cash afterwards and integrating this all in Facebook to show other friends, planning details with your group is all being done through the website. Students can make an account with a myTab with their Facebook if they choose, but there is also an option of not having to. One thing Cundle stresses is once the money is in, it can’t be taken out and can only be used to book the trip you are planning.
“It is useful for someone who does a lot of travel, unfortunately I don’t. But if I did it would be a good tool,” said Leslie Betters, a physiology major.
Cundle said myTab is the first of its kind, where instead of giving money or gift cards to family members or friends for special occasions this create a fast, easy, cheap option and users can find all their travel information on one spot. Left over money can also be donated to one of myTab’s charities or save it for later use on other travels.
New website helps students plan vacations
MELISSA CHICKER — News Writer