Travel Planning and Workflows

For awhile I used Ulysses for just about everything that involved text or notes. My travel notes were in pieces and relied on google calendar, the websites like booking.com, sky scanner, trip.com, etc. I realized with the trip coming up next that I needed something better so decided Ulysses was simply not the best choice. I settled on primarily cross platform applications so if I moved to an Android phone, I was not locked in to IOS and MAC systems. Here are my apps and how I use them now.

OneNote. Microsoft OneNote is a very nice and capable note management solution and how it handles sections and notebook pages are really nice. I needed something that would allow better management of cutting and pasting from websites like the airline reservations or hotel names. If you receive those emails in gmail often they get inserted into google calendar, but the real thing is that google calendar is not a repository. OneNote is a repository. So I decided to create my own repository for travel. I needed a basic format for a note that would capture the dates in a place, airline reservations, hotel accommodations, and bus or cab or other reservations or needs. But I also wanted something more freeform so if I wanted to add a note, I could easily transcribe a note. It was also important to have the same experience on iPhone and my Mac laptop. The OneNote app on both does this and its free on both. You can create a basic workflow like I did below easily.

Screen Shot 2019 01 12 at 2 46 06 PM

The important things with the workflow are a few. One is to limit separate places for the travel information and make use of the graphical experience that OneNote has. Check out the screen capture of my Singapore note. In the elements are a table for destination and dates, a section for flights and hotels, bus or cab needs, and any notes on notable sights to see. Now instead of relying on each website or using tripit or some site which only allows me to send information and not really control the layout or makeup of the page, I can make use of additional fields of information as I need.

A second important thing with the workflow is that it succeeds in bringing together all the information into a single place so if I want to see the hotel I will be staying in while visiting Singapore, its right there. So is my bus information and my flight information from Cambodia.

The last thing is this information is presented in completely different websites with different formatting and being able to have a single note page with the details means I can be more productive and make better choices with the information or if I decide to make a change.

Day One. As a casualty of the Ulysses changes I decided to move to Day One for diary and journalling. I am a big believer in creating a daily journal with personal information, diatribes, emotional stuff, etc. Its my scratchpad of life. This is another one of the tools which are cross platform. The beauty of the app is its dedicated to journaling and diary building and it syncs to my devices and also has location information embedded so if I want I can see where I wrote a thing. If you write a daily journal or diary, I still believe writing freeform text has an advantage in that you can be writing and use MarkUp if you want to format but Day One is just nice for its features and the fact I can migrate if I want to another mobile OS and phone.

There you have it!

So there you go. If you travel or just want to control information from disparate sources and be able to view the data across laptops and mobile devices, its worthwhile to find apps that let you experience and use the data and that data should synchronize and let you always see the most updated data based on editing on whatever platform.

Both of the apps answer a basic need I have. OneNote provides a very nice and free note taking and management platform which lets me copy web data from a variety of booking sites into pre-determined fields I want to control and always see; but it also lets me add more data below or above. Formatting of the data lets me insert tables and graphical elements that I can see right away so I built a template note for traveling that I copy and paste to a new note.

The beauty of a basic workflow for travel really is ensuring you use it to centrally manage all the little bits of information you receive when you travel. You get email about flights and hotels and bus services and tours that confirm your purchases. Its all there in your email but to me email and a calendar app is not the best choice for distilling the information into a usable and modifiable source. If you travel like me and have travel plans for sometimes months at a time visiting multiple countries over 5 months, the devil is definitely in the details. I found I made mistakes in booking travel for hotels because I got dates wrong with no workflow or central repository.

I hope this helps a bit. It took me a few days of editing to create the notes and then harvest or mine the data. Try it out on a trip and see what you think!