How do you organize your research and planning?

Old Feb 7th, 2020, 10:21 PM
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Hi again,

Well, as I said above, you can print out a copy of your google map. You can create the map and pin the restaurants in a certain area or day... then just print it. There is plenty of room in the margins to make notes about closure day, specialties, etc. But of course you'd have to use the computer to do it. I guess to avoid that, you can buy a paper map of the city or region you'll be in, then just mark it up with the restaurants & notes. I agree that there is a tactile pleasure in touching and handling materials ...

Have fun!

yup, suze, many many military officers lived by those note cards -- very versatile!

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Old Feb 8th, 2020, 06:33 AM
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swandav--My husband is a retired military officer, but he never used those notecards but I do! Daily. Those are my go to for my to do lists I don't use them for traveling though.
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Old Feb 8th, 2020, 10:59 PM
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Yeah! I used to love them! Now I put everything on notes in my tablet.

I wonder if your husband is younger than I am..... we didn't have computers. They started hitting Army desks around 1996??? I got my first "portable" computer assigned to me in about 1997 -- it was about the size of a carry-on and weighed around 25 lbs.

I think when computers arrived, everything changed...

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Old Feb 9th, 2020, 06:21 AM
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swandav--I have no idea your age, but my dh entered in 1983. He was a Submarine Commander, so a different field for sure. In 1999 we had this enormous "phone" so that he could do classified calls. My only restriction was that that was not to be in our bedroom as I knew the calls would come in at all hours. Space was such a premium on the boats, and that is still ingrained in him today. You should see how he can organize areas! Neighbors are always in awe of our garage, lol!
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Old Jun 25th, 2020, 04:25 PM
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Mega Planner

I love the planning process and I have planned trips from a weekend to 6 months. I always use an excel spreadsheet. I first start with the dates I am traveling in the first column. Then I add places, hotels, activities, flights, etc. I do the research and target all of those topics and cost it out. As I add or change things I change the spreadsheet. Finally when I am happy with the itinerary, I start booking everything. I put every piece of data into the spreadsheet: flight times, confirmation numbers, etc. Usually I print out all of the confirmations and put them in a binder (with a thin cover) and throw away the pages as they are used. We have had to cancel one 5 week trip for a medical emergency and 4 trips this year due to COVID. The spreadsheet comes in handy for tracking refunds too! How do I start? Well we get an idea: "hey we haven't been there" and start researching. I go to (with an s) and review the lists that people have made that cover the area. That gives me an idea what is there. I look at other people's photos to see what the place looks like. (That is how we got to Ping Yao, amazing) I like Shutterfly for that. Then I buy DK Eyewitness books. (For some reason I just love them) Our last trip was from Nov 2 -Jan 13. We went to Israel, Jordan, Egypt with Viking, the Danube from Bucharest to Passau with Viking, spent a week in Munich then went on an MSC cruise from UAE that went to Bahrain, Qatar and Oman, spent a week in Dubai, then went to India for 11 days. We ended with a week in Madrid before we got home. Without a spreadsheet, I'd be lost. We usually don't use organized trips (we like to wing it on our own) so if you are traveling independently, a spreadsheet for me is critical! Good luck with your planning.
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Old Jun 27th, 2020, 09:46 AM
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Create a folder on your computer for Travel.

1. Read about what interests you and take notes on your computer (it’s easier to use the “Search” tool to find what you want) & include web links or bookmark. (It’s up to you on how to organize it on your computer – a separate “folder” by country? A “file” within the folder by city? A Word.doc or spreadsheet? Whatever works best for you.)

2. When you’re ready to travel, list your “must see” topics on the days you travel. I include the address & telephone of the place(s), hours of operation, and a brief description of what we want to see/do there.

3. Add other options on your day list in case of rain, etc.

4. Be ready to throw out your plans when you arrive and decide to spend more time at one place.

5.Talk to locals when you arrive. We have asked other travelers about their trips, met people over breakfast at a B&B and asked hotel staff and waiters for recommendations about places to visit, eat, stay. Some of their recommendations allowed us to see places that tourists don’t usually don’t get to see.

Example – we talked with someone in Venice who told us to visit his friend, a gondola maker. “Just go down this street and knock on the door.” We did and were invited into the gondola maker’s workshop where he explained how he built his beautiful gondolas during the 20+ years he had been making them.

6. When you’re ready to travel, print out paper copies of your trip. You can also download them to your phone or computer if you prefer to use it while you’re walking around, but I find it’s easier to take out a sheet of paper for the day.

I use a pocket folder with prongs and insert the paper copies in plastic sleeves/sheet protectors. (Easy to remove for your day trip.)

Include your reservations information for airlines, hotels, etc. on one page so it’s all in one place. Add your day trips in separate plastic sleeves.

I have a copy of the itinerary etc. mailed to myself and family members as backup.

7. My tech-savvy kids have used the folder w/sleeves for their travel trips, so it’s not just an empty-nester generations thing. Although they rely on their phones for downloading more than I do.
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Old Jul 8th, 2020, 11:35 AM
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Download the TripIt App. I have upgraded to TripItPro. As I make reservations for flights, rental cars, hotels and rental apartments or homes, I forward them to my TripItPro account. Everything is there, easy to access. I add other reservations as I go along such as walking tours, and restaurant reservations. And the trip info will be saved after the trip is over which can be very helpful in the future if returning to an area.
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Old Jul 9th, 2020, 04:36 AM
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TripCase for keeping track of reservation specifics - flights, and whatever car, train or hotels we might have booked in advance. Phone numbers (hotels, drivers or whatever) on a file on our phones and in a web-based email somewhere if we lose those. I do plenty of research and mostly remember where I'd like to go but we don't plan out days. Just take some pics of pages of guides or google screen shots that list opening times if it's not typical hours. It's not a lot of data as we prefer to "plan" each day over breakfast.
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