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Planning the perfect holiday with Windows 8

Thanks to Windows 8 the challenge of planning everything from a weekend break to a relaxing holiday in the sun is now much, much easier

Planning the perfect get away can be tricky. You need to make sure that you get the destination right and finding somewhere that’s not too far from the beach, airport, ski slope or historical town centre is not a challenge to be sniffed at. However, thanks to Windows 8 the challenge of planning everything from a weekend break to a relaxing holiday in the sun is now much, much easier.

It’s not just the planning of your holiday that a PC with Windows 8 can help you with either. Making your holiday completely unforgettable is easier too. Recording your experiences thorough photography, home-movies and blog posts, not to mention sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr are just a few ways to can keep those memories alive. Scouting out potential destinations, booking hotels and flights and letting the world know just what an amazing time you had is easy and thanks to Windows 8 you can do it all from the comfort of your sofa.

Windows 8 may get more headlines for the radical redesign it had when compared to previous versions, but there are a host of other features that often get overlooked. In this case there’s an application that comes free with Windows 8 that can help you getting started on your trek to the perfect holiday.

Go to the Start screen and type Travel. In the list of results you’ll find an app called Travel, click on it and your holiday planning can get started. This is the first step to helping you find the right places to visit. Naturally, you can search the web, but the beauty of the travel app is that all the content is specifically about the destinations and unlike a page of search engine results there are no spurious or unrelated pages that put you off the task of searching for the perfect getaway.

In the first instance, Travel shows you an introductory screen with a single place and appropriate image. Scroll or swipe right to left and you’ll find a list of destinations, again there’s a picture with each destination. Click on a place of your choice to find out more about it. There are photo galleries of what you can expect and quick links to flight and hotel prices. You can quickly see top rated attractions at each destination and hotel and restaurant reviews. The reviews are taken from the likes of Frommers, Lonely Planet and TripAdvisor so they’re the best mix of professional reviews and user generated opinions. To find out more about any of the rated items simply click on its name and you get further info right there in the application.

Counting the cost

Of course, once you’ve done the hard work of narrowing down your options and decided where you want to go and how much you want to spend there are a few more mundane tasks to perform. Managing your budget with an Excel spreadsheet might sound a little like overkill, but it’s a great way to make sure that you stick to the amount you want to spend; this is especially helpful if you’re booking different parts of the trip with a variety of companies.

Naturally, if you don’t have a copy of Excel on your PC you might think there’s no way to track the financial aspects of your trip, however, you can get access to a great free version of Excel that works in any web browser. Best of all, by using the online version your holiday budget planner will be available to you when you are away, so if you’re travelling light all you need is access to a PC and internet connection to see what shape your finances are in.

Keep a record

In days gone by the only way to track and record a holiday was to take hundreds of photographs before popping the rolls of film into Boots to have them developed in to prints. When you’ve waited and paid for the pictures you put them in an album that you never look at ever again. Now, though there are loads of ways that can help you document your trip and most are completely free.

Facebook is one natural destination for all your check-ins and holiday snaps as are many of the other social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram and the like. Those web-based sites are great where you have a net connection, but Windows 8 has a great photo management tool called, as you might expect, Photos. From this simple application you can manage the pictures stored on your computer and those you’ve uploaded to SkyDrive as well as streamlining the process of adding images from your digital camera. You can use the Photos tool to quickly share images in a number of ways.

Open the application and right-click on pictures to select them, then go to the share charm. Choose how you want to share the pictures, email, Twitter or another app and just click as appropriate. If you are a member of a photo-sharing service such as Flickr you can see the images here too. Finally, you can also use the Photos app to create a slideshow so you and your travel companions can see the day’s events played back on your laptop screen.

As well as the photographic imagery you might want to keep a more in-depth diary too and there are loads of choices for blogging your trip either browser based or apps like Word. If you have a webcam built-in to your laptop you could use it to keep in touch via Skype with those back home or to make video postcards to send to your friends and family.

From the planning to the actual event a holiday anywhere is something that deserves to be recorded and a Windows 8 laptop has the software to help you make it easy and fun to do. You’ll be able to share your memories with friends and family and show off you pictures with ease.

This article is part of the Dell Tech Zone series. Click here for more

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