Monday, June 20, 2011

Using Google Docs for Travel Plans

When you are planning a trip or vacation, it can be a daunting task to keep up with all the information that you need in the way of travel papers.  I often use Google Docs to coordinate information between family members, that may also be going on the same trip, or as a means to leave itineraries and necessary contact info for those who remain behind.

Normally, I just create a spreadsheet from scratch, entering my itinerary or upload a copy of an itinerary that I have received from a travel agent.  Today, I thought I would search the myriad of templates available on Google Docs for some that might be useful for this sort of information.  It is always nice to find a good template, that has been thought out, to just use as a place to put the information.

Today I started searching the templates, page by page, and then realized that there was a search box at the top of the Google Docs template page that allowed me to enter the word Travel  to narrow the possibilities.  I came across this nice template, that will certainly be easy-to-read and provide a means to create most travel itineraries.  

Another great thing about using templates and Google Docs for your travel planning is that you can easily Share with others, allowing them not only to see the information, but also to edit the information in the situation where there are multiple members attending the same events.  Many times my family and I set up a packing list, just as a reminder to all going on the trip to remember all the important things like: electronic gadgets, charging apparatus, batteries, passports, and such.  When you share a document like a list, then you can not only provide valuable information for others, but you can also find information on items that you might not have remembered.

I also like to scour the internet for maps of areas, descriptions and free online guides for cities and sites we might visit, as well as, suggested things to do or see, with directions or phone numbers.  These often come in handy.  I often email them to my iMap account ( and then I will have access to them on my iPhone or iPad, even while on the plane, train, or in the car, when I am not using wifi or 3Gs connections.  Since, we travel overseas, it is not always economical to pay large download and roaming fees to access this type of info off my mobile devices.  So, I make sure I have info available in a form that I can access, either in an email or downloaded prior to the trip to my iBooks or GoodReader apps for reading offline.

If you haven't tried out Goggle Docs, you should it is a great way to keep everything together in one place when planning a trip.  You can share the info with others, edit it, and download the results to access later.

Of course, there are a myriad of ways to use Google Docs, this is only one of ways that has proven useful for keeping my travel papers in a handy place.


Bobbie Wild said...

Hello, Granny Joan.

I am traveling with extended family (total of 8 people) and found your recommendation whilst looking for a travel itinerary template. I think I understand how to use the google docs but I am curious about how to use iMap so that I can avoid the roaming fees and/or not have to worry about whether or not I have internet access to the itinerary. I have an iPhone and an iPad. As you may have guessed, I am not so tech savvy. I appreciate any help you can provide to me.

Sophia said...

This is the most useful thing I've found in a long time. Thanks!!

Granny Joan said...

Bobbie Wild, a great solution for using maps on your ipad or iPhone is an app called CityMaps2Go I turn off data roaming and data download on my iPhone while traveling, but when I am in cities where I want to use a map, I use citymaps2go. I download the map of the city usually the night before while I have wifi in my hotel room or coffee shop (preferably free). When I go out in the city the next day, I turn on my iPhone and use the GPS satellite reception in the iPhone and the map I downloaded from citimaps2go, along with the app to navigate while touring the city. You can aso access points of interest like restaurants, etc. it works great and gives me the added security of which way to walk if I get confused while out and about. No charges incurred if data roaming and data download are OFF on your iPhone. My ipad doesn't have the GPS satellite capability, but at least I can have a map along with me for the city area I'm walking around. Hope this helps.

Granny Joan said...

Thanks Sophia!