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Saturday, August 4, 2018

Organizing Your Travel Info

When you’re planning for vacation, do you end up with endless pieces of paper for hotels, car rentals and other stuff you’re doing? I know I do, but instead of printing out every last thing that I may or may not need, I now have learned that putting it all together online is a better method and helps me to know exactly where everything is and what I’m still needing. Once I go on my trip, I can print out the necessary things (3 pages vs 42 is easier to carry) and have a back-up for myself that isn’t attached to just my email.



I also like to back-up and organize on-the-go, because if my camera gets stolen or I lose it, I will cry my eyes out over all the photos I’ve lost. This is why uploading at the end of each day to “the cloud” or an online program is fancy, convenient and helps eliminate the needless worry of impending photo loss. 

Don’t let tragedy make you sadder than it has to. Use a back-up – or several – to keep everything within your reach, even when you lose papers, cameras, your laptop, phone or all your worldly (travel) possessions are stolen.


TripIt.com – Don’t you hate carrying around a novel worth of confirmations and check-in sheets with you while you’re in transit? Sometimes, it takes up so much room, you could have fit in an extra outfit. I have a secret, which is not SO secret anymore, but if you don’t know about TripIt, then you will jump up and down for joy. Okay, maybe just on the inside. Not only can you add an infinite number of things to your itinerary online, but you have space to write in confirmation numbers, phone numbers, addresses, times, who you talked to and how much it all cost you (helping you keep track of your budget…effortlessly!).

Are you dreading now having to input all that stuff more than carrying the stack of papers around? This is the coolest part: You can email your confirmations to TripIt, via their special email address and they will suck all the useful info out for you and instantly updates your itinerary. It says it can take a few hours, but when I’ve done it, it has been a matter of minutes. It’s magic, I tell you! Now, it doesn’t work with all confirmation emails, but many of them. I haven’t tried dining reservations, but I’ll be doing it for sure on my next trip.

Once you have your whole trip planned and input into TripIt goodness, you can share it with everyone you like (although, you can do that anytime) and even post the less detailed version on Facebook, so everyone you know can be jealous…and start plotting the raid of your house. Print out your complete trip plan before you go and whittle down your paperwork from War and Peace to a funner version of Pat the Bunny. And if you want to go totally paperless, get the app and view it all on your smartphone.



Shutterfly – If you take a ton of pictures like I do, it would be a serious tragedy if you lost all of them while on vacation. You would not see a meltdown so big unless I was shot in the leg or found out I had some sort of incurable disease. This is why I do multiple photo uploads on my travels. It may not be every day, but it depends on how many I took that day. The more often you upload, the less time it will take. 

I travel with a laptop, so when I get back to my hotel/apartment/timeshare/ship cabin in the evening, I pull the SD card out of my camera and dump all my photos. Once I have internet, I select and copy all of them to my Shutterfly folder. This way, if something happens to my netbook or my camera or my SD card all is not lost. I have also started using SmugMug, which is a paid program online, but it organizes your photos much better.

Dropbox – I can’t even tell you how much I love Dropbox. You start with 2GB of space for free, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but you can save so much stuff in there. I use it for my blog photos, all my budget travel book info (media contacts, revisions, cover images, marketing ideas and everything else associated with it) and all my personal things I don’t want to lose, like my resume and important documents. And I still haven’t used up all my space. 

Essentially, all your files are on an online drive, but you can add the dropbox folder to all your computers, your iPad, your phone and whatever else you might have to store info and have access to it anywhere you are and on whatever device you’re using. If you are just out wandering around and need a file, you can log on online and still be able to get to it in a matter of seconds! You’ll love it, sign up.



It’s good for travel because you can make copies of your passport, visa, credit cards and add a document in there with all the important info you need, like hotel addresses and phone numbers, contacts you might need to get in touch with and anything else you deem important. This way, if something unsavory happens to your belongings, you aren’t completely lost. You can find everything you need wherever you are. And it’s more secure than keeping it in an email folder.

Evernote – I am a devoted Evernote user. I love it. Not only can you use it across all systems like Dropbox, but you can also edit and post to your blog from within it, copy links, pictures or full webpages with a click of a button and even share things to your social networks. I use it on my phone most often, though I’ve taken to writing blog posts with it, too. I have a long-running grocery list (paperless!) in a note, as well as party menus in another and add things that I find that I want to do on my vacations to another. If you see something that looks cool, but can’t really explain it, clip the whole page for later instead of writing down some code and months from now you don’t have to figure out what a Scottish Historic Monument Pub is.

You can have an endless supply of notes and access them anywhere. You can also speak your text into your phone for translation to type, but so far that has only be a source of amusement for me, because if you don’t speak super slowly, you get some really random things that do not make a good blog post. It’s pretty hilarious though!

Anyway, Evernote is great for everything and is a spectacular app for your phone, because you can jot things down if you think of something while you’re sitting in the doctor’s waiting room, waiting for a movie to start, getting your oil changed. Pretty much whenever it’s convenient to send a text, you can be making a list or blogging. So much better than the notepad, too.

Hopefully, you will get a lot of use out of these sites, as well as the two in my previous post. It’s never a bad idea to back up all your important info and things you like to have access to all the time. Emergencies happen, but you can be more prepared to deal with them now. 

What are some of your favorite apps you can use for vacations?
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