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Longer term travel planning

I have been following a Youtube couple called the Retirement Travelers for the past year or so. They have started what they are calling a travel school and teaching people how to plan and organize their travel. I know many here are happy with various ones they use already, like Tripit etc. They tried those first, but Tripit gives them too much information, that is not needed. They are suggesting what they use and actually are doing a travel school on how to use it. Just check out Retirement Travelers on Youtube. I haven't used it yet, but it looks like it could be the travel planning software I might like. We will be traveling for extended periods soon and I really need to get away from printing out my word itinerary. Also, this software is FREE! The software is called Monday.com

Posted by
7024 posts

Tammy, that's sounds interesting. I've been using Wanderlog for my upcoming 6 week England trip and really like it a lot (more than TripIt) but I'm always curious about something new. Thanks!

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7024 posts

Coming back to say I watched the video and really liked it. I think this could be something I would use, although I would probably use it to supplement Wanderlog, rather than replace.

And actually, their YouTube channel is pretty cool and looks like it has a lot of good information. They mentioned how they decide upon and stick to a budget, so I might check out that one as well as some of their other videos. Thanks again, Tammy!

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15705 posts

This April will mark the 10 year anniversary of me being a full time traveler.

I use Tripit Pro. It does everything I need. It keeps me on schedule; monitors my transportation andalerts me to changes to flights, trains, etc.; it coordinates with my Google Calendar.

If I have tickets to something or a one day tour planned, it is in Tripit Pro. And that includes all confirmation information and pricing.

I can forward any emails I get regarding the above to Tripit and its automatically added to my trip.

I also use a planning calendar online that lets me plan my itinerary. I use color coding for hotels, flights, rental cars, etc so a quick glance will tell me if there is something I have to book.

Any notes I have are never printed out. I use a simple Note taking app.

The apps for Tripit, the calendar and the note taking app are next to each other on my phone. I have a separate page for all my travel apps and it's there.

I should also note that I have been playing around with Wunderlog and it's pretty good.

I watched the tutorial on Monday.com. I only use a phone so it was difficult to set up. I guess if you are really into spreadsheets you'll like it but it wasn't for me. Too much information and work to get everything done. Plus I like looking at an actual calendar to plan.

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7024 posts

Tammy, I really like it. I got the idea from Lane who has posted about it, but it really works for me. The basic version is free but I liked it so much I paid for a year (I think it was $40 or $45).

It has a feature where you can just forward your confirmation email from hotels/flights to an address and it auto loads it into your itinerary (free version - for the paid version, it auto-loads it when the email arrives). It also has suggestions for each city you visit, and it will optimize the travel between your various destinations so you are using the most efficient route (for both driving and walking). You can share it with a partner or anyone - either a non-editable version or one that someone else can also work on.

But the best part is that it shows every date of your trip, so you can add notes and activities and get the full picture of your plan. You can upload documents to each destination or sight (for example, I have uploaded small city maps or added links to additional information). Here's a photo of one day - as you can see, I entered some additional information there. You can add times, prices and so on, or when you get to a day and click on a particular site, it automatically links to the Wanderlog page, which has the web link, hours and so on.

Also Wanderlog will tell you if you the site you have added is closed on the day you put it in. That's a great feature that has helped me. The top of it has all the flights listed, hotels and lodging, rental cars and so on. Then as the hotels are entered, it immediately places them in the correct date, so it shows when you are checking into a place and when you are checking out.

I have a checklist at the top of "to do's", all my packing lists, separated by category, then you can add lists of restaurants and sites that you want to possibly visit but don't know what day. When you figure it out, you just move it down to the day you want.

I could go on, but I really do love it. I mostly created this trip on the website (because I'm a laptop person), but there is an app, and of course, I will be using that when I'm on the road.

Anyway, that's probably way TMI! But I do like that YouTube channel and look forward to watching more of thos!

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14280 posts

Thanks from me too, Tammy!! She did a good tutorial on the Monday spreadsheet. The next one that came up for me was Swedish death cleaning!! How did they know I still need to declutter from my parents’ home? It’s shoved in boxes in closets. Ugh…

Off to start dinner but I’ll finish it later!

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7464 posts

Tammy, thanks for sharing this! I’m always looking for ways people organize their trip planning & information. And also, Mardee, thanks for suggesting Wanderlog, including your photo!

I watched the Retirement Travelers video, and I liked how she walked through all of her steps in the process. I like seeing the needs of the person & how they solve it. It was very interesting to watch someone who as she said, doesn’t like Excel use a system that could be essentially very close to it. And having a background in engineering & project management, I relate much more with her husband.

I will go ahead & share my Excel spreadsheet tabs (she would call them boards) if anyone is wanting to set up something similar in either Monday.com or Excel. Where she uses two columns to convey info & status, I just consolidate that info into one because I’m color-coding it. For instance, any Afternoon Activity where I have a ticket purchased are highlighted in “green” in the Itinerary tab. Train tickets purchased are “green”. Those that need to be purchased are highlighted “yellow”. Paid hotels are highlighted “green”. Also, Sundays are highlighted “bright yellow” to avoid traveling by train, etc. on that day or maybe I should say to avoid waiting for a train on a Sunday - LOL!

Itinerary
Columns: Date, Cost, Hotel (incl address), Type of room, Last Day to Cancel, Day of Week, Morning activity, Afternoon Activity, Restaurants

Transportation
Columns: Date, Mode of Transportation, Departure, Destination, Midpoint Connections, Total hours, Train #, Car/Seat #, Train Ticket Code, Next train # if connection is missed.

To Do List - mainly for those museums where you need to wait until a certain date to buy a ticket.
Columns: Completed?, Task, City, Desired date of Event, Date 1st able to purchase, Comments, Price, Website (hyperlink)

Packing List
Columns: TSA bag, Item, Packed, Post-trip Comments

There’s also an “Expense Summary”, including pie charts.

Posted by
4003 posts

Ok, I went down the rabbit hole. I’ve watched a bunch of their videos and signed up for their newsletter. I have no desire to travel full time, but they are just so likable and really do have some good advice.

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7464 posts

Barbara, a great rabbit hole! I’m watching several more of their videos on other travel topics this afternoon. They’re all very well done!

Posted by
3363 posts

Glad folks are enjoying their videos! So many different ways to plan travel, I’m thinking my zoom travel group should have a session on it.

They are a very likable couple and do seem to sincerely want to help others get out and see the world. She was diagnosed with MS, so I like that they travel faster too because I have no desire to stay a month in one location. A week or two in each place is slow enough for me, but we are getting a late start in life too!

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8648 posts

I think the best system to use is the one that works for you! No one has a magic solution for everyone. I like that people have options to look at different systems and find the one that fits their travel/planning style.

I use Trip-It pro and it is a great fit for me.

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11368 posts

I will stay with TripItPro!
No spreadsheets needed, or wanted.

Posted by
4945 posts

I haven't watched the video, just glanced at the "Vacation Itinerary Template." My (former) work self says "that looks very efficient and helpful." My retired self says "that looks a lot like work."

But apart from that ....

I have this theory about my own trip management,. I started with simple Word documents, as it sounds like you have Tammy. And then I migrated to OneNote, plus an app on my phone to track my expenses as I travel, before uploading them into Quicken when I get home.

I've got so many trips in those tools that I will probably never switch to anything different. Even if it looks better. I do improve my own use of the tools I've chosen, but I love that I can go back and look at all of my "digital era" trips in a single place and a (fairly) consistent layout. I guess I'm "set in my ways" because the idea of changing tools makes me twitch.

I think you're smart to be looking at a new tool as you're embarking on longer trips and even more trips. And I would say, choose carefully because you might just find yourself "locked in" (hopfeully in a good way) and not wanting to change again down the road.

Posted by
206 posts

Thanks for posting this, Tammy. I will definitely check the links.

Frank II, like you, my brother prefers Tripit. I was sure I’d like it too, but to my dismay, I tried it, disliked it, and deleted it.

I use Google Docs, Sheets, iPhoto album titled with my trip name, and my iCalendar to keep organized, Gathering it seems wise. But like you, CWSocial, I don’t want to work too hard, either.

Yet the info needs to be organized, so I can see the appeal of apps like Wanderlog-great info, Mardee!
Thank you for posting the screenshot, I’m going to look at that again soon. It could be the answer.

Pam, I’ve been going through old stuff lately, starting the year off makes me realize how much has accumulated around here….good luck with yours!

Posted by
18827 posts

Maybe I will have a look at all of them. I've always just used a spreadsheet I built and google calender and put it and aĺ the tickets, etc in a folder in the cloud with a link on my phone. But this sounds interesting.

Posted by
200 posts

We've looked at different apps but still use google docs. Perfect for sharing. In the end, it's what works best for you.

We met the couple of retirement travelers at a museum in Spain (they were wearing their t-shirts). Very nice people

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930 posts

For clarification I started out using WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3 in the early 80's when the office PC revolution started. Also, I have watched a number of their videos over the last year and they are actually pretty good. The software works well for them in my opinion because they are not only traveling, but they are planning 1+ years of travel at any time, producing a blog, updating their instagram account and producing a weekly video video on youtube. Collaboration and a lot of planning on their part is imperative.

For my my wife and I use an Excel Spreadsheet and pdf files uploaded to Notes or OneNote. However, I will take another look at Tripit and Wanderlog and may experiment with them to see if they can. You can always teach an old dog new tricks. Except my wife still wants a hard copy of certain things when we travel.

Posted by
2252 posts

Tammy, thank you, I will check it out. Another vote for Wanderlog. I too have the paid version and it is really good. I used it for our 17 day trip last summer and it was spot on and so helpful. I am working on it now for another 2 trips.

Pam--LOL, I need that cleaning one! Almost a year ago we crammed as much of mom's stuff as we could into an SUV and drove it home. It is in our son's bedroom. Mostly untouched. The bed in there is covered with stuff from our Christmas Market trip a year ago as well as stuff from our Iceland trip last summer. I guess it's time to sift through that and put things away properly;)

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18827 posts

Ed, you and I are of the same generation, but I used MSWord instead of WordPerfect. But I hated changing from 123 to Excel. I have a MS cloud account and just park the trip there.

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3363 posts

I love hearing about people’s different methods of trip planning. I plan a day to day itinerary using Word, but it seems more tedious for the longer trip I am planning now. Obviously, there is not one way or one app that works for everyone. Just like travel itself.

Posted by
7464 posts

Tammy, thank you so much for posting this because it led me to try out the Wanderlog option Mardee mentioned!

Mardee, I loaded the framework of my upcoming trips into Wanderlog, and it’s easy to use. I love the visuals and of course, the map. I still like my Excel spreadsheet for the overall one look at train tickets and also the entire itinerary, but I will be using the Wanderlog as I glance at my day over breakfast.

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7024 posts

Jean, I'm glad you like it. I love the visuals, too - it's been so easy to arrange the itinerary for each day since I can see each place on the map that sits to the side. Plus you can add notes and links to websites to each place and upload documents (like tickets).

The best thing for me is that it is all in one place. When i tried to keep separate documents and spreadsheets, I would forget what was where, and lose info that I needed (of course, that's probably my chaotic brain, lol!).

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4945 posts

Mardee has been kind enough to offer to share her use of Wanderlog with us on an upcoming Zoom travel call. The thread is posted under Travel Group Meetings for our San Francisco East Bay Travel Group, where everyone is welcome.

If you'd like to see how Mardee puts Wanderlog to good use, please RSVP on the meeting thread:
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/travel-meetings/san-francisco-east-bay-travel-group-mar-9-2024-online-everyone-welcome