I’m not much of a planner…at least not by design. As a person I’m pretty disorganized and chaotic. I used to get on a plane or a bus to a new city without a place to stay and just “figure it out” on the way there. If nothing came up on couchsurfing.org I’d checkout a local concert, make some new friends and crash at their place. I just never really cared much to plan my trips.
But now, things are a little different. Now I’ve got a husband and two kids coming along for the trip, and call him crazy but my husband just isn’t down with my old methods of finding lodging. He’s a planner, and likes to know exactly where he’s staying ahead of time. He needs to make sure it’s in a safe part of town and if it’s kid friendly. He likes to read reviews and compare his options. Something I used to think was a huge hassle.
But alas, he has converted me to the dark side. It turns out planning your trip ahead of time is actually pretty useful. It takes a lot of the stress out of the situation and makes sure you can spend your time exploring instead of on your phone googling and trying to make arrangements. I’ve come around to his way of traveling and it’s been amazing.
Especially when it comes to important travel documents. I used to pack my passport, a credit card and little else. If I’d ever been pickpocketed I would’ve been completely screwed. Now that I’ve crossed over to my husband’s way of thinking, I’m more of a planner than ever, and my travel documents are one of the most organized aspects of my trip.
If you’re traveling to a destination that might not have internet access, it’s smart to print off hardcopies of the following paperwork. Otherwise, I find it’s easiest to do this through email. I just create a specific folder for my trip in my email, then forward myself the following information for all members of the trip:
Documents To Store Online:
- Trip Itinerary
- Flight reservation confirmation
- Hotel reservation confirmation
- Ticket reservation confirmations (museum passes, tours, etc.)
- List of important phone numbers for the trip (hotel, tours, etc.)
- List of important phone numbers back home (doctor, emergency contact, etc.)
- Scanned copies of all passports
- Scanned copies of all visas
- Scanned copies of all drivers’ licenses (if anyone is planning on driving)
- Travel insurance information
- Relevant health information (Doctor’s name, health conditions and list of medications you take)
- Scanned list of medication prescriptions
- List of up-to-date shots and vaccinations
If you’re filling up your email folder, you can also include links to any interesting articles or things to do on your trip. Sometimes I create an entire Pinterest board with article links, and then just send myself the link to my board via email!
Don’t forget to check my list for avoiding unnecessary fees abroad as well! Happy travels!