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Get Organized! How to use Evernote to make trip planning easy

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With summer not far away, plans are being made for that family trip. A successful trip takes planning. Moreover, a successful trip also requires some way to keep up with all the details.

Maybe you're a three-ring-binder person. With a sturdy hole-punch, a ream of paper, a printer, and a large-ring loose-leaf notebook, you have a place for everything. For those who would like to save paper, ink, and time, you may be in the market for a digital alternative. My recommendation is Evernote.

Let’s get started

Start by creating a free account on your computer. Go to Evernote.com. Download the mobile app to your phone and log in. All the Evernote information on the computer and phone will stay synced.

In the pencil-and-paper world, a notebook is a logical place to keep related information. A notebook serves the same purpose in Evernote. Click on "Notebooks" and "New." Name the notebook with your destination, something like "Grand Canyon 2020."

Click to add a new note to the notebook the same way you would insert a piece of loose-leaf paper into a binder. Key in a checklist. Copy and paste an itinerary. You have a single place for everything related to the trip. It's all available from both the computer and phone.

Start saving information with the Web Clipper

As you plan the trip, you see attractive articles on the Internet. Had the article been in a magazine, saving it would mean grabbing a pair of scissors to clip the article for inclusion in a three-ring notebook. The digital equivalent is a handy tool called the "Evernote Web Clipper." It's a free browser extension. Once installed, it looks like a small, green elephant head.

While on the desired Internet page, click the Web Clipper. Click "Save." You're done. The entire webpage is now saved in Evernote.

Forward emails

Your planning includes reserving hotels and air travel. As those confirmations arrive, send them to Evernote. A free Gmail add-on handles the process. For those who upgrade to Evernote Premium, Evernote supplies an email address. Forward the email to that address and it winds up in Evernote. From there, drag the newly-created note into the correct notebook.

Copies of receipts

Tired of keeping up with little pieces of paper? Open Evernote on your phone and create a new "camera note."  When you snap the picture, it goes straight to Evernote. From there, add any explanation to that note as desired. Drag it to the appropriate notebook. Every word or number in that receipt becomes searchable even though it's part of a picture.

Speaking of taking photos, why not create a camera note and snap a picture of your passport and driver's license? If you lose your wallet or purse, at least you have a digital copy. Lose your phone? Log into your Evernote account from any computer that has Internet access.

Sharing is easy

With a couple of clicks, you can share the entire notebook with another family member. Grant another person the rights to view only or to view, add, and make changes to anything in the notebook. That makes Evernote much more portable and easily shareable than the three-ring binder.

One tip...before the trip begins, designate the notebook as "offline." That way, the full contents of the notebook downloads to your phone. Even if you are somewhere without Internet access, the notebook will be available.

By the way, I am composing the draft of this article in Evernote. Most of it was done on my computer. But ideas occurred while I was on the go. All I had to do was pull out my phone, open the note, and add my thoughts. 

Frank Buck is the author of Get Organized!: Time Management for School Leaders. "Global Gurus Top 30" named him #1 in the Time Management category for 2019, 2020 and 2021. Dr. Buck speaks throughout the United States and internationally about organization and time management. You can reach him through his website: FrankBuck.org. Follow him on Twitter @DrFrankBuck.