THE BLOG

The Best Cloud-based Productivity Tools for Travel Writers

01/08/2015 05:42 EST | Updated 03/10/2015 05:59 EDT
Tom Merton via Getty Images

I live in the cloud.

The what?

The cloud, or to be more precise "cloud computing," simply means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of a computer's hard drive.

As PC Magazine said recently, "the cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet."

Over the past decade, countless professions have in fact been made possible thanks to the cloud. It's no longer necessary to download applications to a physical computer or maintain large data storage facilities physically.

Travel writing is certainly a profession that has benefited greatly from cloud-based tools in recent years.

Every day, my business runs smoothly thanks to a number of cheap or free cloud storage applications and tools that didn't even exist a few years ago. Here is a rundown of the best cloud-based tools for writers I can't live without.

Dropbox

Offering 2GB of free storage initially, with up to 18GB free by referring other users to the service, I love Dropbox mostly because it integrates with a wide range of apps, web services and devices. This means I get solid document syncing to help me organize my files. No other cloud storage service offers this same flexibility.

It's also easy to share Dropox links with content collaborators, so they can easily download documents, images and even video.

iCloud

iCloud offers 5GB of free storage for purchased from the Apple app store or iTunes along with the 1,000 most recent photos taken with and stored on Apple devices. Premium space can be purchased in $20/year increments.

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The iCloud service comes preloaded on iOS devices and Macs and syncs device settings, app data on these connected devices.

I use iCloud as more of a backup service for iOS and Mac than a full-fledged cloud storage tool.

Google Drive

Offering the largest amount of storage space for free, Google Drive starts users off with 15GB of shared space between Drive, Gmail and Google+ photos. Premium space can be purchased in $5/month increments.

I love using Google Drive for document editing. Basically by sending someone a link to a document stored on Google Drive, multiple people can edit a document, and changes are tracked throughout the process making this the best collaborative tool of all cloud storage options.

Plus, Drive seamlessly integrates with Gmail, which is a useful feature for Gmail users.

TripIt

Now, thanks to TripIt, in addition to storing documents and other content in the cloud, I can also store all of my travel plans in the cloud.

It's easy to forward all travel-related confirmation emails to a custom TripIt email address and you'll get a day-by-day itinerary including all this important information. The app can even generate driving directions based on your arrival airport and hotel reservation. Tap a flight in the app to get departure and arrival times, gates, terminals, flight duration, even the type of aircraft.

This has become an essential travel app for me.

What cloud services do you use?