Tools For Managing Trip Planning Notes

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Published on August 11, 2017

When planning a trip, it is a good idea to keep some research notes. Reference the planning notes as you continue your research and turn them into useful information for the trip.

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Features to Look For

Multiple Devices

It can be nice to be able to access your notes between your desktop, phone or tablet. This is great for checking information, or adding new notes as ideas pop into your head.

Backup

You want to keep a backup of your travel planning notes. This might be on a local storage device, or many people find storage on the internet/cloud convenient.

Synchronisation

It is a horrible feeling when you have spent time creating some notes and you go back to work on it next time and they are no longer there. Good synchronisation between devices is really hard to achieve, particularly when multiple devices and users are involved.

Sharing

Some notes tools will allow you to provide viewing access permissions. You can get advice, notify others, or be planning a trip with others. Just be careful what you share and only with people you trust!

Collaboration

If you are working on a trip plan with other people, being able to work on your trip notes together can be very useful. Tracking of who has made what modifications is another option to look for.

Version History

Being able to see and revert to old version of notes.

Offline Support

Another bad feeling is when you know you have notes about something, but you can't access it to check. Offline support means you can access or add to your trip notes when there is no internet. This is particularly handy at airports, in airplanes etc, or in a country where you might not have easy access to the internet. This may be due to lack of wifi, phone internet or privacy concerns.

Save Web Pages

Save the web page into your notes. Maybe you want to read a web page later, or be able to refer to it again. Great when combined with an offline feature so you can refer to web pages if you have no internet.

Paste Screenshots

A quick way to take a screenshot, or part of a screen, and paste it quickly into your travel notes.

Print to Notes

Instead of printing to paper, you can "print" what would appear on the paper, but as an image saved into your notes. Useful for copies of airline tickets, accommodation reservations etc.

Browser Integration

Take data from your web browser and save them to your notes from within the browser.

Email to Notes

Send or forward emails to a specific email address and have them saved into your notes as a page. Useful for notes someone else sent you, information from booking sites etc, or sending yourself a note from email.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

OCR is used to extract text from pictures and printouts, etc. It is really useful to be able to search text from typing and images at the same time.

Handwritten Notes

For those who like to write instead of type, or use a pen to annotate travel notes. You might also be able to convert the handwriting to typed text.

For some people, handwriting might also be a form of encryption if others can't read your writing ;)

Conclusion

We find OneNote works well and supports all these features. OneNote has free versions for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS. The Windows desktop version has the most features, but the other versions are also useful.

The synchronisation feature is very reliable (other products don't get this quite right, but to be fair, it is a very difficult problem).

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