Vacation Planning with Notion

Vacation planning is a perfect reason to put your favorite productivity tools to use. In this case, I’m using Notion to plan out my summer vacation since things are slowly returning to a semblance of normalcy here in the United States. Using a tool like Notion or others may seem overkill for planning out a trip but doing so gives you the peace of mind that everything has been addressed and you can relax stress-free, which is the objective of a vacation isn’t it?

Setting up the planner

One thing I don’t do is create a master planner for all my travels. Rather I create them as needed, as I don’t travel much to begin, but it also allows for me to follow my creative instincts when building the planner. In Notion, I start with a blank page and add a title. I also like to add a cover and an icon for reasons I’ll explain in a bit.

Screenshot of my Notion Vacation Planner on the desktop

One of the things I use to organize my page are Toggle Lists. These let me expand or collapse areas with just a click. It’s an easy way to keep your page neat and clean while still having access to all the items you need.

As you can see below, not only can you nest the toggles, but you can add in to-do boxes as well to create layered checklists. I use these for chores, packing, and anything else I’m likely to double check about 10 times to be sure they’re done.

Toggle listing with multiple layers and embedded to-do checkboxes

Direct Links

In my planner I add a direct link to the Google Maps location for where I’m staying. Yes, I know you can embed a Google Maps item into the page, but since this is only an emergency item I don’t need it to be front and center all the time.

I also add a link to my Photo Album (also in Google Photos) for the trip to make it easy to add new photos as I take them as well as look through and edit my images when I have idle time. I’ve thought about creating a travel blog page within Notion and sharing it with friends and family rather than posting content on social media, so we’ll see if that idea comes to complete fruition.

Expense Tracking

Further down the page you’ll find my expense tracker for the trip. It’s a basic embedded table but I’ve made some strategic decisions as to how I’ll use it while on vacation. You’ll see that I’m capturing where the expense occurred, the amount, a category, and an image of the receipt if available. What’s important is the default view is a gallery view. That will be more important when we look at the mobile interface decisions. The table view of the expense tracker includes a sum total for the dollar amount so I can keep track of how much I’m spending on my trip.

Mobile Vacation Management

The last thing I want to be doing while on vacation is pulling out my laptop to update my vacation plan. This is where making the right decisions to make the planner “mobile friendly” pay off. As you can see below, because I put my toggles on the left side of a two column layout, they appear at the top of the mobile page.

Since I used toggles it’s easy to access all the content of my toggle lists from the phone without fighting the limited screen real estate.

Also, since I chose the default view for my expense tracker to be a Gallery view, the interface is easy to manage on the vertical layout of my phone.

Finally, we go back to the reason why I chose a page with a cover and icon in the first place. When using Notion on Android (I guess this also works on iOS…someone leave me a note in the comments and let me know) you can press and hold on the Notion icon and then add a shortcut to a page into your launcher screens This makes it incredibility easy to have your vacation plans at your fingertips.

Building this kind of vacation planner doesn’t take a long time in a tool as powerful as Notion. If you take time to plan some design choices though you’ll find it is far more effective at doing it’s job for you.

If you found this interesting or helpful, please press Like below and let me know. If this gets enough likes I may release this as a Template for Notion.