How to Plan a Trip Without a Guidebook (By Using Evernote)
Typically, when you plan a trip somewhere you don’t do it all in one go.
If you want to plan your trip thoroughly, there are multiple steps you need to go through, each of which demand a considerable amount of attention.
From working out travel dates and finding the best deals on flights, to booking your accommodation and working out how you’re going to get around once you’re there, planning a trip is a complex process and isn’t something that most people do in one sitting (especially if you’re going away for a considerable period of time).
In fact, for many people planning a trip is a ‘project’ that they’ll work on incrementally over time.
As with most things in the world, new technologies enable us to work faster, smarter and in a more organized manner.
After I discovered a tool known as ‘Evernote’, I started to rethink how I arranged my travel plans and that there might be a better, more organized way of doing things.
On this page we’ll first take a look at how most people (including myself up until recently) plan their trips, then we’ll take a look at how you can use Evernote to improve upon this.
How Most People Plan Their Trips
Every trip usually starts with one idea – a place you’d like to visit, something you’d like to do or a yearning for adventure – and evolves from there.
After this initial idea has grown a bit, most people will typically jump online, look around a bunch of websites to find the cheapest flights, accommodation and tour prices, then email them around to the people they’ll be traveling with.
Over the next few days, weeks or months, this idea of taking a trip will stay in the back of your mind. Upon reading an article in a magazine or newspaper related to where you’re going you’ll cut the page out and store it away for reference.
Over time, emails between you and your potential travel-buddies (discussing travel dates, where you’ll go, what you’ll see, where you’ll eat, etc.) are sent back and forth to the point where useful information is buried within long email strings.
Once you’ve discussed everything, booked your flights and the departure date is drawing nearer, it’s time to make digital copies of your travel documents (passports, travel insurance, vaccination details, etc.), write down all essential phone numbers and addresses in a note book (in case you need them while traveling).
This is the typical way most people plan and prepare for their trip. There’s nothing wrong with doing things this way (as I have personally done things this way for years and never had a problem), but it is a little chaotic and it relies on you constantly having to remember certain details about where things are.
By using Evernote, you can plan all of your trip in one place, and have everything organized and sorted for quick referencing.
What is Evernote?
What actually is this Evernote thing I keep on mentioning? Evernote is a free tool that lets you quickly and easily save information (in the form of digital notes).
This information is generally stored in ‘the cloud’ (although it can be stored on your device), meaning it can be accessed anywhere, anytime from computers, smartphones and tablets.
Using Evernote When Traveling
I just described how most people plan their trips, with pieces of information all over the place. With Evernote you can keep all of your trip-related articles, notes, pieces of information and whatever else in one digital notebook that can be accessed anywhere by you and your friends. Here’s how:
When looking online you can easily clip interesting information and store it in your notebook. For example, did you read about a great new restaurant in London? Clip the page (here’s how), tag it (more on that in a minute) and save it to your notebook.
What else can you store in your notebook? Anything that you read or see online that relates to your trip, such as ideas on where to go and what to do once you’re there.
By using the Evernote web clipper plug-in for Chrome (plug-ins for other browsers are also available) you can simply highlight the text you want to save, right-click and select ‘Clip Selection’ to import it to your Evernote account.
It’s not just text that can be stored, as photos and maps (among other things) can be highlighted and imported in much the same way.
Alternatively, if you’re reading through a magazine at home and you see something interesting, you can snap a picture of it (or scan it in) then upload it to your Evernote account that way.
Organizing Each Note with Tags
It’s a good idea to keep your notes organized by location and type/function by using relevant tags so that you can quickly and easily search for (and find) them at a later date.
In the earlier example I mentioned saving a review of a new London restaurant to your notebook. To this note I would attach the tags “London” and “food”.
Some of the most common tags I use are “tips”, “things to do”, “day trip”, “food”, “drink” (for pubs and bars) and “club” (for nightclubs).
Using Shared Notebooks
Are you going on a trip with another person, or a group of people? By creating a Shared Notebook you’ll have an Evernote notebook that everyone can contribute to and read. This means that everyone can share their ideas and that everyone will have access to important information. It also help everyone stay organized and up-to-date about what’s going on with the trip.
Storing Important Information
When you travel it’s important you have backups of your passport (scanned in), immunization/vaccination documents, emergency/important phone number and addresses in case you lose them.
You can scan all of these things (or take a picture of them on your phone) and send them to your Evernote account for reference.
Taking it Offline
If you have a premium Evernote account (which will cost you $5 per month or $45 per year) you can make any of your notebooks on your account available offline (on your Android or iOS device) meaning you can access them wherever you are even when you don’t have an internet connection. Here’s how to do it.
This is great for when you’re traveling, as even though Wi-Fi is widely available in most places these days, there will always be times when you don’t have access to the internet.
In short, by using Evernote, you can create a well-organized system containing all your important information that you and your travel buddies can access from your computer, iOS or Android smartphone/tablet any time.
Of course, the downside of using Evernote while traveling is that you have to take your smartphone/tablet traveling with you (which many people don’t like as there’s a danger they’ll lose them).
These are just a few ideas and a few ways of using Evernote to plan and make going on a trip a bit easier. Have you used Evernote (or a similar program/app) when going on a trip? Share your tips in the comments section below!
Disclaimer: I don’t work for Evernote, nor do I have any affiliate with their company. I just think it’s a handy tool!
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