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Old 12-30-2012, 01:05 PM   #1
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2008 27' International FB
1999 19' "B" Van Airstream 190
Marietta , Georgia
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How do you organize info on points of interest?

I've been cutting out and saving information on points of interest ( places, museums, restaurants nice towns etc) we'd like to visit when we are able to do extended trips on the road. Now that we're empty nesters, that time is here! I have pages ripped out of magazines and newspapers, saved bookmarks and notes of places across the US that would be interesting to visit. But how to organize so the info will be useful is what I'm grappling with. We'd like to travel without much of a plan and be able to see what's near us by referring to information I've kept.

Originally, I thought I'd put them in a folder by state but that doesn't allow me to organize easily by area or region of the state where these places are.

My ideal would be to find an app that works sort of like the All-stays app: I'd be able to put a pin on the map for a point of interest and when I clicked on it, information on the point of interest would come up. I don't know if an app exists that would allow me to do that.

The only other thing I can think of would be to buy a US atlas and put numbers on it with a corresponding index.

Any suggestions or what works for you?

Thanks for the help!


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Old 12-30-2012, 01:32 PM   #2
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Tub City , British Columbia
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I am about 10 years behind on technology, but the Street and Trips GPS from Microsoft has POI on it. It is updated every year.

We use the 2011 version.


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Old 12-30-2012, 01:35 PM   #3
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Before the internet, I organized each trip in a pressboard report cover. I would include an overall map and then details of places of interests in the order that we would encounter them. This works best if the itinerary is set in advance.

Even with the advent of smart phones, I still carry a binder for the Airstream. The first section has printouts of all of our reservations and some local maps printed out. I've ended up out of smart phone range too many times not to have a paper backup. I also include some printouts of handy local information, either restaurant lists or natural history, or something I don't want to waste battery power on.

In the absence of a smart phone app, I wonder if Pinterest would serve your purpose. You could organize your pages by region. It's a bit more intuitive than lists of bookmarks.

With the combination of magazine pages and internet, a combination of a binder and a smart phone might serve your purposes. The magazine pages can go inside plastic page covers with binder holes.
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Old 12-30-2012, 01:42 PM   #4
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We use a free state map for every state we visit, touching with a highlighter every place we want to stop, gleaning that information from various sources.

We then plot our route according to the highlighted areas.

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Old 12-30-2012, 01:46 PM   #5
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I use a Rand Mcnally RV 7710 GPS. It has an extensive POI database which I can add my own. I can preplan trips and highlight POIs that I may be interested in.

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Old 12-30-2012, 05:25 PM   #6
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I'm experimenting with using Google Maps, particularly the My Places feature. Basically you can create your own personal maps, make them public or private, and then add pins, lines, etc. You can access them from a smart phone with Google Maps, or on my iPhone I use the free My Maps app. I have maps for places we want to see in Texas (where we travel most), and other places. Same for campgrounds and restaurants.

I thought about using the POI feature of my Garmin GPS, but I often find things I want to add when I don't have my Garmin, and Google Maps is available pretty much everywhere.
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:08 PM   #7
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A good, inexpensive app(1.99) is Lifetopix. Don't know that it works exactly as you envision, but is good for storing and retrieving data.
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:09 PM   #8
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My wife, who is one of those annoying people with a clean desk, cuts out articles and saves magazines and I guess she puts them in "files" and then puts them in a "file cabinet". I don't know how she actually does it.

When we start thinking about a trip, I think about it for a while. Since we've been all over the US and Canada, I know the routes to lots of places, so I can visualize them. I pick up tour books from AAA and I used to look up the "gems" though the newer books seem to have hidden them. In fact, the newer books are pretty hard to use and have a lot of info missing compared to last year. I check out the gems (if I can find them) and see whether we want to go see them. Then I get maps from AAA and figure out a route that goes where I think Barb would want to go. Because AAA maps and tour books have been cheapened in recent years and they no longer publish books with campgrounds, I make sure to get every city, area and state or provincial map they have anywhere near our route since I am mad at them and want to get our money's worth. I total up miles and use a calendar to get a fair idea where we're going and when. I leave some extra time in the schedule so we can change our minds and take side trips we hadn't thought of.

During the process, we will talk about places to go. If somewhere Barb proposes is far off the route in my mind, I try to forget it and hope she will too. She always remembers, but I keep hoping.

About a week before we leave, Barb starts to tell me where she wants to go having found those articles and also used her information device, often called a "computer". This creates chaos in my mind. Since after decades I have a pretty good idea what she wants (if it involves oceans, waterfalls or other water features, I know she will want to see it since she was raised in the high desert and craves water), I probably have targeted some of those things anyway, but the new ones make me crazy. Some of them I don't want to go to, so we have a discussion which I usually lose. I make adjustments to the plan.

For really long trips, I make "file folder" for each state or province we will spend lots of time in. The articles, sometimes maps, reservation info, campground info, go in the folders. I find a cardboard box for these and also put in the tour books, campground books, other books and maps. If it is an area we know little about, we may buy some books on that state or provinces and read them before the trip. They have lots of handy info about things to see that are not well known and bad and good restaurants, campgrounds, historic sites and such. The box stays behind the front seats of the truck and things are taken out when needed and put back when we are through with them.

In the evening I check out campgrounds a few days ahead (if I haven't already done that before we left home), look for great restaurants, find places we want to visit, and print our info and maps to places. It is wonderful to have a printer in the trailer. This fleshes out the holes in the plan. We look for places with wifi so we can do that.

I've been doing this for years, so it's gotten pretty easy. Barb thinks I'm completely disorganized, but I get us through. By the way, my desk has big stacks of papers and I know where everything is. It just takes too much time to put everything in "files" and "file cabinets". I'm busy thinking about a trip somewhere.

We do not want to use one of those modern electric travel devices because we don't want to get lost. Maps are the best and need no batteries.

Karen, this may seem insane and disorganized to you. But in the end of our process, we know pretty much where we will be every day. There are lots of ways to file things. Just use the simplest one and hope for the best. As we learn about a trip, it starts to come together. Just try something and perfect it for you over the years. We visit lots of places more than once, so we know what to do the next time and what to avoid, but there are always surprises. It is always an experiment.

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Old 12-30-2012, 06:20 PM   #9
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Charlotte , North Carolina
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Another vote for personal google maps here. I occasionally set up maps with points of interest before we set out on big trips. I also have a big google map where I note places that we have stopped that were easy/convenient, so that we do not have to rely on memory to find that super walmart or restaurant or gas station that we stopped at the last time we drove that way. A nice example of what you can do, set up by somebody else from the airforums:
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:25 PM   #10
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Similar to Barrettjl, we use the free version of GOOGLE EARTH. I create a "push pin" marker for the location we are interested in, then type the highlights of that destination into the Description box. Then, when we start planning our route, all of the "push pins" we entered show up on screen.

You can create "folders" to organize your markers and organize them by state, National Park, etc.; or create whatever folders make sense to you.

For campgrounds, this works really well; because you can zoom in to check out access roads and see how the campground is laid out before you get there. Also, don't forget Google Earth's "street view", for highway exits, etc. These can really expand your prior knowledge of the area when planning trips.

Google Earth can also be used for mileage estimations and trip routing, but it isn't designed to provide the fuel and mileage calculations available in Microsoft Streets & Trips.

Note: The free version is fine for most users. You really don't need to purchase Google Earth PRO.

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