Thursday, January 6, 2011

Guide Documents

Rather than a bringing a heavy guide book, 95% of which we probably won't use, I make my own guide, tailored to our itinerary and interests. I create the following documents for our trip:
  • Transportation
    Mostly airline and intercity rail travel information.
  • Lodging
    This is usually the last document completed. It contains complete information about when and where we plan to stay.
  • Attractions, Food, and Souvenirs
    This is the usually largest document and it's organized by region.
  • Shopping
    We carry this with us for the duration of the trip because we never know when we'll have some extra time for shopping.
  • Vocabulary
    This contains handy phrases for use at places of lodging, in transit, at attractions or restaurants, and when shopping.
  • Contact Information
    Essential phone numbers.
The documents are created in Open Office or Microsoft Word. Unfortunately Google Docs doesn't support furigana, which is a necessity for me and most other Japanese language learners. It sure would be nice to have these documents available in the "cloud" so we could work on them collaboratively. After printing out the documents, I carry them in a loose leaf binder. I use a laser printer because the laser printing doesn't run if it gets wet. As we go, I discard sections that are no longer needed.

These guides are an iterative process. As we find more about sights in a certain region, we might adjust our transportation and lodging information.

Now that e-readers are becoming more convenient, we're looking into carrying the commercial guides with us as a supplement.

What should you put in your guide documents? That depends upon your interests. In a later post, I'll go in to details about what we include for each document and where we get that information.

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