How To Use OneNote As A Travel Tool

I think there were sun spots yesterday or the planets were aligned. My little blog had INSANE traffic, so thank you to whoever you all are!

Today, we are talking about travel planning using a tool you likely already have – OneNote from Microsoft. Using OneNote as a tool to plan, organize, experience and relive your travels is easy. If you work in a PC-based environment, you may already be using it; keeping meeting notes, project details and department sales trends organized. If so, you are ahead of the learning curve. If not, no worries, it is pretty straightforward. Kind of like a digital notebook, just without the cool hand-drawn cover of doodles, band names, and the cute boy’s varsity number.

Please note, this is NOT a tutorial on how to use OneNote. For that, click here. My post details how I use OneNote to plan, organize, and document my travels. To get started, I create a new tab in my personal notebook.


Create a Notebook or a Tab within a Notebook

From there, I add pages (left side of the screenshot) and these are standard to every trip I plan. I’ve found that these topics cover everything I want to document.
IMG_2547The pages are self-explanatory, but for a little clarification:

  • Trip Details – This is where I document any random thoughts or location-specific notes, special gear or items I need (Diamox for the Inca Trail, malaria pills for SE Asia, etc.)
  • Where I Stayed – This is where details of the hotel go, including room type, confirmation number, and contact information,
  • What I Wore – This is where I plan what I need to take and where I recap what worked, what didn’t, what I’d pack differently.
  • What I May Do – This is where I capture initial things to see and places to go. Once I have purchased any tickets or events, I put the confirmation details here.
  • What I Did – This is where I recap each day, insert links to research of things seen for which I want more information, and notes for future story ideas.

NOTE: As mentioned in previous posts, I don’t plan everything but have learned that if there are absolute must-dos it pays off to schedule them and book any required tickets.

Now, here is where it really comes to life. OneNote lets you drag images and text from destination websites or your photo albums into your notebook. Below, I dragged photos of Gastown into my Story Ideas page. Easy! This is useful for making visual markers of unfamiliar places.

You can add any pages that meet your needs. A budget page could be a good option or if you are visiting multiple locations, you could have a page for each city. That’s the best thing about OneNote, you can tailor it however you want to do so.

Another great feature is the ability to share your notebook with others. This is useful if you are planning a getaway with friends coming fro different locations.  I bet it would be really helpful if you were planning a family reunion in an exotic place! Click here to learn how to share notebooks.

There is so much to OneNote, but hopefully this gets you started with one of the best travel planning tools out there! During my trip I can access my notebooks on the iPad whether I am on or offline, making things really easy, especially if I have eCopies of tickets, boarding passes, etc.

What do you think?  Do you use OneNote to plan trips? Does it work for you? Let me know in the comments!