Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Pack Information on an iPod Touch
Freda Cameron (aka DefiningYourHome)
There was a time when I carried a file folder full of printed paper documents with me on a trip. You know the ones - airline itineraries, apartment rental information, sights to see, etc. It was cumbersome and difficult to leaf through when I was looking for a specific page. Worse, if I dropped the folder, pieces of paper went flying in all directions and my careful organization was lost! Taking along books to read on the flight also weighed down my carry-on bag.
Along came the iPod Touch and my information became more organized and my bag became lighter. The iPod Touch allows me to carry my favorite music and Kindle-formatted books so I can lighten the load even further. And, I have Wi-Fi access when in hotspot locations. There are even more iPod applications for travelers. In short, I never leave home without it!
For my travel notes examples, I am using a MacBook and an iPod Touch 2G. An iPhone may also be used. If using a PC, look for similar ways to capture and store the same information as I use in my MacBook examples.
This is the iPod Touch screen with AIR SHARING and KINDLE installed
File Sharing Software
First of all, you'll need an inexpensive piece of software to share files between your Mac and the iPod. I use software called Air Sharing that is available for $4.99 and downloadable from the iTunes Store. This little package allows you to "connect" your iPod to your Mac or PC through Wi-Fi, so you don't even need a cable to connect the two devices. The Air Sharing software is easy to install on your main computer, and then follow the easy instructions to connect to the IP address of your iPod. If you use dynamic IP allocation (DHCP), then the IP address can change every time you connect. You can launch Air Sharing on the iPod to see the correct IP address to use each time. Once connected, you can use FINDER to drag your travel folders from your Mac to the iPod Touch.
I recommend that you create a folder on your Mac or PC to save all information in one location. For example, you could name your folder "PARIS_2010" and store all information about your trip in that folder. You can create subfolders within the main folder. Organization is up to you, but when visiting Paris, I created a main folder called "TRAVEL2009" with subfolders based upon the neighborhood such as Marais, Ile Saint-Louis, etc. Within each subfolder, I stored restaurant reviews and mini-maps to shop how to walk to the restaurants. Think about how you will use your information and organize your folders before you copy to your iPod.
This is how the Marais subfolder looks on the Mac using FINDER
This is how the Marais subfolder looks on the iPod using AIR SHARING
Creating Mini-Maps to Restaurants (or other places)
I found it very useful to create little mini-maps of restaurants. For example, we wanted to go to Las du'Falafel in the Marais neighborhood. I went to Google Maps and obtained walking directions from our apartment to the restaurant. I then used the screen capture capability on my Mac to create a .png file of each little map. This was well worth the effort to create each map! Not only did I have the address of the restaurant, but I had a nice little map on my iPod. I turn my iPod sideways and expand the view to make it easier to read. Of course, you can use the screen capture capability for anything of your screen, not just maps.
To Create the Mini-Map "Picture" from a Mac screen:
Simultaneously - Press the Command key while also pressing the Shift key, and the number 4 key. (COMMAND + SHIFT + 4) Crosshairs will appear. Stretch those crosshairs around the section of the screen that you want to store.
The "picture" will automatically be stored on your desktop and named picturex.png. You can move the "pictures" to your travel folder and give it a more descriptive name (such as Las_Du_Falafel_Map).
Example of Map Walking Route
Saving Website Views as Files
Not only did I want to store a mini-map of the restaurants, but I also wanted to store the restaurant review. This came in very handy so that my husband could read the review while we were in Paris. Other useful website images to store may include transportation schedules, museum pass information, foreign language translations for menus, travel tips, etc.
I use Safari as my web browser. With Safari, you can store an image of the website so that you don't have to be on a Wi-Fi connection to view the website. In other words, you can read the webpage offline. To do this, you'll be creating a file called a Web Archive as the File Format in Safari:
Example of Web Archive
Saving Email Messages as PDF Documents
There are so many important emails that you want to access on your trip. If you are not connected to a Wi-Fi to read your emails, then having file copies stored on the iPod is a good backup. Correspondence regarding your rental, e-tickets, travel insurance policies, car rental contracts and other pieces of information that arrive via email can be stored as documents with a few easy steps. In fact, you can use the PRINT capability on a Mac to create a PDF file of other documents, not just emails.
You may want to create subfolders such as "Airline Info" or "Apartment Info" to store the information.
From the MacBook:
Saving Email as PDF
Other Miscellaneous Uses
We also took photographs of our passports and stored those on our iPods as well. It may also work well to photograph prescriptions to use as a backup to paper copies. Podcasts and Kindle books may also come in handy for your sightseeing tours.
You can copy whatever files and images that you store on your computer to your iPod Touch. Carrying an iPod Touch around all day in a pocket or purse is a lot easier than carrying books, maps and papers!
Note: All products mentioned are current as of the writing of this article. Please note that in the world of electronics, products change rapidly. iPod Touch, iPhone and Macbook are owned by Apple Inc. and Air Sharing is a product of Avatron Software Inc.
Defining Your Home: Home, Garden and Travel Tips
Internet Access in Europe: Using Internet Cafes or bringing your computer to connect to the Internet.
Slow Travel - Bringing your Electronics to Europe: Converters and adapters needed for your electronic items.
Podcasts for Travelers - All The World's A Pod: Recommended travel podcasts, directories and software.
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