Vacation-planning tools?
January 15, 2023 8:58 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone suggest tools for planning a vacation? I want to do thing like collect ideas, plot locations on a map, keep a budget, etc. Online or MacOS is preferred over mobile.

Last time I used a text file and occasionally a calculator, but I want to be able to embed links & images, too. I also want to have a map or two that I can generate from pasted addresses, and a way to compare different options.

This trip will be a big deal for our kids (age 15-24), and I want to be well-organized so I don't flail.

Some details: Paris, the week after December 2023, three generations of family, 8 people, moderate budget, prefer an apartment or house to multiple hotel rooms, I have been there a few times in the 1990s, and I have a longtime friend living in the city.
posted by wenestvedt to Travel & Transportation around Paris, France (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I usually use google docs (with said embedded images and links) and then often also create my own google map to plot places of interest and so forth. It also makes it easy to share an itinerary or ask people for feedback (through comments)
posted by raccoon409 at 9:15 AM on January 15, 2023 [5 favorites]

Technically a self-link but my company Felt might answer your mapping needs. For the other stuff, GDocs 100%.
posted by migurski at 10:23 AM on January 15, 2023

This isn't really what you're looking for, but in case it helps others I've been using inspirock for planning a multi-city trip. It's nice for adding a bunch of locations and figuring out the itinerary and the travel logistics between stops.

It also auto-fills suggestions for activities (Eiffel Tower at noon, Louvre at four) which I mostly ignore.

Otherwise I use Evernote (just because I use it for so many other things), but otherwise I'd likely do it in Google Docs.

Lastly, I use Google calendar for things I need to do at certain times (planes, trains, etc.). I populate the calendar entries with all the important things I'll need at the time, like PDFs for tickets (don't rely on weblinks if you can help it in case of connectivity failures), flight numbers, addresses, etc.

Also I've seen some folks use Google maps for keeping track of where they're going/want to go by saving lists of pinned locations.

Hope this helps!
posted by DrumsIntheDeep at 11:35 AM on January 15, 2023 [1 favorite]

I tried Notion for my last trip. It works as webpage or app, and looks nice on mobile. It's a bit more effort, but the nice thing is that it'll sort/filter by date, so you only see the details for day X of the trip. It looks polished and streamlined for the other people on your trip.
posted by dum spiro spero at 11:48 AM on January 15, 2023 [2 favorites]

It’s been a few years (thanks COVID) but I’ve used Trello to keep track of complicated or important trips with a lot of success (I bring up the timeframe mostly because I’m not sure what they’re charging for at this point - I’ve never paid to use the site but there’s definitely a paid version). It’s not specifically designed for this and you have to find all of the content outside of the Trello site, but what I do is create a “board” for each trip and then have a separate list for each day. Under the day I’ll paste links for where I’m staying, potential activities I’d like to fit in, places to eat, etc. Of course you can write your own notes as well, which would constitute another card. On mapping, I haven’t found a better option than building a route in google maps and then pasting the url into Trello, which allows you to go back to it anytime.

For example, to keep everything orderly, you could make the first card on each day’s list the link to wherever you’re staying that night. Then links to that day’s potential or confirmed activities, then places you’ve scoped out to eat, then a note you type yourself allocating the amount you’ll spend that day, then a link to a Google map route you’ve created to get between all the places involved. Scroll sideways a tick to see the list of the same things for the following day.
posted by exutima at 3:46 PM on January 15, 2023 [1 favorite]

I use google sheets and create a vaca map in google maps.

For the spreadsheet, I usually have a few tabs:
-places to go list, including opening days/hours to plan general itinerary
-flights/other travel information, and lodging
-packing list
posted by DoubleLune at 7:14 PM on January 15, 2023 [1 favorite]

I've planned my last few trips on Wanderlog which worked well for itineries and maps. Not tried the budgeting aspect of it though
posted by Faff at 12:36 AM on January 16, 2023 [1 favorite]

I've been using Google Travel (the only thing it can't do on your list is add photos). But you can add notes, and link to pretty much anything online.
posted by jennypower at 6:34 AM on January 17, 2023 [2 favorites]

I use Google Docs and then make sure I download the doc to my phone so everything is available if I have no cell service, which is common on our camping trips.
posted by COD at 6:54 AM on January 18, 2023 [1 favorite]

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