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Using the Notes App for your Travel Adventures


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I want to tell you about a number of ways you can use the Apple Notes App for travel. The Apple Notes App is free. 

One of the nice things about Notes is that it uses iCloud to seamlessly sync between an iPhone, an iPad, and a Mac. I typically use the Mac to copy/paste information into the file but then use the notes on my other devices. (I am more comfortable with the laptop keyboard than the phone.) 
Importantly, you can share a note with your partner. This is particularly useful if I am driving; I can ask my wife to open her notes app and find some info or dial a phone number listed there. 

What is it useful for? I will start with a simple example. I have a Note called Current Trip. If it is a camping trip I will list each of our campsites in chronological order. For each campground, I copy/paste the Address, Phone Number, Website, etc, into the Note. For non-camping trips, I put in hotel or Airbnb information. If I book a restaurant, I put the info into the Notes file. Ditto for Car Rental information. 
The Address, Phone Number, and Website in the Notes file become links. If I touch the Address on my phone, it opens up the Address in the Maps app, and I can now click on directions. If I click on the Phone Number it offers to dial the number. If I click on the Website it opens in a web browser. These links can be incredibly useful. 
Again, having the notes file shared with your spouse or other traveling companions means they can access this info. 

This Notes File can be wonderful for Wi-Fi Passwords. Suppose you check into a place and they give an awful random character password, such as t?Uc'C&Ds9Ye;v. Now you have to enter this into each of your devices, under conditions where what you have already typed is obscured! Instead, I enter the password into my Current Trip file and verify that I typed it correctly. I can then copy the password, go to Settings > Wi-Fi, select the network, and paste in the complex password. Since my Current Trip file syncs with my wife’s devices, I can copy the password from her Notes and get her Wi-Fi set up. 

You can put nearly anything into a Notes file, including images (jpg, heic, png, tif, or pdf). On our trip to Zion NP last month, I pasted maps for the Zion Park shuttle system and the campground map. I have also pasted driving directions for the trailhead for a hike into the Notes file, or the mile makers for Rest Areas along the route. 

Another Notes file I use is called Travel Plans, and this I also share with my wife. It helps us both know what upcoming trips we had or when visitors were expected. I started this in 2018, when we had a lot of travel planned. 

I discovered that this Travel Plans file turned out to be very useful for examining our travels retrospectively. I found it so useful that I used my photo files to add dates and destinations for all of our past foreign trips. 

Another Notes file is called Ollie. I started this file soon after we started camping with Ollie. We pull into a commercial campground and walk into the office to register, and the first thing they want is the vehicle license plate number. So I put this info in the Ollie file. When we first started camping with Ollie, I had to look up in the Owner’s Manual which water inlet I wanted to use, Fresh Water Connection vs City Water Connection, so I put that in the Ollie file. Height to the top of Ollie, tire pressure and torque info, details on the Solar controller or the WiFi Ranger. 


We like to make pancakes when camping, and we heat up the real maple syrup in the microwave. If we heat at full power the syrup boils, so we needed to use a lower cooking level. After looking up how to do this several times in the instruction manual, I decided to put the info into the Notes Ollie file. (Note, our microwave is a Summit OTR24, and yours may be different. Basically, anything I had to lookup more than once went into the Notes Ollie file. 

I also put pictures into the Notes Ollie file. I use a milk crate to store my chocks and wooden blocks. I had worked out a nice way to fit them all in neatly, but then at the next stop, I couldn’t remember. So once I figured it out, I took sequential pictures of the packing steps and put them into the Notes Ollie file. 


I posted about how we lock our bikes on the rack on the back of the trailer, using a 6-foot heavy-duty chain that just barely fits. A picture of the bike lock on the bike rack that is stored in the Notes Ollie file helps me remember the strategy for attaching the lock and chain. 


The last Notes file I want to mention is the After camping list. While on a camping trip I think of things I want to repair or want to research/purchase to make camping more enjoyable. I always have my phone with me, so I can add to this list while barbequing. I recommend all Ollie owners use a file like this. 

A couple of final points about the Notes app. 

Pin. The default is to sort by Date Edited (which can be changed), but sometimes the Note you use the most has not been edited in a while and is far down the list. In that case, you can Pin the most important Notes to the top of the list. 

Folders. If you have a lot of Notes, you can put them into Folders, so that you can look in a particular folder. I have a number of folders, including Computer & Phone, Cooking, Medical, Ollie, Photography, Travel, and TV & Movies. 



Icons. If you have a lot of Notes, a picture or an icon can make it easier to find the Note you want. When I first started pasting photos into Notes files, I discovered that the photo would be visible in the list of notes. If there are multiple photos, only the first one appears in the list. I later decided to search for icons to mark Notes files. Suitcase icon for Travel, trailer icon for Ollie, etc. If I have pictures in the Note, then I put the Icon image earlier in the Note. These icon images can be tiff, png, jpg or heic files. While you can put pdf files into notes, the pdf images do not appear in the list of Notes files.

Perhaps a PC / Android phone user can provide info about similar apps for the PC and android devices? I did find an article explaining how iPhone owners can edit their Notes on Windows



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David Stillman, Salt Lake City, Utah

2016 Oliver Elite II  Hull 164    |    2017 Audi Q7 tow vehicle. 

Travel and Photography Blog: http://davidstravels.net


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I use Samsung notes on my android, all the time.

Not as extensive as your use of apple notes, but it seems I always have my phone with me, and paper lists seem to get lost...

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

Florida and Western North Carolina, or wherever the truck goes....

400 watts solar. DC compressor fridge. No inverter. 2 x 105 ah agm batteries .  Life is good.




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Great ideas. I will use some of these!

I do a subset of this using the OneNote app on my phone, and I'll often add more at home from the desktop OneNote app. Among other things, I've created a "notebook" (which has sections/folders w/in it) for making notes on good boondock sites we've used, seen, or read about, as well as details on which sites at established campgrounds we'd like to try to book or grab on return trips, etc and have shared this with a few friends who can also add to it. We've included a "general resources" section in which we have lists of useful apps for different tasks (including things like  tide tables/charts app, a "photographer's ephemeris" etc which can be useful for planning our days). It's a nice way of creating a shared store of the type of knowledge we're all apt to forget. 

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Jim and  Yanna, Woodinville WA

2004 Ford E250 camper conversion

Oliver Elite II hull #709

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Wow, David you are really organized. I'm impressed. We so rarely have any sort of reservations or a set itinerary. Sometimes we don't really know where we're headed until we get to the end of the street. Turn left we'll probably go North and East (maybe to Maine), turn right, probably West (Arizona, California...Alaska?)

I do like the idea of keeping a log of what we do each day, but neither of us is motivated enough to actually write it.

Thanks for the info.

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Steve, Tali and our dog Rocky plus our beloved Storm, Maggie, Lucy and Reacher (all waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)

2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD SRW Diesel 4x4 





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