OneNote for Travel

I'll be the first to admit it. When I first tried OneNote a couple of years ago, I was not impressed.  I was an Evernote user and kept a lot of my stuff (yes, that's the technical term) in my email folders or Google Drive or OneDrive.  But here in the last few months, I took another look at it (and figured out a few things I was doing wrong) and I'm REALLY liking it more and more.

As with any of the other Office products, I have taken a couple of online trainings/webinars on OneNote to gain input and see some of what it can do. Then I Google or Bing it to find out even more.  Input!!!  (I feel like Johnny 5 from Short Circuit).  Then, as Vicki Sokol Evans always says, the best way to remember something is to teach someone else.  So that's what I do and I enjoy it a lot! I'm a Master Microsoft Office Specialist on versions 2003-2010 and I'm working on my 2013 certification. I may try to add in the exam for OneNote this time. Continuous education...

I created a basic OneNote class for employees here at the City of Bryan and I did several sessions.  It's been a while and now I'm working on a project of creating a OneNote class focusing on travel arrangements, especially from the Administrative Professionals' side.

There are ton of ways to use OneNote and everyone finds their own groove and their own way of doing things, but I've found some ways that seem to work well for me.  I have been doing quite a bit of travel arrangements for the upper level managers in our department as well as some of their direct reports.  Searching through all my emails in my Inbox was getting to be tedious, so now I'm consolidating info in one place and it's soooooo much better.

OneNote can be used on the PC, Online or on Android, Apple and Windows devices, so it's great for cross-platform applications and everyone can pick their favorite.

I have a shared Notebook for all of our travel and each person has a Section Group and within that Group, there is a Section for each conference/training.  I have a Page with a table that I consolidate all info into an Itinerary. Another Page has the spreadsheet that is our Expense Report. When I get confirmation emails from flight, hotel, etc., I Send to OneNote, either using the button in Outlook or sending it to with the OneNote Clipper. and keep everything together for further info, but the Itinerary is the thing they keep track of the most. (I suggest a print out of the Itinerary to take with them in case of battery failure, no signal, dropped/lost phone, etc).  

I also include a page with a Packing List with the main things they need and they can add/delete as needed for each individual trip. Don't forget to add a little section in the checklist for the return trip and remind them to go through the packing list again before leaving the conference.  There's also a page with the agenda that I copy from the conference website, a map of the area with the link that they can click on to open in Google Maps, especially if the hotel is not in the location of the conference.  

While the travelers are on the trip, they can take pictures or use Office Lens to capture receipts, whiteboards, notes for the conference sessions, etc. This helps in case something gets lost and I can start filling in final expenses before they even get back from the trip.  I used this method for my own personal trip to our recent #IAAP Texas-Louisiana's last Division Summit. 

If you have access to do so, you can create the appointments on your boss's calendar and link them to the OneNote pages  - either agenda or itinerary as needed.

For me as the Admin, I have a Section called Misc Info in the travel notebook that is Password Protected for just me. There I have a To Do list of all the tasks that need to be done for the travel arrangements and I have a checklist for each person and their trips.  The checklist includes Register for the conference, book hotel, book car, book flight, book parking, start expense report, enter per diem advance, complete expense report, process P-card receipts, enter reimbursement request.  

After everything is completed, I move the Page for that conference to a Completed section and keep for reference until I have a chance to scan the entire thing into LaserFiche and make sure all i's are dotted and t's are crossed. (As a reminder, Sections can be re-arranged, but Section Groups are alphabetical. Arrange Groups by adding a numerical value if needed or use Z- on the Completed section or other section that you want at the end)

On my Section (password protected), along with the To Do Checklists, I have all the Pages saved as Templates, so it's super simple to copy them to create new travel Sections, an no one else can mess them up. I have info on the mileage reimbursement rates and per diem info.  I also have a table or spreadsheet for all the managers and their personal preferences - aisle/window seat, rewards program info, hotel room preferences, name as it appears on their ID, DOB...basically everything I need to booking their travel.

Just to be safe, be sure they sync the travel notebook before they leave town.

Haven't tried OneNote yet? Click here.