Traveling organizing resources - for the visually inclined, with a pinch of mapping
January 8, 2012 10:07 AM   Subscribe

[TravelFilter] What are your best tools for regrouping/organizing clips and ideas of places to visit or things to do when traveling? Are there any good visual-based sites/apps for doing so?

The ideal solution for me would be something along the lines of Pinterest (for the visual aspect, capacity to link from different websites, and regroup your elements according to different categories) mixed with Padmapper or Google My Maps (though from my experience My Maps is limited to places already indicated in Google Maps; also, what I like about Padmapper is the ability to differentiate different places according to color codes).

I've seen this when going through previous threads, which is only an iPhone app (something web-based seems to be more practical for heavy information processing), but apart from that, nothing.

The visual, "scrapbook" aspect is more important to me than the geo-tagging, but basically I'd like a way to get a good overview of different ideas of things to do without having to go through a list and click through tons of links and everything.

I've thought about Evernote, but I find it to be a bit too textual.

Context: I'll be studying in Japan for 5 months, in the Tokyo area, and I'm planning of traveling/doing stuff quite a lot when I'm there. I'm more of an impulsive person, so I don't like "planning" per se (I'm not doing an itinerary of what I'll be doing all this time, would drive me nuts), but I'd like to have an easy to consult inspiration source from things I've gathered for ideas of things to do.

So: anything magical like that exist? Any other good ideas?

(Oh, I'm on Mac OS Lion + Mac iOS 5.1)
posted by kitsuloukos to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
A Tumblr log is one answer. Under the Chrome Store apps is one called Bundlr, which might be worth a look.

I cannot figure out what you mean by saying Evernote is "too textual". Like any application, it collects what you give it. It does nicely for combinations of text and graphics.
posted by yclipse at 11:32 AM on January 8, 2012

I really like Evernote for this, and I also make my own Google Map folders with points of interest marked.
posted by matrushka at 11:48 AM on January 8, 2012

yclipse: by Evernote is too textual, I mean that for browsing between things, it is very text-based (no way to just have an overview of different pictures all in the same spot from which you can navigate)
posted by kitsuloukos at 11:55 AM on January 8, 2012

Have you tried Springpad?
posted by quoththeraven at 12:11 PM on January 8, 2012

Heh. I have wrestled with this because I used to travel a lot for work and I'd suddenly need to find something fun to do in, like, Bangalore or Bangor. See my AskMe history for proof of my occasional panicking. This isn't specifically about images, but maybe it'll give you an idea.

I got in the habit of bookmark folders/subfolders by region (I have a folder called 'Berlin' inside a folder called 'Europe'), which when combined with some good bookmark syncing (I use XMarks, but anything will do) has helped me a lot.

So when I was suddenly going to San Francisco, I'd already have my folder of dozens of things to do in SF that I'd collected over the years. Worked great.

These days I travel mainly my partner, mainly for fun instead of work. But I'm still in the bookmarking habit, and now I sometimes browse through all this stuff looking for somewhere we can go on a little trip. Works great for this, too.

If I wanted something very visual, I would use one of those little visual bookmark makers to turn screenshots of all those pages into some sort of grid layout. But I'm happy with folders. If you really want pictures you could use the habit I just described, but bookmark photographs rather than webpages. Or download them to your own folder nest.
posted by rokusan at 12:31 PM on January 8, 2012

I don't have a lot of experience with Dopplr, but I think it might be helpful to you.

I use google docs, google maps and tagzania. I like tagzania because I can tag POI's instead of just filing them in folders. I use google My Maps as a supplement because it's easier to use those maps on my phone.

For what it's worth, Google's My Maps will let you add an arbitrarily located spot. If you already have a map, click "edit." Then click on the placemarker icon. It's in the map pane. It's in the upper left corner.
posted by stuart_s at 12:43 PM on January 8, 2012

I used OneNote just recently when planning a trip thru Spain. Not sure if that's something that works well from a Mac environment, but I did use it on my PC laptop, via iPhone App and Skydrive.

What I liked was a few things: ability to create sections and pages by city/activity type (sights, food, transpo, accommodation, etc.), that when I found something online I liked I copy/pasted the page and onenote included the URL automatically, that as I started booking things I could print my receipts and confirmations to onenote, and also that I was able to keep my info locally and able to access at any time, but that via Skydrive was able to access while traveling without the laptop.
posted by dismitree at 1:40 PM on January 8, 2012

Thanks for the answers so far, not exactly what I'm looking for but the did give me some helpful ideas and hints.
I might give Springpad a try, but it seems very similar to Evernote... Dopplr seems amazing but I think their website is glitching, I can't sign up! Thought about giving tagzania a try but a think it might be very similar to cartographer so I'll see, might try cartographer first. OneNote also seems very similar to Evernote.
I tried the bookmarking thing for some time a while ago, and it just wasn't working for me... Kind of too "list-like", again.

Anything else?
posted by kitsuloukos at 3:33 PM on January 9, 2012

Jumping back in to suggest two other Mac apps: Growlybird's Notes (free) and Zengobi's Curio (paid).
posted by yclipse at 12:28 PM on January 15, 2012

Thank you everybody! In case anyone is curious, or someone in the future comes back here to look for ideas, I decided to go with a private Tumblr. Looks good, and I've made pages with subsections linking back to certain tags (art, hiking, different names of cities, etc.). Only thing I find annoying is the tag suggestion on Tumblr doesn't work half the time so I have to remember the precise term I used or refer to my index pages, and the search option is a real joke (is it disabled for private blogs?).
Apart from that, gives me a nice, quick, overview of things according to places I want to go to or type or things I want to do (I chose a simple multi-column grid template, with a bit of tweaking), either textually or with pictures.
It's also pretty quick and straightforward to copy/paste stuff from the net with the Tumblr toolbar button. Overall I think it's pretty much what I was looking for.

Actually, inspired me to start another private blog with all those recipes I find that I keep wanting to try but forget about in my bookmarks, with course type/ingredient categorizing too (kind of got carried away)... That's also working out well in a yummy way.
posted by kitsuloukos at 10:02 PM on March 7, 2012

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