When I go away on holidays I do a hell of a lot of research before I go. Trolling the net I find multiple quotes for flights, accommodation, restaurants and entertainment. Usually it will come down to three or more choices, for example, in planning for a trip to Hong Kong that I’m taking soon, I had narrowed it to three hotels in Tsim Sha Tsui. The choices I had for organizing the information were:

1. Write the details in a text file
2. Use Microsoft Excel
3. Join Yahoo Trip Planner or My Travel Guide
4. Write my own application

The text file didn’t appeal because tab delimited fields just isn’t easy on the eye. Yahoo Travel and My Travel Guide are great for finding places and adding them as favourites but the websites are bloated with ads and the websites look horrible in hardcopy (i.e. printed out). Excel seemed like an ok solution, but in the event that there were more than one or two people taking the trip it wasn’t something everyone could update. Thus I decided to write my own application. The only problem is that I can’t program. But never fear, Web 2.0 is here.

Zoho Creator is a website that allows you to create input forms simply using your web browser and lists the inputted data in either a summary or list format. If you had an excel spreadsheet already, you could even use that as the basis for your own web application. I haven’t investigated much in regards to customising the look and feel as the input idea works neatly for me as is. What I like the most though is that there is an export to pdf, xls, rss and more option. When I’m just about to leave, I can add a date field and plan my itinerary for the places I have to go, sort by date, print it out on pdf and I’m away! I can even save a backup on my laptop. The rss feature is great too because if a group is going then everyone will be updated whenever someone adds some data.

Zoho creator even lets you embed some of the views in another website. For instance, here is some of the data I’ve already entered for my Hong Kong trip (I removed the notes, url and cost fields for this example):

Think of Zoho Creator as like a Microsoft Access Database but in a web browser. I’m not saying this would work for everyone, but for my travel needs thus far it suits the bill perfectly. The only thing I’d like to add is the ability to link the addresses to google maps and it would be sweet!



14 thoughts on “Organising for travel

  1. Kel says:

    That’s an awesome idea – it will allow me to advertise to everyone what I do on my trips to Cairns…

    Are you able to link to other pages from your information, when you post it in your website?

    e.g. Imagine you’ve already gone on your Hong Kong trip. You have a gallery for Kowloon. Are you able to set it up so that I could click on Kowloon and be redirected to your gallery? Imagine how great it would be for capturing photos as a group – could add links for everyones photos and maintain it as an online collection or something?

    There are probably better ways of doing that, but I still think its cool.

  2. pedro says:

    Do you know if I could save the data produced in my own server (with mysql database) instead of zoho servers?

    See, i can produce date and visualize it in my site but I have no guarantees of my data’s security (if it is losed).



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