OneNote as personal travel guide: Discovering places

When you know where you want to travel you can start with gathering information. This is time consuming process and I start with this as early as possible. This step in process produces a lot of information and you need some good way how to organize it so you don’t get lost. It’s easy for short trip to somewhere but when you plan to move around about week the situation is totally different. Let’s see how OneNote can help you out here.

Gathering information

Here are some information sources you will use often:

  • search engines like Google and Bing,
  • travel pages like TripAdvisor and WikiTravel,
  • Wikipedia
  • friends and colleagues who have been before where you go.

Of course, you can find also a lot of travel guides and books from internet and local book stores.

Anatomy of trip

To keep things simple and close to OneNote I draw out the simple diagrams that shows you basic information structure I’m using. Mapping these structures to OneNote is simple. I’m using two models:

  • trip to one country,
  • trip to more than one country.

Trip to one country

For trip to one country I use the following mapping:

  • all cities or regions are in one section,
  • all places or cities are in separate sections.

Most often works the model where cities are all in same section and for every city there is separate page. Of course, you can combine things the way you like. If some other model works better for you then take it and use it.

Trip to more than one country

For trip to more than one country I use the following mapping:

  • there is separate section for every country,
  • separate page for every city I plan to visit in country.

Here is the example from OneNote. ll tabs (sections) from second one are for countries on my route. On right you can see two places in Moldova.

The first tab is there for general information. We don’t stop on it right now as this is the topic of next post in series.

Organizing informartion

As you may possibly get a lot of information about places then you must organize it so you can still handle it. If the amount of information grows over you head you get stuck and you will lose a lot of time just to go through all pieces you have.

For every city you need information about:

  • affordable hotels/hostels/motels/apartments to stay,
  • public transportation (often way cheaper than renting a car),
  • sightseeing offerings,
  • pubs and restaurants to visit,
  • attractions
  • something for kids

And for different countries you will possibly gather information about their culture, economy, prices and so on.

As I suggested before then create a page for every city and gather information there.

The screenshot above is example about how I organize information. I just gather links, categorize them and add short note about every link so I don’t get lost easily.

Some more pages

If you want to try national kitchen and local drinks when you go somewhere then you need some additional pages to your note book:

  • beers,
  • strong alcohol,
  • food.

Here’s my Czech trip beer list taken from some beer site:

Don’t do it alone

If you are going with friends or family then don’t carry this cross alone – it’s a lot of work. Include also all other guys to this step. You can save your note book to SkyDrive and share it with other people who are coming to trip. To those who help you with getting trip planned you can share your note book in edit mode.

To all other guys who are not part of organizing work you can share note book in read-only permissions. This way they can also see what’s going on and it makes it for you a lot easier to keep people on track.


Congratulations! You have gone through one of most time consuming parts of every good trip – discovering and gathering information. After some experimenting you should be able to be way more effective than before and as you know how to include your friends to trip planning early on I am sure you will get way better trips than before.

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