Organization During the Planning Process

Vacation planning involves gathering of LOTS of information. – Multiple hotel choices with their amenities, rates, etc…  Options for ways to spend our vacation days -choices of the things we COULD do with their hours, costs, etc…  Airline flight times that we COULD choose from with their prices, credit card offers and benefits.  It’s a very long list.  As I’m planning, I collect all the choices.  From those choices, I’ll make decisions…but during that decision making process, I’m inundated with LOTS of information.

I HAVE to keep all that organized or it quickly becomes overwhelming.

How do I do that?  OneNote!!    http://office.microsoft.com/onenote 

  • Send webpages there for easy access to information. When OneNote allowed us to put these stored notes in the cloud and therefore accessible from any computer it got even better.  When you send webpages to OneNote, the entire page goes there….I then delete all information that isn’t pertinent to our specific travel plans, or I already know and don’t need to have recorded. For example, when planning a trip to a Nat’l Park, I don’t need the information about group rates and minimums. I delete it from my OneNote page. When I do that, it puts at my fingertips the information I DO need.
  • I make my lists in OneNote – There’s the “To Do” list and of course all the ‘Take’ lists.  I like the list making features.  Of course, I print these lists when it comes time to pack (It would be too time consuming to try to pack from a list on a computer/phone.  Paper is MUCH more convenient.)
  • Once we get ON our vacation, I use the OneNote phone app (don’t use it often in the planning process as it’s not as easy to ‘input’ on.  Having everything on my phone  means I can leave that laptop home when we go if I want to (and I typically ‘want to’….)  I just don’t like the hassle of getting it through security, worrying about leaving it in a hot car, worrying about ‘securing’ it.  I just often think it’s more ‘trouble’ than ‘help’.   The inclusion of the phone app gives me access to all the information I’ve put in OneNote. ark the websites you use most frequently.  This makes accessing that information very quick!
  • Print:
    • I print budget sheets, hotel grid sheets used to compare hotels with their amenities, rates, etc… and
  • I put the pages I’ve printed in a 3 ring folder…perhaps in sheet protectors depending on how many pages there are.

The OneNote phone app simplifies a lot…I  can access and read/work on various aspects of vacation planning anywhere.  I don’t typically take my computer on vacation (It’s just one more thing to tote along) so that phone app becomes my source of information while traveling.  NOTE: The OneNote computer program IS necessary in the planning stages however, as you can’t “send” things to OneNote from your phone.

Every travel industry company has it’s own app.  I think perhaps my favorites are Trip Advisor and Kayak  http://www.kayak.com/  Everyone is familiar with TripAdvisor…and Kayak is my consolidator of choice when it comes to all reservations – airline, hotel car rental, etc…     I like the fact that I can forward e-mail confirmations to the site and it sends constant updates on flight or gate changes, etc…or any other updates I need to know.  The day I became impressed with this process was on my last flight.  Within 20 min., our gate changed THREE times. (It was the weekend of the AA restructuring…).  Kayak sent the gate updates before they made the announcement over the speakers.  We would be on our way to the new gate as that announcement was being made.  Yes, the airlines have their own apps but honestly, I don’t know if they work as affectively as Kayak…I don’t know because I’ve never downloaded them.  Kayak did it ALL….in ONE app.  Less is always my preferance.  One app rather than an airline app…and rental car app….and 4 different hotel chain apps.  🙂

 

Happy Planning!!

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