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How do you organize your travel details?


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How do you organize and keep visibility on


1)  Your upcoming travel details

Ex:

- If you use a travel agent, do they provide an online dashboard to show you what cruises they are managing? 

- Do you use an app like TripIt?    If yes do you supplement it with a free form document system like Google Drive or Evernote? 

 

Even if it's something basic that keeps. you from booking 2 overlapping trips :-), I'm interested in hearing what you do.


2)  Remembering deadlines before a trip that require an action by you

Ex:

- Remembering the 14 or 21 day deadline to book travel insurance to cover pre-existing conditions. 

- Remembering when you can book excursions.   

- Do you book Google Calendar reminders? 


3)  During the trip

 

I'm feeling so disorganized right now because of ** Recent Events 

The agent I'm using is not helping me be more organized.  Ex: I asked him what were the Viking cruises he was managing for me, and he didn't include one that I had originally booked with a different agent at same company.   

 

Right before the freeze I was in the middle of planning a Christmas 2021 trip to the Dubai World Fair which looks like it's going to be amazing. 

I spoke at a conference in Dubai in 2017 and unexpectedly totally LOVED the city and the experience.  

This brings me to question 4)

 

4) Do you use the same system to keep your non-cruise trips and cruise trips organized? 

 

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Posted (edited)

** Recent Events: 

I just survived nearly freezing to death in the February Texas Freeze. 
No power, no heat for a week in my neighborhood. - 3 days earlier than the rest of Texas. A week in sub freezing temps.  Nights at  < 20 degrees.  

Then no running water for a week.  Then natural gas co warned they might need to turn off gas. 

 

Survival tip in case you're ever in same situation:  

Warmest place to try to sleep is in a closet with every sleeping bag, comforter, and blanket thrown in there.

 

I know I'm going to die at some point.   I didn't think it would be via freezing to death in my own Austin Texas house where I could see my breath when exhaling,  with my phone too cold to hold, and with ice covering all roads.  The total silence and total white-ness outside made me think, "this must be what living on Mars feels like..."

 

On the good:

7 burst pipes have been repaired by a plumber I have a 20 year relationship with.. I was able to turn off the water at the street before an eventual emergency evac, so no standing water and no flood.  Researched how to do a controlled turn on to detect water leaks.  Immediately called the plumber when I saw the burst pipe symptom.   That symptom was:  After turning the water main handle just slightly (10 degrees) clockwise, the red triangle started spinning even though all faucets were off.   This red triangle is visible on the water gallons dial next to street main turn off valve below that big heavy concrete lid. Check it out next time your plumber does something and has to turn off the water!      

 

This would be a fascinating learning experience if it weren't so traumatic at the same time! 

 

One of many lessons learned: 

Found a hotel who claimed they had a generator in case their circuit was taken down via load shedding.  Booked the last $400/night room. 

However, when their circuit was indeed taken down, I learned the generator only serviced the lobby.    So back to freezing, OR, gathering in the lobby with all the other people and risk COVID.  

 

This weekend  I'm taking a deep breath and trying to remember where I was with bookings.  I really wish I were better organized with travel.

Edited by SempreMare
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I use TripIt basic for the overall booking but for the rest I just put it in my pocket calendar and Evernotes.  I write faster than I type and I can see it in one place with the pocket diary.  Evernotes syncs to my phone so I can type on a full keyboard and then read as I travel.  TripIt makes it easy to print out the basic info to share with family before we leave.  MVJ keeps other planning info, but mostly as a back up since we cannot add our own notes.  

 

However,  if you want to talk to the super organized, talk to @CharTrav.  

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I like to keep everything simple and manage everything in M/S Office. Our T/A calendarises all key dates - PIF, etc.

 

I put the entire schedule in Outlook's calendar:

  • Pre-cruise - PIF date, shore-ex booking, dining booking, luggage pick up, travel/medical insurance
  • Pre-cruise Hotel - hotel name, confirmation number, address
  • Pre-cruise flights - flight numbers, seat allocations, confirmation number
  • Port days - each day in port is entered, with details of tours booked, confirmation numbers, phone numbers, etc
  • Sea days - any special events booked
  • Post cruise - same details as pre-cruise

In Excel, I create spreadsheets for each ports regarding Visa requirements, restrictions for going ashore (medications, etc), govt travel recommendations, threats, etc. Also have a spreadsheet for tours.

 

In Word, I develop a file of information on each port:

  • Where ship docks
  • Other ships in port
  • Currency/exchange rates
  • Brief history of port/country
  • List of points of interest & descriptions
  • List of restaurants/pubs of interest
  • Details of shore-ex/tours booked.

 

Since we generally take longer cruises, I print the Word docs and compile as a book format, so we can review before each port. I also print a daily calendar, which we post on the cabin bulkhead.

 

Everything, whether cruises, RV trips or Timeshare/condo holidays are all managed the same way, so any conflicts are identified during initial planning.

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I use an excel spreadsheet which is known as “Clay’s Big A$& Spreadsheet”. It has numerous tabs, the first of which is  the itinerary with dates and locations listed vertically, with columns for transportation arrangements, clothes, and budget.  The clothes columns “count” vertically and summarize to a packing list down below (polo shirts, dress shirts, etc). The budget columns are broken down into hotel, air, local transportation, food, gratuities, etc and then summarize also. 
 

There are separate tabs for CruiseCritic (especially if I am organizing something), each port, hotels, air, etc.  I use these for my own notes, cutting and pasting others recommendations, record locator and flight numbers, confirmation numbers, and hyperlinks to articles, websites, etc.  

 

Before I leave, I upload the spreadsheet to my GoogleDrive as well as emailing it to myself so incase I loose my phone or iPad, I can re-access it again. Then on the trip, I simply open the spreadsheet from either device when I need to refer to it. I used to print and take a stack of all this information and leave it behind as I went but this system has worked well for me.  

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8 minutes ago, SempreMare said:

@Clay Clayton and @Heidi13

 

Do you use OneDrive to access your docs & spreadsheets while traveling? 

 

Negative, I bring my laptop with the files on the internal drive and back-ups on an external drive, which I also bring.

 

I do use OneDrive for sharing files with others. Since the World Cruise albums are too big to send as email attachments, I save the Powerpoint file as a .pdf and share with OneDrive.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Peregrina651 said:

However,  if you want to talk to the super organized, talk to @CharTrav.  

Thanks!!! It keeps me happy! And it's fun. Parts of it I print and keep in a binder that goes with me. Unlike @Clay Clayton and others, I do NOT like to be tied to anybody's Cloud drive  (OneDrive, GoogleDrive, et).  I use EverNote while on the trip to record stuff like my what pics I took each day (by camera & file#) along with notes about anything special that day. .

Edited by CharTrav
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4 hours ago, SempreMare said:

@Clay Clayton and @Heidi13

 

Do you use OneDrive to access your docs & spreadsheets while traveling? 

I don’t. My spreadsheet is saved to my phone and iPad. And as I noted, I email the spreadsheet to me and upload it to my GoogleDrive which I guess is Microsoft’s version?

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, CharTrav said:

Thanks!!! It keeps me happy! And it's fun. Parts of it I print and keep in a binder that goes with me. Unlike @Clay Clayton and others, I do NOT like to be tied to anybody's Cloud drive  (OneDrive, GoogleDrive, et).  I use EverNote while on the trip to record stuff like my what pics I took each day (by camera & file#) along with notes about anything special that day. .

I am not tied to a drive-it’s just a back up just in case I loose my phone. 😊

Edited by Clay Clayton
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47 minutes ago, Clay Clayton said:

I am not tied to a drive-it’s just a back up just in case I loose my phone. 😊

Yup. I use Evernote becuz I can use it offline (while on the plane, a train, or coach). When I can access the ship wifi I sync my notes to the cloud for backup. My objective is to never use my phone's data plan. Btw - OneDrive is micro$oft. 😉

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this all surely sounds complicated.  We sure have been taken over by our devices.  And to think I once traveled Europe for months with just a backpack and a few traveler's checks....😎

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11 hours ago, CharTrav said:

Yup. I use Evernote becuz I can use it offline (while on the plane, a train, or coach). When I can access the ship wifi I sync my notes to the cloud for backup. My objective is to never use my phone's data plan. Btw - OneDrive is micro$oft. 😉

Yep, that’s why I just use excel. Though my data and text are free worldwide, I find it easier to have all the info available without having to worry about finding a cell tower. 

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53 minutes ago, Jim Avery said:

this all surely sounds complicated.  We sure have been taken over by our devices.  And to think I once traveled Europe for months with just a backpack and a few traveler's checks....😎

Well don’t try traveling with a travel’s check today. In 2008, We went to Greece with traveler’s checks (our US bank didn’t have a reciprocal program with any of the. Greek banks so couldn’t use their ATMs) and it was awful. Spent one morning in Athens trying to get one cashed...branch sent me to central office, central office had to find a manager, manager had to get approval.  Ugh, never again!  LOL.  Though it was fun to see all the tellers and managers sitting at their desks drinking coffee/tea and smoking cigarettes like it was 1952! 🚬

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And banks in England and some other places will not accept a US $100.  Have to go to the money changers for cash.  We usually use our Chase debit card linked to a single account funded just for travel.  Only use debit card at a real bank ATM and have only been charged small fees, if any. 😎

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I print out all the reservations.....and hand it to my wife!

 

OK, we print out the reservations, cruise/flight/hotels/tours, and have them in an Active Vacation file for each itinerary.

 

We use iPads/MacBook:

  - We also save all docs as PDFs and put them in Books App. I then have all the itineraries (ports and so on with time in/out), hotels and flight on my iCalendar with the dates final payments are due with an alert. 

 - We build a ‘What to take’ on our ‘Reminders’ App as checklists. We add/subtract from previous cruises so it’s nice and up to date. I use Reminders for what to do prior to leaving home (what to turn off/reset/contact).

  - I don’t worry about changes to cruises and flights. My TA is quite professional and lets me know prior to getting the emails with changes, as she does with pricing and other ‘options’.  

  - I print out contact info for family, friends and neighbors but also give them my TA contact who is the best to work through with major issues. 

  - I buy a few$$ in local money to have on hand, then get the rest as needed when in towns. By the way, I bought some Romanian Leu we stil have after our Bucharest-Budapest cruise was CNX last year! 

 

Stuff such as that.

 

Den

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1 minute ago, Jim Avery said:

And banks in England and some other places will not accept a US $100.  Have to go to the money changers for cash.  We usually use our Chase debit card linked to a single account funded just for travel.  Only use debit card at a real bank ATM and have only been charged small fees, if any. 😎

We were VERY pleased during our two years as nomads with our Charles Schwab card. After retiring and needing somewhere to roll my 401k we opened an investment account with them which qualified us for a checking account. That account came with an ATM card that refunds all fees.  We have used it everywhere and never had an issue. All fees were refunded immediately save one. A bank in Barcelona told you they were charging a 3€ fee but rather than listing it as such, but on the statement showed we had withdrawn 103€ so Schwab couldn’t have known it was a fee to refund.  Given the excellent phone service on other issues, I suspect if I had of called and perhaps provided the printed receipt from the machine which showed the fee separately they would have refunded it. But I decided my time sightseeing rather than being on the phone was worth more than the three euros. 
 

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3 hours ago, Denny01 said:

We use iPads/MacBook:

  - We also save all docs as PDFs and put them in Books App

 

If the Books app works for you, more power to you.  As an Apply guy myself I would have to say there are much better apps for what you're doing.

 

I'm a former Evernote user who has since moved to DEVONthink.  Evernote used to be free and there are apps for just about every platform...and they all sync so your data is always up to date..  You should really take a look at it.

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2 hours ago, -Lew- said:

 

If the Books app works for you, more power to you.  As an Apply guy myself I would have to say there are much better apps for what you're doing.

 

I'm a former Evernote user who has since moved to DEVONthink.  Evernote used to be free and there are apps for just about every platform...and they all sync so your data is always up to date..  You should really take a look at it.

Thanks Lew. Will take a look. 
 

den

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Jim Avery said:

this all surely sounds complicated. 

 

To me the alternative is more complicated - not leveraging a way to organize details a beyond what a TA does for me. 

 

Using an online approach like Evernote or Google Drive creates unexpected advantages. 

Ex:  I paste in Room Tips from TripAdvisor into my hotel checkin Google Doc for a trip 6 months out.  Then, in the moment before checkin, I scan it and know what to request.  More often than not, I have a much better hotel experience because of this, even when staying in the same class of room.

 

If it weren't easy and fast to

1) Copy & paste bite-size pieces of info as I vacation plan in 30 min chunks of time (like tonight!) 

2) Search easily and Refer back to that info during the trip, in-the-moment.

Then yes, it would be more complicated. 

 

The other advantage is it lets me be more spontaneous during the trip. 

Of course I have a "Plan A" itinerary of excursions and fun things to do. 

But I also  have on Goog Drive several "Plan B" options that sound fun per day in case things change or I just feel like doing something else.  

 

Last time in Rome, I had a spare 3 hours on day of return flight.  I looked up in my handy Plan B online list and Carpe Diem'd to  https://www.catacombe.roma.it/en/index.php

 

My hotel said they could get me there and back in the time I had.  Upon arriving, I was invited to join a small group from a Catholic church in  Boston having a special tour by a priest.  It was an amazing experience. 

 

Edited by SempreMare
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I print every receipt from Viking and my TA that describes OBCs etc. and slip them in a thin folder that fits nicely into my computer bag.  Once onboard I have Guest Services print me a docking schedule for all the ports.  All I need.  Whatever you do beforehand is going to change somewhat in 4+ months, guaranteed.🍸  

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Posted (edited)

Reading the postings today leads me to the conclusion that we all choose whatever methods, tools, platforms, etc work for each of us. The complexities each of us chooses to employ is a personal choice. For one I do not do detailed packing lists - just a list of major things I don't want to forget.  Regardless - if whatever we do keeps us happy and sane - that's all that matters. Right? 😊

Edited by CharTrav
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11 hours ago, Jim Avery said:

I print every receipt from Viking and my TA that describes OBCs etc. and slip them in a thin folder that fits nicely into my computer bag.  Once onboard I have Guest Services print me a docking schedule for all the ports.  All I need.  Whatever you do beforehand is going to change somewhat in 4+ months, guaranteed.🍸  

 

I also print all my receipts and booking confirmations for tours, hotels, flights, etc which I stow in one of thos accordian file folders in chronological order. Fits nicely into my carry-on bag.

 

Since I haven't used a cell phone since retirement and don't use any clouds, so this is easier than dragging my laptop out.   For us it is probably the Mariner/Navigator thing, as while electronics are nice, you still need paper back-ups😀 

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16 minutes ago, Heidi13 said:

 

I also print all my receipts and booking confirmations for tours, hotels, flights, etc which I stow in one of thos accordian file folders in chronological order. Fits nicely into my carry-on bag.

 

Since I haven't used a cell phone since retirement and don't use any clouds, so this is easier than dragging my laptop out.   For us it is probably the Mariner/Navigator thing, as while electronics are nice, you still need paper back-ups😀 

While not at all averse to electronic helpers, I have yet to have use of any electronics, whether ashore or afloat, that will not, from time to time, "glitch" on you.  Hence the known solid data taken on paper. And just a reminder, most of all the information available about the WC details is a tentative proposal.  Massive changes between today and the day we arrive at any given port.  Ports will be missed, exchanged for other ports, arrival/departure times will change, berth assignments will change.  Excursions change daily once underway, so all this means is keep a weather eye out and be able to change plans often.  This is part of the excitement of a long trip......  Sort of like Naked and Afraid.....😳🍺😎

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Now hold on Jim-you aren't actually trying to compare being on a Viking ship where you can’t go more than 30 yards without having food and/or drink on offer, a comfortable bed which is regularly made up for you, daily clean towels, and use of a spa to what those folks on Naked & Afraid deal with are you?  😂
 

Or maybe I missed something and the WC has been chartered by a Naturalist group? 😱

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