This year, my family and I were fortunate enough to go on the trip of a lifetime. In January, my husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary, so we decided to celebrate this milestone by going on a three-week-long, bucket-list kind of European vacation. We brought our kids, ages 17 and 15, along with us because–like us–they love to travel and see new places. And let’s be real, it would’ve been pretty awful of us to pawn two teenagers off on an unsuspecting family member. FOR THREE WEEKS. But I digress…

Anyway, we began planning this trip almost a year in advance. With stops in Lucerne, Vienna, Budapest, and Prague, we really needed an easy way to organize our train travel and the sights we wanted to see. If you’ve ever been to any of these places, you know that there are a million interesting spots to visit…in each city! This is when my husband came up with a brilliant idea. Because he’s a technology nerd (and a lover of all things Atlassian), he suggested that we create a Trello board to organize our vacation.

In case you’re new to the Atlassian toolset and don’t know the background, Atlassian acquired Trello in 2017. Initially created by Fog Creek Software in 2011, and then spun out to create the foundation for a separate company in 2014, it was eventually sold to Atlassian. Atlassian likes Trello because it’s a great way to visualize new or existing Jira issues. It also integrates seamlessly with Confluence and Bitbucket. With Trello, you can add cards for each task, under separate columns, which represent an issue.

So here’s how we set up our European vacation Trello board. Each column on the board represented a city, and then we created cards for every sightseeing destination we wanted to visit. For instance, we created a card for St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna. All four of us pitched in and created cards for the top attractions we wanted to see. Another cool thing about using a Trello board is that all family members can either “up-vote” or “down-vote” some of the cards that are created. I’m not going to lie; this did cause just a tiny bit of conflict. But it was also gratifying to see our kids get so excited about planning our trip, contributing their ideas, and adding their own personal flair to the board.

So here’s my advice, which you can take with a grain or a pound of salt. Whether it’s a family vacation you’re planning, a major life event like a graduation or a wedding or a move, consider using a Trello board to visualize your to-dos and make your life easier in general. It’s fun, informative AND helpful!

As a sidebar, I might never forgive my husband for accidentally booking the four of us in a six-person sleeping car on our train trip from Zurich to Vienna. But, that is a story for another time.

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