Today’s post is a little more tech heavy than my usual posts, but I wanted to share with you some of the strategies I use to keep organized when planning my travels.
Beware: nerdy ‘how to’ post ahead.
I love using Google Drive for all my trip planning because it’s really easy to keep organized. The data is all online, so you have access to it wherever you have the internet, and you can even share documents and entire folders of documents with others, which is great if you’re trying to plan a trip with somebody else and organize all your information in one spot.
The Basics of Google Drive
If you’ve never used Google Drive before, you might not know where to begin. Thankfully, if you’ve used the internet (which I assume anybody reading this blog has), and you’ve ever used Microsoft Office products (Word, Excel, etc.) then you already have all the skills necessary. Here is how to get set up:
- You’re going to need a Google Account in order to get started. Go to https://www.google.com/drive/ and select ‘Go to Google Drive’. You will be taken to a login form where you can either log into your existing Google account if you have one, or you can set up a new one by selecting the ‘Create Account’ link.
- Once you’ve done that, you should be logged in and ready to access your Google Drive. It will look like this:
- In order to create a new document or folder, simply click on ‘New’ and then select what you want to create.
As a guide, here is what everything is:
Folder: New folder with which to organize your files.
File upload: You can upload PDFs, Excel Spreadsheets, Word documents, and more.
Folder upload: You can also upload entire folders full of documents.
Google Docs: This is roughly equivalent to a Microsoft Word document.
Google Sheets: This is roughly equivalent to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
Google Slides: This is roughly equivalent to Power Point.
- Another thing you can do that is pretty neat is you can share documents with other people. This is great for sharing travel plans, spreadsheets, etc. Anybody with access to the document can either view or edit the document, depending on what access level you give them. All documents are set to give you access only as a default, so everything is private until you’ve shared it. If you share an entire folder with somebody else, any new documents created within that folder will be automatically shared with the person you shared the folder with. This is great for collaborating with your travel companions. A few notes on sharing the documents:To share, all you need to do is right click on the document or entire folder you would like to share. Then select ‘Share’.
- Then just put in the email address of the person you want to share the document with and select the level of access you would like to give them. You can also add a note if you would like. Then just click ‘Send’. That’s it! You’ve shared the document.
Some ideas on what you can do in Google Drive…
You can create and upload all kinds of documents into Google Drive. I like to use it as a place to keep everything in one place and organized. I like to keep documents with ideas on things I would like to do, a layout of my general schedule (fly in Tuesday, we’re going to do this thing on Saturday, don’t forget that dinner reservation on Monday, we’re going to drive to the next town on Wednesday…that sort of thing), and any important information I might need (such as laundromats near my hotel, a list of restaurants my cousin told me were good, etc.). Really you can keep documents on anything you think might be useful.
Remember, you can also upload things so if you got a flight confirmation PDF and a hotel reservation PDF you want to keep track of, you can definitely upload them to your Google Drive folder.
Different trips require different packing lists, but I wanted to share with you the template I use as a general “all purpose” packing list to get me ready for any trip. I use this basic template I created as a starting off point, and then I adjust the list to fit the trip I’m going on. For instance, if I’m traveling to a beachy island, I’m going to add my GoPro, my swimsuit, a towel, and snorkel gear to the list. If I’m going on a winter snowboarding trip, my snow clothes is definitely going on the list, and I might skip the sandals. Still, it’s nice to have a basic packing list ready to go at any time that is easily copied and modified by need.
I like keeping one of these in my Google Drive folder for the trip as well. This helps me remember to do things leading up to the trip. Here is an example of that:
Do you use Google Drive to help with your trip planning? What sorts of things do you use it for? Hopefully you’ll find this information helpful. Happy Travels!