I’ve been using Evernote for a couple of years now, and it seems to be one of those applications that becomes more valuable with regular usage. It took a while to get into the habit of using it, but has now become a key part of my daily routine. It is a bit of a ‘Swiss Army knife’ app, with something for every occasion … and you don’t even need to remember to store it in your checked luggage.
Here are five ways that I use Evernote when I’m travelling.
Replacing a notepad
Easily my most regular use of the app, I take notes of some sort on it nearly every day. With my phone always in my pocket it takes less time to start the app and start typing than it does to find a paper and pen. Everything from shopping lists to book recommendations, phone numbers to blog post ideas and a whole lot more, goes into a new or existing note.
I can get fancy with formatting – check boxes, headings, whatever – if I want to, but most of the time I just dash out a couple of lines of text to refer to later and carry on. Invaluable.
Saving copies of travel documents
While I use Tripit to manage and view my bookings, a feature that app lacks is to attach copies of documentation. Flight and train confirmations, event tickets, warranty information – the list is endless. Instead I use Evernote.
Saving a PDF or other file couldn’t be simpler from either my phone or laptop, and using tools like ScanToPDF I can even scan (via my phone’s camera) a paper document like a passport or physical ticket.
Having these documents at my fingertips – even when I don’t have internet – has saved my skin more than once.
Taking screenshots of maps
Now that I can cache a section of Google Maps on my Android phone I don’t need to save map screenshots very often, but I used to do it all the time. A screenshot of the area around my next guesthouse, the route from the bus station, the central city – whatever I thought I might need.
It’s no replacement for a real mapping application, but I’ve used it to find my way ‘home’ more times than I care to remember…
Clipping guesthouse info (and everything else)
I often travel without a guidebook these days, especially in regions like Europe or Southeast Asia that I know well. Instead I turn to the internet, tracking down guesthouse, attraction and transport recommendations as I need them.
Of course a guidebook is not just the information it contains – it’s also a way of accessing it. I replicate that with the Evernote Web Clipper. By clicking the little green icon in my browser, the current web page is saved to the Evernote servers to be later synchronised with my phone. It only takes a few seconds, and I can easily tag the page by type, country or anything else for filtering as required.
Once I started doing this it became second nature, and is now my primary way of storing the dozens of little pieces of information needed to make travel successful.
Keeping a list of my pack contents
As I was throwing stuff in my backpack before I boarded the plane six months ago, I took a few minutes to note down every item in Evernote. How many pairs of socks, the contents of my first aid kit, a list of gadgets, whatever. It was a bit of a hassle and I was dubious as to whether it would be useful, but it has turned out to be valuable in two ways.
Firstly, I can do a quick check that I have everything when getting my laundry back or checking out of a room. I lose less stuff, because I know at a glance what I should have. Secondly it has been very useful for replacing consumable items like the stuff in my first aid kit. I just check the box beside each item I need to replace and then find a chemist store. Couldn’t be easier.
What do you use for keeping track of your life on the road?
Image via Johan Larsson