Hand held devices vs. hand written notes

Mar 29th, 2001, 02:49 PM
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Hand held devices vs. hand written notes

I'll admit it - I'm a go-go travel gadget consumer. I've read numerous reviews about Palm and Visor, pro and con. One of the big complaints I read about Visor is how it goes through a lot of batteries. If your hand held runs low on energy you can't retrieve your copious amounts of information, such as addresses, phone numbers, restaurant reviews. Hand written notes and guide books are always accessible but take up a fair amount of space while sight seeing. To hand held device users - what is your opinion regarding how useful your Palm / Handvisor was to use on your trip.
Mind you - I'm fully aware of how stylish I would look with a graphite or ice HandVisor with the mobile phone attachment or digital camera attachment - but is it too much hassel to use in reality?
Mar 29th, 2001, 05:46 PM
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I'm also one of those gadget consumers. Even more fun than my PalmIII is my calculator watch and my GPS. (Casio makes a watch with a built in camera!) The Palm is great but before you buy one make sure you can see the darn thing! If the light is not right I can't see a thing, even with the backlight. There are also sites where you can download maps of some of the major cities. Carry spare batteries.
Mar 29th, 2001, 06:12 PM
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I used my Palm-5 quite a bit in Greece last August, kept my itinerary, flight resvs, etc on it (plus I had all my usual phone #s on it).

BUT, I had hardcopy backup at the bottom of my suitcase. Ordinarily your PC is the backup, but I didn't want to lug the notebook PC (given how infrequently available public internet access was in greece, I might reconsider next time).

Battery life on the Palm-5's built-in lithium battery is very good, I only used the Palm travel charger once, I think.

There was still a lot of hardcopy to lug around ... vouchers for my rental car, one hotel, & air tix.

But overall, I'm glad I brought it along.
Mar 29th, 2001, 06:22 PM
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I tend not to spend money on gadgets, especially expensive ones. The less expensive stuff I cart around on trips, the better. I write notes in a small notebook and even looking at that brings back memories of the day - I draw little pics of buildings, etc. and this is later transposed to my main trip diary each night.
Mar 29th, 2001, 06:30 PM
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I used my Palm extensively two years ago on a trip to Europe, and will be using it that way again this summer. I already have driving directions for the major driving legs of our trip that I've cut and pasted from Michelin's website into the Palm. My navigator reads from the Palm as we drive through the countryside.
Rick Steves has several walking tours of Paris on his website that I've also added. I put everything from lodging info, opening hours and tips about places museums and castles we will visit, and flight info on my Palm.
The great posts that I find here from fellow Fodor's users are quickly cut and pasted into my files for future reference.
Certain things I will also print to take along, and much of the rest will be in text form as attachments to one or two email files so that if disaster did strike, I could find web access and get to any files that I thought were critical.

If you like technology and gadgets, using the Palm for travel is really great.

Mar 29th, 2001, 08:03 PM
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Frankly, Mark, I'd suggest giving your palm and battery pack a brake and finding instead, somebody's hand to hold. There's nothing like the real live warmth of another person.
Mar 29th, 2001, 08:46 PM
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I'm surrounded by gadget guys, but my only vice is the internet. Let's not talk platforms, after all...this is a TRAVEL forum???? But I love my cube.

I'm sure T won't relinquish his visor and digital cam, no matter where we end up. But since it's a choice between his laptop and his underwear, he might actually take a VACATION this time. But...that's yet to be determined. I'll be the one stuffing our hardcopy confirmations onto my limited carryon space.

Mar 30th, 2001, 03:39 AM
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I looked into using my Visor as my main travel resource for my just-returned-from trip to Paris. It was not as straight forward as I hoped. (I was browsing through the magazine section in Borders before I left and found a travel magazine with a cover story devoted to Paris on the Palm. You might want to take a look at it. In a nutshell, there's not enough out there yet to make it all that convenient, but I did find I could use a combination of Visor and hard copy. I prepared my basic itinerary as memos on my PC and downloaded to my Visor. I started with a memo in which I listed all the sights I thought we'd like to see/do during the week. I copied notes from this forum, Rick Steves and other sites into other memos, but there are severe size limitations on the memos. [I had wanted to download Fodors mini guide but found it was structured in such a way (layered) that I would have taken hours to do so. It was just more efficient to pack a good guide book or 2.] I have memos on restaurants, shopping, hours of operation etc. During the trip, each evening, I reveiwed my basic list of things to see/do. I grouped things geographically, checked hours of operation and roughed out a daily itinerary which I entered in the calendar for the next day. However, once we left the hotel, I reverted to hard copy - primarily Eye Witness guide and notes I'd made from several other books that I didn't want to carry along. The Visor was not convenient for full-time reference. ALso, with all the rain, I didn't want to be getting it wet while checking things on the street corner! By the way, Elaine's notes were fabulous and could be put on the Visor, but I carried a hard copy and just tore off the pages I needed. As already suggested, the Visor is a great place to store important information, like passport numbers and hotel reservations etc., but definately keep 2 hard copies - one in the hotel and one in your wallet. If you're planning on taking a Palm or Visor, I suggest a Stowaway keyboard, too. I could't have done anything without it. It was also great for jotting down notes and memories.
Mar 30th, 2001, 05:12 AM
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I found my Palm V very useful on a trip to Paris last year, and will definitely be bringing it along this year. I enter all important information in the datebook, including restaurant reservations and phone numbers, and directions to places I know I'll be going. There are some really nifty and useful programs available. Everything from size and metric conversion programs to currency exchange calculators and entire tour books and restaurant guides. The latter are quite handy for referring to opening and closing times, days open and closed, addresses, phone numbers, nearest metro stop. My two favorite programs are the Collins English-French/French-Engish dictionary and PocketMoney (which syncs with Microsoft Money on your PC if you like). You can preset an exchange rate and enter all your transactions. This is fabulous for keeping track of your purchases, ATM withdrawals, bank balances, and credit available on your cards. It's also handy for keeping a list of items for the Customs form. The Palm V does need to be recharged (there's a kit for this) now and again (every two or three days for me). If you're a journal keeper, there's Palm Journal with a desktop program. You can transfer your daily journals to your PC when you return for editing. I do bring along hard copies of important information. You never know if you might become separated from your Palm or it will not perform for one reason or another (most common is dead battery). The Palm case is the perfect place to collect all your receipts. My only concern while out and about is that a pickpocket will mistake it for a wallet. So, I never use those little slots for cards or cash.
Mar 30th, 2001, 07:40 AM
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I think it's not so much what you use, as how you use it.

As with all computers and devices, the problem is discipline about what you are going to keep and use. On a trip, you don't want to be reading page after page of material. Editing is key to useful references, and if you rely on hard copy for at least some stuff, you will find yourself forced to do so in order to keep the bulk and weight down. Some people rip out sections of guidebooks and then tape back together into a small 'master book' - I suppose you could do the same thing electronically on the Palm.

We use the Palm for financial stuff - trip expenses, mileage, etc. - but rely on hard copy for the rest. Remember that the Palm will be more attractive to thieves than a guidebook with Post-it notes....
Mar 30th, 2001, 10:22 AM
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My Visor Deluxe goes through a pair of AAA batteries about every 1.5-2 months. I just bought a pair of rechargeable NiMh batteries with a cord that clips on the battery door and can be plugged into my car or house (car chargers are nice abroad if you have a car. No voltage conversion concerns.) So far I've had the rechargeables in for 5 days and they're about 1/3 drained. They recharge in about 2 hours. Have not actually done any travelling with the Visor yet but I love it.


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