Just over six years back, I wrote up my 6 tips for travel, calendars and time zones to share what I have found to be helpful while travelling. When travel resumed after COVID-19 and I started to travel again, I realised that I have started to use my calendar on the phone even more to help when I travel. This is a follow-up post with my new learnings.
At its heart, I have started to add more and more things into the calendar and have slowly formed a system around it.
One of the things that I have started to do is adding my flight details into the calendar. This includes the following:
- My booking PNR – the 6 character code (e.g., Z9XI6A)
- Local depature and arrival time (this mirrors the same as what you see in the calendar)
- Departure and arrival terminal information
- Flight duration
- Seat information, if any
- I have also started to add the PDF file as an attachment so that it’s easily accessible
This way, if I need any information about the flight, it’s all in one place. I add every individual flight separately, so if I need to transit and change planes, I will add two separate calendar items.
Link to Flight Details
Whether I am receiving a passenger or tracking a flight for a loved one, or actually travelling myself, I now add another item to the calendar. In the details, I now add a link to a Google search of the flight. For example, if you’re taking the JL38 from Singapore to Haneda airport, I will add this link to the calendar: https://www.google.com/search?q=jl38 so that tapping it on my phone takes me to the latest information about the flight. It will show you something like the first pictute before the flight departs and the second one after it departs. (Tip: in general, you can set the term
q=something after the URL of
https://www.google.com/search? to create a Google search query).
I really find this very useful now and much quicker than other methods I have used in the past.
If I need to change flights at an airport, I try to find the information in advance and add it to the calendar between the entries of the landing flight and the departure flight. Then, I also add the transfer as an entry in the calendar (e.g., ‘Transfer @ KUL – 1h15m’) with the duration in the calendar item title so that it’s easily available when I look at the phone. If I have the details, I will also add more details in the body of the calendar item. This could include things like collect bags, check-in information, transfer to local terminal, take bus from stop 8c, and so on, so that I have all the relevant information at hand. In some cases, you need to change airports (not just terminals) and I would add information about the bus route or train travel information.
This is one of the more detailed entries I did for transfer information because the time was limited and the options a bit complex.
As you go down this path, this becomes the obvious one. I will add an item such as “Check in: Hotel Transylvania” into the calendar at the rough time I expect to check in. If it’s a hotel that I will stay at just for the night and I don’t know when I will actually check in, I normally add it at approx. 8pm or 9pm local time. With this item, I add the following:
- Hotel Name
- Hotel Address in English
- Hotel Address in the local language
- Contact details
- Booking agent (e.g., Agoda, Hotels.com, etc.)
- Booking ID according to the booking agent
- Any other relevant information
- Attach the PDF of the booking in case I need it
- Hotel website link
- Some hotels have the instructions on how to reach the hotel on their website. I insert either a link to the page or insert a screenshot of that page into the calendar entry details.
- Travel instructions: if I search up instructions on how to get to the hotel from the nearby train station, I might add a link to the search on Google Maps. For example, this link on Google Maps will show me how to go to the hotel.
Again, the idea is to put as much relevant information as possible into the calendar so that finding it is easier.
If I need to travel from the airport to a different city or to the downtown and it takes more than an hour or two, I will usually add information about transit. I add an item at roughly the time I would travel and stretch it to the approximate duration of the travel. Then, I include the information about the trains to take and their schedule, transfers to do, and so on.
The picture below shows how I added information for a trip from Kansai Airport in Japan to Hiroshima station. The first picture is where the travel items are added to the calendar.
The picture below details the options for the first part of the journey (‘Take train/ bus to Shin Osaka’) and looks like this. It includes a link to the bus schedule and a picture of the schedule for the most likely train I would take.
Finally, the last picture below shows the information added to the calendar for the last part of the trip – the bullet train travel from Osaka to Hiroshima. Here, I take a screenshot of the few trains at about that time so that I know the options for travel at that time. Also, it gives me quick information on whether I should rush.
I find this planning really helpful – I know that I can check the schedules online or at the station, but it helps me to have all the information at hand in the calendar item on the phone so that I don’t have to search quickly.
I have the habit of adding an item in the calendar at 7am local time so that it helps align the day. I have now started to also add a link to the weather information for the location I am staying at. For example, I would search on Google for “BBC weather Singapore” which will take me to a link like this: https://www.bbc.com/weather/1880252 that shows the weather for Singapore.
I then add this link to the 7am calendar entry. That way, I can tap on the link from the details to get the information I need. Of course, I can do this in advance of travel or even while I am there.
Together, I find that these things make me more productive – the research goes in before the trip and all the scattered information is captured and easily accessible from one place. It’s also directly accessible at the correct time since it’s tied into the calendar. For me, that’s the main attraction of adding information into the calendar – the information I need is inherently tied to time and place, and the calendar is the perfect tool.