I’ve now been a happy paying customer for 37signals’ Backpack for well over 2 years. Over that time the app has become far more convenient and polished to use and I’ve personally found better and better ways to get value out of it.
Glimpse of What’s Coming
The first thing you’ll find is that when travel is in the works, I create a page with a consistent naming convention and add it to my sidebar such that the upcoming trips sort chronologically. This isn’t a direct replacement for my calendar, just a quick look at where we’re pretty busy and when we have some down time. Plus it’s a great unobtrusive reminder that something is getting closer and needs to be looked at more closely.
Capture the Basics Early On
With Backpack, I can create a page far in advance to capture the basics of the trip. I was recently at a conference in Copenhagen for example where I had registered about 6 months in advance. I created the page, forwarded my registration confirmation to it, and the info was there waiting for me to polish off the details later on when the event was closer.
Flush Out the Details with Rich Content
With the ability to forward emails directly to Backpack, create links, add images, and more, Backpack is incredibly robust in capturing a range of information. You can even embed live Google Maps which is absolutely brilliant for travel. For my parents’ trip coming up we started with some basic ideas and gradually filled in the blanks.
Speaking of my parents’ trip, thanks to the newish sharing features (also brilliant), I can securely share the page with my folks so they can access and contribute to all the information without even having to sign up for an account.
All in One Place Ready to Go
Finally, and one of my favorite parts. When it’s time to head out, I open the page, embedded email attachments, and maps, and print them out to take with me. They’re all in one place so it only takes a few minutes and it saves having to hunt through old emails for reservations and flight confirmations. Easy peasy!
Full disclosure: 37signals does have an affiliate program so if you click some of the links and end up signing up, I will receive a small credit. Not to worry however, I’ve been singing the praises of Backpack long before this more recent development!