Organizing travel details using OneNote software
Travel Tips & Tricks

Organizing Travel Details

Organizing travel details using OneNote software can be very helpful as you begin your travel planning. Staying organized from the beginning is key. Using OneNote software makes life much easier when you are on the road. There will be lots of details to keep track of. You will need to organize yourself from the beginning, or else you will waste a lot of time backtracking and looking for solutions to decisions you have already made. I have found that setting up a system from the beginning makes planning easier. It’s amazing the amount of information you will gather.

Using paper receipts…

In years past, we would plan our trip and save all our receipts, printed maps, ideas and notes, other relevant information in a binder. We then carried it with us on our entire trip, throwing away pages as we completed the section, trying to lighten our load. The problem with this system is that it starts out bulky and heavy. The pros are that it keeps you organized and everything is at your fingertips as you travel. The downside is that you have something in your pack that takes up a lot of room, or you are always carrying it in your arms as you are moving from place to place. 

The better way to organize travel details…

We have discovered a better way for us to do the same system, put it on our iPads. We looked at several programs/apps, and we settled on Microsoft’s OneNote. It is basically a digital notebook with file tabs. It can be downloaded for free with 5GB of free storage. If you are a Microsoft user, you will get it in your bundle. It is incredibly easy to learn and after a couple of YouTube videos, we had it down. Here is tutorial.

We are able to make a different tab for each city/location and save emails, reservations, maps, websites, tips, etc. to the file. Because we each carry an iPad for reading, writing, email, and web searches, we are able to use it for this system, too. There are no extra files to carry. While our iPad adds weight to our pack, we carry it anyway for digital books, audio books, entertainment, and news back home.

OneNote tips…

OneNote allows you to see your files without WiFi. You need to make sure you don’t just copy links but you actually save the addresses, maps, and notes. That way, you aren’t dependent on WiFi to get to your reservations and directions. I take pictures of my receipts and paste them into my file. I still post links, but not for the important items that I need to get my hands on quickly. There are occasions that I need to provide a paper ticket for entry into a museum. We just keep an envelope in our pack for those items. 

Another popular digital notebook is Evernote and EvernotePlus. It’s similar to OneNote in that it keeps you organized in a notebook style system. Check out different systems and weigh the pros and cons to determine which system works best for you. I’m sure there are a lot of options for different needs.

Here is an example of what our One Note looks like:

You can see by looking at the above image. Your notebooks are listed, then there are colored tabs which are called “sections,” then those are broken down by “pages.”

Creating a notebook…

When we travel, we create a “notebook” for each trip. A “section” for each of our locations within that trip is made. Then, we create pages that are specific to that location. We have several trips being organized at any given time, so we are able to keep them separated. 

To add a section or a page, just press the +sign below and add it. You can edit colors of tabs and change names and information easily. I create a page for sites and include maps, pictures of our hotels, receipts, fellow traveler advice, and such. 

Be organized from the beginning…

When you plan your trip early, you will forget some of the details as you do your research. This helps you make sure you take good notes. I sometimes plan six to eight months before we leave. I always forget something until I go through my notebook I made. Because I take good notes, I am seldom in trouble. 

Once you have your system set up, you are ready to begin the process of planning and mapping your trip. Just remember, the more organized you are, the less stopping and searching the internet on the go when you arrive at your destination. Oftentimes, WiFi is hard to come by on the run. It is a huge waste of time to stop and look for WiFi, when you could have done it before you left on your trip. 

Plan early…

We plan our trips early and you should too. Depending on how much free time you have to devote to planning, it might take weeks or months to get a trip figured out. We like to work on it far ahead of time so that we aren’t pressured to finish before the trip.

Another important reason to do it early is that you will have the best pick of hotels and airbnb’s. If you wait too long, the good places will become full. You’ll be left with not so ideal locations and accommodations. The first thing I book after our air travel to and from a location is the accommodations. After that, you can fill in the details.

John and I planned our first big retirement trip immediately upon our decision to retire. This was eight months before the trip. Because we planned so early, I was able to book the cutest Airbnb’s in each city. I pretty much had the pick of the litter, and it was really nice to have so many choices.

You just can’t go wrong to work on trips far in advance.

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