Land Rover Defender Blog

Trip Planning: Paper or Electronic?

If you have a Land Rover, at some point, you'll want to go on a trip. Now that might be a short, day trip, or it could be an extended overland jaunt across Africa for several months. But planning a trip is an absolute nightmare.

Ben Gribbin

Ben Gribbin

September 19, 2011

Hello, I'm the editor of FunRover. I'm a massive Land Rover fan. Currently own a TD5 90. 2015 MR Blogger of the Year
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First, you have to consider route. Where do you actually want to go? Where will you stay, what places are on the route to visit? How much will it cost? There are so many variables in planning a trip and you'll no doubt have a keen interest in making sure it goes well and is enjoyed by everyone on the journey. So, today, we're looking at the massive task that is trip planning and how you can make it easier. We're deriving all of our findings from planning our own trip in the Land Rover around Northern Europe in December.

Paper.

Pros

The good old fashioned way, using a notepad and a pen. Portable, never likely to run out of batteries and you have complete creative freedom to draw out your own planner for you trip, and still be able to pritt stick a map or photograph in where you like. Has a certain charm to it when looking back. Perhaps paper should be the default go to for a trip journal / diary.

Cons

Admittedly, for a notepad, they are pretty expensive, but they'll lap up being thrown into your muddy cab and getting knocked about a bit. Also, you have the problem of space. You can quite quickly run out of space, especially when storing paper maps, tickets and photos in one for example. Another con of paper based planning? You could lose it, drop it in a puddle, have your pen leak all over it - and then be completely stuck without any form of itinerary what so ever.

Moleskines

If your going down this route, there's only one option: Moleskines. Moleskine are a very high quality, durable notepad that will last many years after your trip has finished and they now offer specialised versions of their very popular notepads. There are individual city journals as well as a journal designed just for Travelling. You can check out the video below as it might help when organising your trip. Moleskines have a handy little pocket on the rear cover to store things like tickets and maps, so they are well worth a check out.

You could use a blank Moleskine, for the most flexibility, along with the Moleskine Templates (MSK) to create a completely custom planner suited to your trip. This traveller shows you how here: http://www.notebooktivity.com/2011/05/moleskine®-travel-journal-setup/

Or, if you're travelling to a certain city (less likely in a Land Rover) check out the Moleskine Travel Journals - http://www.moleskine.co.uk/products/city/europe/

Electronic

Pros

We've been trying to plan our trip electronically, and so far, it seems to be going ok. There are many options which we'll look at below, but the advantages are numerous. Their super lightweight form factor is great as they can be dropped into a cubby box or hidden elsewhere out of sight. Electronic planning allows you to work with real time maps, drop points (that are collapsible) onto a map, edit the information without needing to use tip-ex as well as be able to copy and paste booking info for example. In the modern age, you can export this info to some sat-navs, as well as viewing it on the go on an iPad or iPhone for example.

This is the part that most appeals to us, as we'll be taking our iPad along, we can use it for our complete trip command centre. Navigation, bookings, itineraries, all in one device that also carries your emails, the internet and a whole host of other apps. Well worth considering, especially if you already have one lying about.

 

Cons

Bottom right, our own FunRover iPad smattered in dirt after a cross axle moment...

Batteries can and do run out and you could be left in the wilds without your all important trip plan. More likely to be stolen than a notepad and also more likely to be damaged if dropped.

Apps

With the iPad / iPhone been as popular as they are, there are dozens of trip / route planning apps, as well as those for recommended travel destinations. So, it's logical to go down this route if you're looking to plan on an electronic device.

TripAdvisor


TripAdvisor have a free travel app for the iPhone & iPad that has real travellers' reviews & opinions of hotels, restaurants & attractions. It's certainly a very polished app with a large, established user base.

TripIt

Apparently, TripIt drags travelling into the 21st century, and from what we've seen of it, it certainly does! This is a fully featured trip planner, with an integrated mapping feature and fully, hour by hour, minute by minute itinerary. Though this might be **too** organised for some, It's free and very easy to use, so check it out.

And Finally, Google Maps


Google Maps is the go to trip planner we've been using. With it's excellent built in mapping system (on the iPhone, iPad & internet) and features like street view, directions, and place-markers, it makes for a very clever and simple to use trip planner. You can simply put in destinations in the directions window and it will even calculate the predicted cost of fuel.

How do you plan your trips? Have you got any tips to share with other Landy travellers?

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2 Comments

  1. I loved reading this!
    I use Google maps, then write it all down (usually on an envelope) and then wedge it in somewhere on the many nooks in my Series III.

    Not very technical, I do have sat nav, but it confuses me and I still get lost.

    The envelope technique has not failed me yet…. I’ve never driven to Africa mind you, but for short journeys it’s fine.

    Thanks for this post. I really enjoyed reading it.

  2. Humperdinck says:

    Good article! I’m planning a trip to Africa (previously did the Americas) and even though I’m a computer junkie I cannot help but think that paper rules the roost for planning.

    My planning always ends up digital though and you can see some of it here at http://www.africality.com (it’s a totally non-commercial site & blog)

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