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How do you organize your travel Documents? I Need a Good System.

How do you organize your travel Documents? I Need a Good System.

Aug 31st, 2003, 07:28 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 442
My wife and I jointly organize all our travel materials before a trip.

She types everything up on Word, using Landscape, with several columns going across the page. She puts in the

Day of the week (M, T, W, etc),
Hotel name, underlined
the next line under this category
is the hotel address
then the hotel phone #, FAX#, email
address, web site
Reservations #
Other - like hotel shuttle #, etc.

At the bottom of this first page are our flight information, car reservation, etc.

On a second page, she types up :
Day of the week
Name, address, phone #, etc. of the tour, museum, or other major sightseeing event for that day

Every person going on the trip - my wife, myself, our children, etc. - each gets one copy of these printouts.

For ourselves, my wife's typed up itinerary forms the first few sheets of a three ring binder.

I then print out all the rest of the materials from the internet and I use a three ring binder. E.g., driving information from Viamichelin.

Then I organize each segment and separate each segment with a sheet of colored paper. I tab each sheet of colored paper with a Post-It which has the name of the city/ segment written on it for easy reference.

I have an old flat computer case and we put all our maps, travel guides, the three ring binder, etc. into this computer case. The computer case then fits into my backpack.

We travel very light and try to make everything do double duty. The backs of the used computer sheets are used by my wife for keeping her "journal", her writeup of the trip.

Once abroad, we take a couple of envelopes from the hotel that we are staying in and keep all our receipts for that city in those hotel envelopes which has the hotel name and the city printed on the front.

These hotel envelopes are also handy for keeping all small change and small bills. When we get home with a bunch of foreign money, we don't have to try and figure out where they came from!

On our next trip, we just pull out the relevant envelopes and have some "local" money immediately on arrival.

Hope this helps! and that you devise a comfortable system for yourself!

jason888 is offline  
Aug 31st, 2003, 07:47 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 335
Wow - I feel better now -knowing there are other "organizationally excessive" travelers out there!

I tend to plan and plan and plan. What helps me during the planning stage is getting one of those accordian folders. I like the see through plastic type. I put labels in it for car/travel and then each city with details on where we are staying, what to see in the area etc.

Then when it comes time to leave for the trip, I purchase a couple of those clear/see through folders. The kind that use either velcro or strings to keep it closed. I put about 1 week of info in each one. I print out my Itinerary, directions to B&Bs, places to see. These are great , because you can put your Itinerary in facing out one side, and never have to take it out - you can see it all the time.
I also purchase a couple of the envelope size ones - legal size , around 4 x 9 - to use for receipts and such.

Worked great for my last 4 trips. Hope this helps.
Debbie is offline  
Aug 31st, 2003, 08:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,352
I have said this before,... but it works for us.

We stack printouts of everywhere we would like to visit on a trip on the livingroom floor.

We let the cats sort through them for a while.

What we can find, is our itenerary.
icithecat is offline  
Aug 31st, 2003, 11:00 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 167
Thanks so much for the helpful info on printing 3X5 cards! ('Certainly beats recopying everything by hand onto the cards.)
Now if only I could do a better job of editing the material I gather from Fodor's (I take too much with us).
suzy is offline  
Sep 1st, 2003, 07:37 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 677
My system has evolved slowly (and sometimes painfully) over the years, but there are two things I have discovered that make overseas traveling considerably less frustrating. Both apply primarily to the organization of information and documents that will be used on the road, as opposed to the planning stages.

For organizing documents (car and hotel reservation confirmations, internet printouts, brochures, etc.), I carry a thin plastic "accordion" organizer designed for 8.5x11 sheets, and group all documents related to an area (whether it be a base city or a daytrip) in one section.

For organizing information, I create a Word document that includes all the relevant information on a given location. This would include obvious details such as the address and phone of the hotel and important sites. But also things like laundromats and transportation details (e.g., how to get to the hotel from the airport, train station or highway). Since I have a strong interest in photography, I even include a list of specific photos that I want to shoot (e.g., Neuschwanstein from Marienbrucke). Finally, I insert map images into the Word document. These would typically be maps obtained from the website of the hotel, or a bike rental place, etc. I only include maps of places that I suspect may be difficult to locate.

For some destinations, this information can be condensed to a single, well organized sheet. For others, it may require three of four sheets. The important thing is that the details are organized.
smueller is offline  
Sep 1st, 2003, 08:31 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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My friends and family laugh about me being an organizational freak, glad there are others like me out there. Before going to Italy this time, I took digital photos of my living room, printed the photos and put measurements of spaces on the wall, front of the fire place etc (knowing I wanted to bring home some tiles, art, etc.) It worked great, as we knew just what size would fit where. I also took a piece of my wallpaper and pillow fabric to match colors. In San G, we pulled out the samples and the store owner smiled and said "Americana....so organized!"
travel52 is offline  
Sep 1st, 2003, 08:43 AM
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I use mnemomics - I found my brain to be quite portable and waterproof
playlad is offline  
Sep 1st, 2003, 08:49 AM
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Mnemonics - I'm dislexi..dslys ..bad speller
playlad is offline  
Sep 1st, 2003, 11:56 AM
Original Poster
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Posts: 140
Thank you all for replying to my question...So many responses, so many wonderful systems. I am now clearer on what I need and how I will access the information for this trip. Thanks again!
bonlou30 is offline  
Sep 1st, 2003, 01:07 PM
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Thank you bonlou30 from the bottom of my heart for posting this question. And thank you everyone else for answering.

It's Monday late afternoon; we're off to Rome Thursday morning and I'm having a MAJOR MELTDOWN right now trying to organize all my notes into one cohesive form. Yeah, yeah, I should have done this last week at least, but I'm a last minute kind of person...rescued by this wonderful post!
Sep 1st, 2003, 01:11 PM
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LOL icithecat
BrimhamRocks is offline  
Sep 1st, 2003, 06:46 PM
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I admire all the organizationally enhanced( great quote Marylin)fodorites of this post...I usually make a copy of all the things I want to see and put them in a large folder, trains reservations, hotels addresses and confirmations go in another, trains and airplanes tickets are safe in my travelling purse with a zipper. I have a special two sided zipper pouch for my passport.I make some extra copies of my passport also, just in case something happens.
I admire the people that faithfully keep a journal of their trip, unfortunately is something that I never do and I rely mostly on my memory, but fortunately I take a lots of pictures of my trips.
kismetchimera is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2003, 04:52 AM
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Boy and I glad I'm not the ONLY one! It is such a relief to read this thread and know that there are "others" like me. Also, thanks for even MORE organizations tips, everyone. DH will be thrilled...ha!

Marilyn, love your quote....I'll remember that one the next time I'm accused of being too much like Monk.

Cheers to those of us who are "organizationally enhanced!"
Statia is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2003, 09:37 AM
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Thanks kismet & Statia. Statia, I bet your DH doesn't complain when you can put your hands right on the tickets or the hotel address or the museum hours. So far, no one has suggested I'm obsessive-compulsive like Monk!
Marilyn is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2003, 09:46 AM
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I love Monk!!!
my hero
Debbie is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2003, 10:18 AM
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When I travel to Europe I usually leave my DH at home babysitting our numerous pets..He does not mind, and he understand how important is for me to go back to my roots and how much I love to travel.. his nick name for me is go..go..girl..
Beside, when he was in the Air Force, he was the one that was gone most of the time.. but it was his job, so I did not mind being Mom and Dad while he was away...
kismetchimera is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2003, 06:30 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 214
As far as organizing, I use see through plastic 9or whatever it is, envelopes for each major destination. This works well because then I can keep stuff I pick up along the way in them.
But--I also scan by important stuff--including passport, tickets, etc. and then e-mail it all to myself. If I really get stuck, I can just go to a cybercafe and print off what I need. Fortunately, I have never needed to do this.
janelp is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2003, 05:30 AM
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Marilyn, you're right! Actually, DH loves my being so organized and quite often brags to his friends how he can ask me for a certain document from...say 1993...and I can put my hand on it in 2 minutes. He, on the other hand, isn't all that organized, so he says we compliment each other well.

Regarding Monk, I have actually had a few friends say that I remind them of him....but it's always in an endearing way. I would hate to think that I'm THAT obessesive/compulsive. ha.
Statia is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2003, 12:59 PM
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Statia, you are a woman after my own heart. Do you ever wonder what it would be like to be married to someone who was MORE organized than you? So that you were the disorganized one in the relationship?
Marilyn is offline  
Jan 7th, 2004, 01:52 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 225
In the past year I've taken three transatlantic trips and am about to embark on the first one for 2004, and I always use my PDA to keep the details handy, and I keep some paper confirmations in a binder.

Digital method:
Generally, I enter all the details in the memos section of the PDA under each travel day, i.e. 'DAY ONE London 1/14/04 Wednesday', I add lists of what's open I want to see, where it is, hours, what I can do only on that day like guided walks or museum curate tours etc.. I also have a running list in the memo section of pubs, restaurants and sites for general searching on any day.

I traveled a variety of different people who would all by the second day turn to me and say, 'What are we doing today?" and I'd pull out the PDA and say 'Well, we could do this...or go here...or here..." Although I have some info in paper, I can't tell you how much nicer it is to have a small 5 ounce digital guide with all your info. I never felt too touristy when I pulled it out to find some information, and my new one even has an MP3 player to replace my cd player, and a camera.

Paper system:
I also keep a 3 ring binder divided by country or city, in order of travel where I print out copies of confirmations from hotels, car rental, and misc other activities. In some cases it's printed out from e-mail since I do most of my planning online, and in other cases I tear out bits of info from guidebooks or magazines and clip them in. I find the binder helpful because I can fold over or remove sheets once were done in that area. And I susually just keep it in the suitcase while out during the day and use it in the hotel.
I used this method to organize the details of my trip in September to Scotland to get married for 6 family members travelling as well as our honeymoon trip to Ireland.
emjoy is offline  

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