I have said it before, and I will say it again, Disney vacation planning can be a great experience for you and your family. It can provide months of family time creating build up and excitement leading to what will hopefully be a Vacation that delivers everything you wanted from it.
That said, Disney vacation planning can also be a mess of papers, confirmation numbers, itineraries, budgets, must-dos and anything else that escapes me at the moment. All of that stuff can pile up quick and if you don’t have a plan on how to organize and store it all it can turn that fun planning experience into a stressful one.
When I first started really getting into Disney planning for our Family, the Binder was key. First I started out with a PassPorter. What a great product! I then moved onto a “Disney Planning Binder”. I would put everything in that sucker. Resort Maps, Activity Schedules, Park Maps, Printed Confirmation sheets, Printed agendas, you name it. Needless to say it would get very full, very quick.
A binder was a great option. Lots of people still use them to plan today and there is nothing wrong with that. But what if you could have access to that binder from anywhere in the world, at any time, and share it with anyone going on vacation with you at a moments notice? What if that binder could be filed away and referenced in the future even after you are planning for your next vacation?
Welcome to the cloud!
Personally, I use Drop Box for most of my day-to-day cloud storage needs. It’s free to get started so head on over to sign up if you haven’t already.
Drop Box is not the only option. You can use OneDrive, BoxCloud, or any other close storage option you might like best. The reason I like Drop Box is probably the most accepted cloud storage option among app developers. Most apps that deal with documents will automatically have access to Drop Box and be able to read and sync easily with that service.
So, now that you are all signed up, lets get started.
Really, there are an endless amount of options on how you want to organize your planning files. Come up with something that you are comfortable with and be consistent. This way you know where to find everything you need at a moments notice from anywhere in the world. It will make it easy to pull up any of your information directly on your phone, tablet, or computer at any time from any location.
I start with a main folder called “Our Trip Planning”. Inside that folder I will have a folder for “Years” and then the name of the Trip I want to plan. Something like this “Our Trip Planning/2016/Aug – Mikes Birthday Trip”. Do you need to go into this amount of detail? Probably not, but I always have 2 or 3 vacations being planned, sometimes up to 5 years in advance so it works best for me. I also have a folder “Past Trips” that I will drag the main vacation folder to once we are back and its been completed. This way, if I want to see any info from that trip later in life I know I can look over it again.
So, each Vacation will have its own “Home Folder” that everything will be sorted into. In that folder I will create multiple folders and files depending on the needs of the vacation. A folder for confirmation sheets is a great start. All those confirmation emails you now receive for things like hotel bookings, flights, rental cars, even tickets vouchers can be “printed to a PDF file” instead of physically printed and stored in your drop box folder. This will allow you to go the check-in desk with nothing but your phone and some id and pull up your confirmation on your phone if needed in a moments notice.
I also keep all my Excel planning files in the home folder for easy access. Things like my budget calculator, ADR trackers, anything that I want to be able to open up anytime I feel like doing a bit of planning on a whim. Great thing about Excel for the iPhone and iPad is it will link to your dropbox and allow you to sync automatically! Super convenient.
Another thing I enjoy doing as well is searching for PDF version of menus for the restaurants we may be eating at, or maps of the resorts we are staying at and keeping them handy in my drop box as well. Sure, My Disney Experience has most of that info available as well but I prefer the look of the “printed” maps and menus.
Last but not least I use Drop Box while on vacation almost every day. A handy feature of the Drop Box app is that it has a built-in document scanner. I’m probably in the minority, but I like to scan all my Disney receipts from souvenirs to meals and upload them to my home folder for future reference. More importantly, you can also scan the back of your gift cards or tickets to have a record incase you lose them during your vacation.
I hope you get some good information from the tips I have shared with you today. By no means does this even crack the surface of all the things you can use with cloud storage in regards to planning your Disney getaways, but its a start.
Head down to the comments section to add your tips and or feedback! We love to hear what our readers have to share.