OneNote takes the stress out of holiday planning


Here’s an interesting dose of irony for you. I’m the co-founder of one of the most successful travel blogs in the world – YTravel. I’ve been living and travelling around the world since 1997. Yet, I’m not great at travel planning.

I have pathetic organisational skills and I’m a ‘let’s just jump in the tube and enjoy the float down the river’ kinda gal. I decide where I’m going next; I race around a few days before to get insurance, visas, and money; I throw my suitcase together the night before; then I arrive at my destination and say, ‘OK, whaddya got for me?’

Now I travel with kids and for business, I need more structure and organisation to help balance my sanity.

We’re currently planning for a United States road trip – the epic one-to-two year kind.

Everything is a lot more complicated – from visas, to transport, to work relationships and home-schooling. To add an extra layer of complexity, we’re asking our community to shape our journey with their insider tips.

That’s a lot of information to gather. I’ve got notes scribbled on bits of paper scattered throughout the house and in various files on my computer I can’t find.

Ben from Microsoft showed me how he organises his travel planning using OneNote – a program that is part of Microsoft 365, but quietly sits on my computer unloved.

Now, it’s stepping out into the limelight.

I was surprised at how effortless it was, how easy to quickly categorise your information, create checklists, copy things directly from the internet, especially our reader’s tips.

How I’ve been using OneNote for travel planning

1. Create a notebook called ‘Travel’

2. Create a section called ‘US Travel’

3. Create pages for each relevant part of the travel planning process




4. Clip, paste or add in relevant notes or information

5. Create checklists of things to be done

Let me show you how it’s been working in action …

Organising visas

Visas are complicated for the US when it involves a more permanent stay. We’ve had correspondence with an immigration lawyer who has sent us a lot of information and processes. Going back to that email thread is a headache.

With Microsoft’s Office 365’s OneNote, I clipped the information and sent it directly to the visa page in OneNote.

OMG! Now I know where it is at all times.






Research from OneNote and clip articles

You can research online directly from the notes you are putting into OneNote.

Highlight the text on your page, right click and select ‘Look Up’ and it will return searches via Bing from within the app.

Click on the link and then if you want to include it in your research, you can add the article, or clippings of it, into your OneNote page.

Using Internet Explorer, you can right-click, or there is a Google Chrome extension you can install and then you just click that to send it to your One Note.

Hugely valuable to use during your research to keep everything in place.





It sends it to its own page within your section, which you can then turn into a sub-page.




Collecting tips from others

While I was writing this post (in the pub, watching the Super Bowl) I met a couple who’d just been to the US and they gave me some tips for booking a tour of New York.

I added it straight away into my OneNote page for travel tips. Usually, that would be filed away in the memory bank never to be recovered. OneNote has an app so if you only have your phone, you can add tips on the fly and it will sync to your other devices.




Final thoughts

Microsoft Office 365’s OneNote makes travel planning easier and super useful for organisation.

I like how everything is cleanly organised into one notebook.

I love how easily you can screen clip and add things into the Notebook and how it syncs across devices.

I think I have found the solution to a scattered travel-planning brain and I’m excited to see how this helps shape our travel trips from now on.

Irony be gone.