The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Sharon at Mom of 6.
This summer I’m planning something bold, daring, and a little bit over-the-top! I’m going to take my six kids on a 4-week 8000-mile road trip out to see “the Great American West”! We’re planning on heading from New York out to Colorado and then onto Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Missouri and back. It’s going to be an amazing experience- but boy do I need to be organized to pull something like this off!
So today I want to share with you one of my very favorite tools that I use all of the time to store ideas, make lists, and keep notes. But specifically I want to show you how I use this tool to organize all of my vacation plans- reservation confirmations, itinerary and all of those important details. This fabulous tool is called Evernote, and it is FREE! Evernote is available for desktops as well as mobile devices like smartphones and tablets- and the best part is that all of your information “syncs to the cloud” so it is available to you anywhere at anytime! Which is what make it the perfect application to store all of the information that you’ll want to have organized for your vacation! Let me show you how it works:
What is Evernote?
Simply put- Evernote is a notes-taking, notes-saving application that allows you to create new notes by typing them, cutting and pasting them from a website or an email, adding a photo, recording a voice message, even saving a PDF file. Each of these items can be created as a note in Evernote and then your notes can be organized into folders just as you would notes written on paper and placed into a filing cabinet at home. Carley Knobloch from Digitwirl shared this video here on OrgJunkie a while back that does a great job explaining all that Evernote can do for you.
Using Evernote to Store Your Vacation Plans
Start by creating a separate notebook within Evernote and name it “Vacation Plans” or “Florida Trip”, etc. Then create a new note for each segment of your trip. On our big “Go West” trip, we’ll be staying in 12 different places, so I created a note for each one. Here is what I have found to be helpful to include in my travel plan notes:
Distance To Travel:
At the top of the page I like to list the distance to our destination both in miles and in hours. This helps me to prepare everyone for just how long we will be in the car. I also include a link to the MapQuest route that I intend to take. I like to have this as a backup set of instructions in case the GPS in our car decides to act a little wonky.
Time Zone of Our Destination:
So when we call Daddy back home to “check in”, we will know what the time difference is. And maybe not call him at 4am (at least by accident anyway!) I use Time and Date to gather my information.
Temp / Forecast:
I’ve made a note to the average daily temperatures in the city that we will be in (for packing purposes) and I also add a link to weather.com‘s five-day forecast for that location, so it is uber-simple for me to click on the link and see an updated weather forecast.
I have a section where I record all of the hotel information, which I copy and paste right from my hotel confirmation email that I received back when I made the hotel reservation. I like to have all of these details at hand- what time check-in is, any notes regarding what type of unit that I reserved, how many beds and bed configuration, and what the cancellation policy is. I also created a series of check-boxes regarding amenities I want to be aware of at each hotel: Is there a pool (indoor or outdoor)? Is there a washer and dryer available? Is there free Wi-Fi? Ice machines on the premises?
What to Carry In:
I’ve included a section as to what I want to remember to carry into the hotel when we arrive. Because in many places we will be staying for just one night and all I really need to take to the room is our bag of clothes for the next day, a pajama bag and a toiletries bag. Other times I will want to remember to carry in a sleeping bag for a child, extra pillows etc.- depending on the room configuration.
A list of things to see and do while in this location! And if I’ve made a reservation for an attraction in advance, copies of that confirmation number will be here. I will also include directions, operating hours, and any notes to myself about don’t-miss things to do at that attraction!
To Do List:
I hate to admit it- but even on vacation I keep a to-do list. Do I need to laundry here? Stop at the grocery store (and of course, my running grocery list will be a separate note here in Evernote!), prep breakfast or lunch for the next day? Call ahead to confirm a reservation? All of those notes will be created as a checklist here.
So what do you think? Could Evernote help you to get your vacation plans organized? (Or better yet- do you think I am crazy for taking on a road trip of this magnitude?) Leave a comment today with your thoughts!
If you get a chance, I hope you’ll stop by to see me at Momof6 – a place where I write about organizing your home, using a family calendar, creating household routines, hosting at-home birthday parties, and holding a DIY summer camp! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter (@sharonmomof6), and Pinterest!