Trip Planning: Using OneNote to Stay Organized

For the first time, I’m actually jealous of SVV for having a PC, as his Office 365 suite has OneNote while mine doesn’t (it’s not yet available for the Mac, though it might be in the next year or so). Still, while planning my upcoming two-month European cruise—my version of a very extended “Spring Break” (even though I will be working)—I hopped on his desktop and started plotting out my voyage so he can keep a record of where I am at every moment until he joins me on our anniversary in Dublin. And even though my Mac won’t run the program, we can share our OneNote docs through SkyDrive, both on our web accounts and via our iPhones (so all is not lost!).

Using OneNote for trip planning

This was my first time using OneNote, which I assumed was only a note-taking device. Au contraire, I couldn’t have been more wrong! So to learn the ropes, I downloaded the travel notebook for a tutorial, which walked me through each tab and function step-by-step. You can add as many pages as needed to customize your own planning, but the travel form already had every list I wanted to lay out my 50 days at sea.

Using OneNote for trip planningIf you do a ridiculous amount of Internet research pre-trip as I do, you can drag pages, pictures or paragraphs of copy directly into the app and it will populate with the web address so you have it on file for reference.

Using OneNote for trip planningThere’s also a budget sheet (my least favorite part, ugh) that is Excel-like in that it will do the math for you and you can sketch out the amount you budget for each facet of your trip and then track how much you actually spent.

Using OneNote for trip planningFor obsessive list-makers like myself, you can create packing lists and check off the boxes as you stock your supplies (or grocery lists if you’re looking to use OneNote more for day-to-day purposes and less for travel).

Using OneNote for trip planning

Maybe the most useful function is the ability to keep a record of your scanned documents. I always have a copy of my passport and vaccinations saved on my travel laptop, but if that were stolen, I’d be SOL. I’m thus moving them over to OneNote, so I can access them via the web browser should I be stuck at some embassy overseas in a bind. (Let’s be honest, with my luck? It could so easily happen.)

Using OneNote for trip planning

OneNote can be used for many other purposes, such as tracking your finances, keeping tabs on your home remodel, etc., but for avid travelers, it’s definitely useful for simple organizational purposes. The only big drawback, as I already mentioned, is that Mac users can’t take advantage of it (yet). That will change soon, I hope!

Using OneNote for trip planning

What resource do you find most handy in keeping all your ducks in a row while you travel?

**This is part of an ongoing partnership with Microsoft Office in which I am given a one-year subscription to test out the features for the new Office 365 and figure out how they best apply specifically to travelers. Blog post topics and opinions are all my own.

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Comments ( 45 )

  1. OneNote looks super handy! Too bad I have a Mac as well, so I can’t take advantage right now. I think being able to keep my scanned documents, budget info, random research, and packing list all in one place would be nice. Though a packing list is always something I pretend like I’m going to follow, but ultimately I end up waiting until the last minute and throwing random things into my suitcase the night before I leave.

  2. If I had a PC, I’d be all over this! I love list-making ohsomuch.

  3. Ah! I love the idea of this.

    I use Evernote to plan recipes, blog posts, travel tips, etc – but it’s difficult to organize. The pure look/outline of this is PERFECT! :-)
    Julie recently posted..Katherine Gajewski: Q & A for Green Philly Women WeekMy Profile

    • I’ve never used Evernote–actually, this is my first time using any list-making app, as I’m typically more of an old-school pen-and-paper kind of girl!

  4. Hi Brandy
    OneNote is available for iPad and iPhone, and accessible from your Mac using OneNote Web app and SkyDrive. Yes, OneNote for your desktop is fuller-featured and it is coming for Mac. But a combination of these OneNote options will get you going and help you manage your lists and plans from your desktop and on the go.
    Darrell Webster recently posted..Office 2013 for a pre-upgrade 2010 Office 365 tenantMy Profile

  5. If you have a mac and want to run a PC, why not use a virtual machine? I do every day for the PC software I need, it works just fine.

  6. Oh! I love the feature that I can drag and save all various info I search online for the trip. Plus it looks so nice. I’m a visual person so I’m in love already. Will need to investigate more on this since we are a Mac family but we do have virtual machine. But I just hate switching back and forth to access window-only software. Are all these features you show available on the web version of OneNote?

  7. I also do an obsessive amount of pre-trip planning so this looks like a perfect tool for me. I LOVE that you can grab and paste website pages. Currently I’m printing out my resources, old school, so this could help me considerably!
    cosmoHallitan recently posted..Love Locks and Lovely Views at N Seoul TowerMy Profile

  8. Oh, I just installed OneNote onto my laptop last night and was wondering if I’d ever use it… so now I just might! I’m intrigued by your overnight trip from Le Havre to Paris though – it’s only about a two-hour drive.

  9. As a devoted and life long Mac user I cannot comprehend why a program would be developed only for PCs :) Get an apple friendly version running asap please, Microsoft!
    Alex recently posted..Photo of the Week 93My Profile

  10. I adore OneNote. I use it for everything. My favourite feature is the screenshot ability from any website. Saves me time copying images and url’s. Such great features. And they now have the highlighter and Send To from websites as well as Sub-tabs on the right wing. I could go on and on. I didn’t know they had these templates. I’ve made lots of travel ones myself but this makes this super convenient.
    Chrystal McKay recently posted..Shanghai’s Redeeming Factor: The Noodle LadyMy Profile

  11. My daughter uses OneNote for her school work but I had no idea that it could be used as a travel planning tool. I may have to try it out!

  12. hmmm..! this is very interesting! having a travel planner will help us organize our schedules and will not forget our important travels. I want to have this program as soon as possible.

  13. WoW! That’s a cool idea.

  14. That drag-and-drop of the web sites alone is priceless. I can think of a million ways to use that!
    Abby recently posted..My birthday gift to you!My Profile

  15. This tool seems great! I used OneNote when I was in college for actually taking notes, but this is so much cooler. My husband and I are planning a 12 month trip around the world where we’ll spend one month in a different country so this could be very useful. Thanks so much for the tips!
    Emily recently posted..Pregnancy After MiscarriageMy Profile

  16. I just use my iPhone notes to keep all my info and just started using the iPhone 5 Passport for tickets which is great, but One note looks much more dynamic. I hope it comes to Mac soon!
    Danee Sarman recently posted..I Love El Anatsui at the Armory ShowMy Profile

  17. This is a system after my list-loving little heart.
    Molly recently friday: a tale of two horsesMy Profile

  18. I’ve been loving my MacBook Air and didn’t think I was really missing anything when I got the new Office. Now I’m jealous, but it’s probably for the best – I’m sure I could lose hours making the perfect little travel notebooks.
    Emily in Chile recently posted..A taste of Boston historyMy Profile

  19. Hope this one’s available with Mac soon enough. It is summer here in our place and I am wait to be planning for my summer getaway. I’ll just use another tool instead.
    Jeremy Norton recently posted..How to Prevent VandalismMy Profile

  20. Organization is my biggest downfall but this sounds like a great program.
    Ayngelina recently posted..Making friends in PorvooMy Profile

  21. I used to use OneNote when I had my PC. Now that I’m Mac people I kinda miss it…

  22. Sounds like a very useful program, too bad not for OSX yet. Hopefully in the next year as you say. I’ve been using Catch Notes on our Android and it’s been ok, but nothing like the functionality of this. This might be a tool that will push me to plan more, I’m horrible at that.
    Pete recently posted..She Saw, He SawMy Profile

  23. Seems a very useful program, just heard of it. Usually I take notes on notebooks, just the points then I rewrite the whole story when I got back home. Here I say I’m not entirely nomadic. But I like this program, perhaps I’d give it a try. Thanks for sharing!


  24. I’ve heard a lot of good things about OneNote but have never used it for myself even though it’s on my phone. Thanks for the review!
    JoAnna recently posted..Top o’ the Mornin’ to You: Spending St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, IrelandMy Profile

  25. An excellent post. I have OneNote on my laptop but have never used it. I think I’m now going to be a OneNote addict, much to my boyfriend’s ‘Apple are the best’ despair
    Liz recently posted..Tops Tips when taking a Career Break VideoMy Profile

  26. This OneNote looks amazing! I recently went on Spring Break to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and wish I knew of this before I left! Before going on vacation, I find it so stressful making sure that you have everything you need. Days before the trip, I find myself making note after note and posting them all around the house. Too bad I have a Mac, because this tool seems too good to be true! If you are going on vacation why would you not want to have an application like this? Hoping they eventually come out with a user friendly app for the Mac because I would love to use this next year for my vacation to the Bahamas!

  27. As weird as this sounds, I use a combination of Excel spreadsheets, Pocket (use to be called Read-it-later), Dropbox, and the Notes app on my iPhone. Between all of these and the fact they they are all accessible from any device anywhere in the world. I dont have to worry about losing my itinerary if I left my phone on the bus or my laptop got stolen. I’ve always got my important documents with me.

  28. Can you help me get the onenote travel template? All the links I use just download office or onenote but I can’t find the travel notebook any\where



  1. […] Trip Planning: Using OneNote to Stay organized by Camels & Chocolate: Krisin explained a good tool you could use to organize your trip. I didn’t know that you can do things like that with OneNote […]

  2. […] Trip Planning: Using OneNote to Stay organized by Camels & Chocolate: Krisin explained a good tool you could use to organize your trip. I didn’t know that you can do things like that with OneNote […]

  3. […] without a travel itinerary and wishing I’d just printed one out before I left. Now, I keep all my OneNote and Excel files in SkyDrive, and they’re automatically accessible on my phone in case I’m […]

  4. […] without a travel itinerary and wishing I’d just printed one out before I left. Now, I keep all my OneNote and Excel files in SkyDrive, and they’re automatically accessible on my phone in case I’m […]

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