To travel is to soak in new experiences. The sights, the sounds, the people, and the food. To open your mind, letting in new perspectives and new flavours by immersing yourself in different cultures and different cuisines. However, it is sometimes difficult to be in the moment when there’s so much to deal with when you’re on-the-road and abroad.
Here are some great ways I use apps like Evernote to help me “outsource” these tasks, and free myself from the shackles of planning a holiday.
Just thinking about the amount of documents needed for my next trip gives me a headache. Typically, I have to deal with booking confirmations, hotel confirmations, boarding passes, maps, event tickets/conference passes – that’s at least 5 or more sources of documents needed for a trip. Imagine keeping all those on paper!
The great news is, all Evernote accounts comes with a forwarding email address where users can forward emails to. Evernote is smart enough to ‘ingest’ these emails and sync them across my devices, even the attached files. By immediately forwarding confirmation emails (with the PDFs) to the Evernote email address, I will be able to bring my boarding passes and hotel confirmation with me on my iPad (just make sure that it’s synced) and I can do away with the printouts – which is truly a blessing.
Pro tip: In the subject line, use symbols like “@” to denote a notebook and “#” to denote a tag (see screenshot). This way, you’ll be able to ‘file’ emails in the right notebooks and with the right tags into Evernote immediately. Keep Track of Expenses On-the-Go
I tend to collect receipts when I’m traveling so that I’ll be able to keep track of expenses. However, this quickly fattens my wallet (sadly, not with wads of cash). To alleviate this ‘fat wallet’ problem, I’ll snap a photo of the receipt and save it to an Evernote notebook I named “receipts”. At the end of my trip, I’ll have a collection of receipts nicely filed in the notebook, sortable by date, title, and other dimensions. Words on the receipts are searchable.
You can take pictures of menus too, to remember delightful meals and dining experiences. Best yet, since you’re taking these notes on your mobile devices, Evernote will be able to remember the location. By viewing these notes in the Atlas view, you’ll be able to reminiscence your travel memories by location.
Pro tip: If you travel rather often, use a tag to quickly categorise and filter notes from different locations. For example: “@SG”.
Automated archiving using IFTTT
They say the best camera is the one you have with you. These days, that often means your smartphone camera. If you’re like me, chances are you’re probably taking photos using your iPhone and uploading them to Facebook or Instagram. Problem is, photos on Facebook or Instagram are fluid, i.e. they get pushed down the timeline as content stacks up.
Here, I use a service called IFTTT (which stands for If This Then That) to automatically save photos I post to Facebook and Instagram to a designated notebook in Evernote. Here’s how it works: IFTTT allows you to create different connections between apps and web services, which are called “recipes”. Each recipe is made up of a “trigger” and an “action”. In this example, every time I post a photo on Instagram (a trigger), IFTTT will save that photo to a notebook in Evernote (an action).
Pro Tip: There’re many other recipes available, and you can make your own too. One of my favourites for travel: check in using Foursquare, log my travel spots to my “Been there, done that” notebook in Evernote. ‘
Collaborate on Travel Plans
Whether you like it or not, if you’re traveling with anyone other than yourself, you need to plan and coordinate with another human being. The process could be fun for some (or not), but with a little help from the magical combination of Google Maps & Evernote, the process can be made simpler and manageable.
Start by sharing a notebook with your travel mates. This way, everyone can contribute travel plans and research and be on the same page. To make travel research snippier, install the Evernote Web Clipper on your browser of choice. With little effort you will be able to ‘clip’ web pages (list of cat cafes in Tokyo, or the best driving routes across New Zealand perhaps?) into the shared notebook.
Pro Tip: Marking down points of interests? Use Google Maps to pin the points of interest and use Skitch to screenshot the map into Evernote., that way you’ll always have a personalised map with you while on-the-move.
Do you have any cool tech tricks that you use to make travel easier and more fun? Hit me up in the comments below!
This is the 2nd of a 4 part productivity series on how to use technologies like Evernote to help deal with modern day living, done in collaboration with Evernote.