Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Low and High Tech Traveling Companions . . .

For the last three trips,
I used an old fashioned note pad to journal and keep track of all of my experiences (sights, history, people I met, restaurants I ate at, etc.).
Let's just say that this is the same notebook I used last year. Notice all the blank pages left!

I'm going to do a couple of news things this year. First, I discovered a great invention called the "PocketMod" from Marta on Slow Travel. It is a little booklike cheat sheet that you can create for various things like a list of restaurants, all my hotels, important contact information, etc. With the help of insturctions by Slow Traveler, Christine in Australia, here's ONE I did on the Food of Spain including a recommendation list of Restaurants in Granada and Sevilla. Last night I finally finished my pocketmod listing all my hotels, airline information and all the important contacts that I'll need in each city. It's a pretty cool "low tech" invention.

I'm also going high tech on this trip! I purchased a little device for my iPod to turn it into a voice recorder. I'll carry this around with me during the day so I can record the information as I go along. I think it'll be faster than writing everything down.

So how am I going to organize and take all the information I've learned from all my guidebooks, Internet website notes and Slow Travel recommendations. I'll be traveling by train and weight is a huge concern.

The answer . . . a high tech device recommended by Roz on Slow Travel. Hope it works!
BTW, I'm still packing my low tech notebook (just in case)! :)

37 Days and counting! Whoo Hoo . . . I can taste those famous tapas and churros already!


  1. What an interesting post! I'm very impressed with the great mix of high and low tech stuff. Love the pocketmod you made! I'll be really interested to hear how this all works for you. You are so well prepared for this trip!

    I'm a low tech traveler all the way. Last December was my first trip ever with a digital camera, and I was so impressed with my ability to figure out how to charge the battery, ha ha! I don't own an IPod or anything like that. Technology is interesting to me but I'm slow to take the plunge. :) I've been using the same little notebook for the past several trips to Venice, and I need to check and make sure that I've got enough blank pages left.

    Hope you're having a great week as the days count down towards Spain!

  2. Ever since Roz mentioned the PocketMod I was intrigued by it but did not have an idea how it would work or how to make one. Your PocketMod looks great and now I realize how useful it is because in it you keep important information at hand in a very handy piece of paper. I've been thinking of making one for each destination but I’ll have to ask for help from my husband because I don’t know how to set up the page with the required format.

    Where did you find the device to turn your iPod into a voice recorder? I like the idea of using it for recording information as you go along.

    I love reading about your upcoming trip and how well organized and prepared you are. 37 days are going to fly-by. You’ll soon be on your way to beautiful Spain and having an amazing time.

    Have a wonderful week, Kathy!

  3. Hi Annie, you definitely need to make sure that you replinish your notebook pages. Of course, I'm being selfish because that will mean I will be able to read more of your interesting discoveries on your blog! :)

    I will probably still journal but I have to confess that my penmanship is pretty bad. I even have trouble reading what I just wrote half the time. And it gets worse when I am rushing.

    I'm also interested to see how things work out for me. It's funny that sometimes even with all the preparation things can sort of take a detour when you're traveling. I basically have two or three must sees and the rest I'll decide day to day when I get there. As long as I'm having fun and enjoying the new experiences it's cool.

    Have a great evening & week Annie!

  4. Hi Maria, I think these pocket mods are great. I create something similar but I have to cut, resize and paste it together to make it look like a book. Now, with this software it is so easy. First you can use either Word or Excel to set up your information. You can put up to eight pages. I did the Food one with the basic food information and added a list of restaurants. This will be handy when I go out late at night. I won't want to bring my iTouch or other books with me but will want a quick reference of what I can order to eat or drink. It's perfect. After you create the eight pages, you then convert it to a PDF file, then you go to the Pocketmod converter and with one button the converter makes your pocket mod. You have to use at least Font 22. The one that I did I used Font 20 but for my hotel list I used 22. This is because the text will shrink during the conversion. If you need help with it, I can also help you if you want.

    The iPod device is called iVoiceIII Micophone for iPod which is made by "Macally". I found it in of all places Walmart. It's pretty cool. If you can't find one where you live, I have an extra one that I could give to you if you like. You can record when you and Anne take that gondola ride! Oh but you'll be video taping it for us! :)

    I have a feeling 37 days will fly by too. And I am going to really enjoy reading about your trip and Anne's and Annie's trips too!

    Have a great evening and week Maria!

  5. I am going to have to learn how to do that Pocket Mod thing. Your food one looks so useful.

    Do you have the newest iTouch? I heard that there is a microphone set up for that one too which could save you on taking 2 devices. I plan to buy one but I need a new computer first since I hear the new iTouch only uses iTunes 8 and my computer is too slow for iTunes 8.

    37 days...that will just fly right by!

  6. I forgot to say that I also have the same travel journal which I have taken the past few years. I don't think I will have enough pages for another trip though, unless it is a quick one.

  7. Hi Girasoli, definitely try the Pocket Mod thing. It's takes a little time to do because you first have to create the pages for it, then convert it to a pdf file but once that's done it is very easy to convert it to a pocketmod then follow the instructions to cut and fold it into a book.

    I'm not sure if I have the newest iTouch? I think I do. I just got it this past weekend and haven't had the chance yet to sync it. It'll be great if it had the built in microphone. I'll have to work on it this week and check it out. And then I have to transfer all my notes and pdf files over to it using that Software that Roz posted. Well, I have 37 days to get my act together.

    I think you and Annie need to get more pages for your travel journal. I enjoy your blogs way too much and want you to have enough pages to write in.:)

    Have a great week!

  8. Thanks for the info on the microphone for the iPod and for offering me your extra one. I’ll try to find it here and I’ll let you know the outcome. I stopped yesterday at the Apple store and saw one they sell for $70.00. A bit too much to spend for this kind of device. I'll check at Radio Shack and Wal-Mart.

    I also found a very portable and cheap set of speakers for the iPod. Not stereo but the sound is enough to fill a small room.

    Regarding the PocketMod, I'll see if my husband can help me. He loves a challenge and is always eager to learn new things so I'm sure he'll enjoy doing the PocketMod.

    Happy Wednesday!

  9. Kathy, this is all so interesting! I have got to check out the PocketMod and the iPod recording device (I never go anywhere without my beloved iPod!) They sound like great additions to the faithful old travel journal.

    I know what you mean about the trouble controling the weight of so many guidebooks, notes, etc. I think that's the toughest part of packing!

    And only 35 days until you leave, yay!!!

  10. Hi Maria, Yikes on the $70.00. That's a rip off. Another place you could check that is way more reasonable is Fry's Electronics (if you have one). Let me know if you can't find one.

    I'm glad you found some good speakers for your iPod. I always have to travel with my own music too.

    I think your husband will easily have your handy pocketmods done for you in no time. The instructions are very good on that website. I really like the one that I did for the different tapas I need to look for in the bars. I just don't want to miss out on anything good!:)

    Have a great evening Maria!

  11. Hi Sandra, the pocketmods are great and they are going to be very useful when I venture out at night and don't want to lug my gadgets with me. Sometimes low tech is all I need.

    I've played with the recording device for my ipod a bit and it is fantastic. It evens lists the date, time and length of each entry you record on it. The sound quality is exceptional. It picks up sounds even from a distance and it comes out pretty clear. It's very cool. Maria is also interested in using one for her trip too. She's also an iPod travelor.

    I do try to journal at night but sometimes my thoughts spill out faster than I can write and by the time I catch up it is too late and my thoughts are long gone! :)

    Traveling by train, weight is a huge factor for me and I also just hate to waste so much paper. In an effort to cutting down on weight, organizing my information and saving a couple of trees I have really been looking for new and innovative traveling tips. I'll have to see how everything works out.

    Thanks for your comments. Hope you're adjusting well to post Italy life! :)

  12. Hey that looks very cool! Too bad I haven't time to check it out before my trip. (I should be sleeping so leave on a well rested note, but I'm too excited!)

  13. Last trip I did with Alessandro a year ago, I took a laptop.

    I used it to watch DVDs at night with him, and to store all my photos. I journaled every night on it as well and put up entries on my blog from it by popping them onto a flash drive, then going into Internet cafes.

  14. Hi Anne, maybe on your next trip to Italy! :) and a wink! Hope you had a good night's rest! Safe travels to you! Take care!

  15. Hi Leslie, I would so love to bring my little laptop with me and I am so tempted. That would really help to organize the photos at night a lot! Hmmmmm . . .

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing what you do on your trips, gives me something to really think about!

    Have a great day!

  16. You probably do have the latest iTouch. I am pretty sure that the microphone feature only works with some sort of attachment. Of course though, huh? More money for Apple that way :{ BUT I hear there are many benefits and there is even the possibility of making calls through Skype or some other program (although I am not sure if this is only US calls or also international calls).

  17. Hi Girasoli, I think you are right about the added attachment. I wonder if the one I have for my iPod would work? I'm thinking that I will still have to bring my iPod anyway because the iTouch only has 32G and I won't be able to fit all my music library in there. I'm one of those that has to carry their entire collection every where they go. :)

    Thanks for the tips on Skype. I'll have to research that further. I'll definitely post about how that is working for me. It'll be interesting.

    Thanks again for your comments.

  18. Ok, got more info. There is this thing called iFring. Somehow that helps with the phone calls on iTouch. I also found out that the new microphone thing which I think also has a headset has not come out yet, but I "think" that other microphones work. I understand about taking 2 gadgets. I took my two nanos this year so that if I had to charge one, I could still use the other (also they are both not that large gb wise).

  19. Hi Girasoli, thanks for the information on iFring. I shall look for that. I just downloaded Air Sharing on my computer. I guess everything works through iTunes (version 8). I now have to set up my iTouch and figure out how to transfer all my notes to it. It's taking me a little longer than I thought to figure it out, but once I do I'm sure it will be easy from that point on to synch and continually update it with my notes. I'm just finding out that there are so many applications that I can add to my iTouch. I'll have to check into any convenient travel applications that I may want to add. I think I distance program and currency exchange application would be nice to have! :)

    Thanks again for the follow-up information. I'l report back on how this all works out.

    Have a great day!


It's me Trekcapri (aka Kathy). Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.