The way that I organize my travel documents has changed an incredible amount over my lifetime. What do you need to carry with you when you travel? Where should you keep that information? How do you go about organizing travel documents? This article aims to give you a peek into my travel document case, and share my best practices.
My family would tell you that travel documents are the one of the thing that I am completely OCD about. They aren’t be wrong. I have a compulsion to make sure all my documents are in order and that the document case is with me during our journey from point A to point B. As technology has moved forward I’ve been experimenting with alternative methods of trip organization. I feel like I have finally settled in to a system that works to share with you.
Travel Document Technology
Being able to keep important documents easy to access and in the palm of your hand has always been a necessity for travelers. Traditionally, that meant carrying a small travel document case with all the papers inside. With the advent of smart phones and apps, it has become the norm to be able to carry just about any travel information you need on your phone. The following apps are the ones that I use most often when it comes to building a vacation itinerary and keeping it all together.
If you want to keep all your travel data in one place, I highly suggest downloading the TripIt application. This handy tools lets you build a master itinerary as its scheduled by simply forwarding confirmation emails to the app. You can also share your plans with non-travelers to keep them informed.
This has been my airline of choice lately, and the app makes it very easy to keep your boarding information on your phone. Most airlines today offer and app that makes your ticketing process paperless.
This one is especially handy when you are travel through unfamiliar airports. It gives you handy airport maps to help you locate information, restaurants, local weather forecasts, airport tips and much more. It will also propagate current departure times and gate information for your flights.
This app is unique to Disney Travel and it collects all of your Disney travel information (hotels, parks, restaurants, shopping and more) into one place. It also combines it with up-to-the-minute in Park mapping and scheduling that you can complete while you are moving around the Disney Parks. With the exception of non-Disney scheduled elements (such as your flights), the MyDisneyExperience App puts all the information that you need for your Disney vacation in the palm of your hand.
I like to take pictures of small peripheral things like my medical IDs, club cards, and passport. That way I have the information with me even if I have left the cards behind.
While planning my travel I create a spreadsheet with my itinerary in Google Sheets. This gives me an easy way to access the file and work on my on travel plans both at my computer, and when in on the go using my phone. This way, I can also easily share my planning paperwork with my traveling companions.
While I make sure that everything possible is loaded onto my smart phone before I leave, I still like to have paper copies for back-up. Paper copies don’t have access glitches, the batteries don’t run down, and you never have to struggle for a signal. I keep my paper back-ups in a travel document case that I keep in my carry-on bag. My document case tends to be the nerve center of my travel planning from the start. I keep a paper copy of everything that I have on my phone, as well as day to day organization that helps my trip run smoothly. Plus – if for some reason my phone and I get separated, I still have all my travel information at hand.
My Document Case Contents:
Airline Boarding Passes & Ticket Receipt
Hotel Reservations/ Online Check-In Confirmation
Ground Transportation Vouchers
Park & Attraction Tickets
Special Event Tickets
Daily Itinerary Spreadsheet
Travel Insurance Documents
Vital Medical Information & Insurance Cards
Club Cards/ Gift Cards/ Extra Credit Cards
Tip Envelopes (cash on hand for bus drivers, bell hops, and housekeepers)
Organized To Grab And Go
When it comes to organizing travel documents, I like to make sure everything is grab and go on a day-to-day basis. That means organizing the travel documents so all the hard tickets and reservations get clipped together into a packet for each day of travel. On the side of the case with the card pockets I keep extra ID, club membership cards, and emergency credit cards, and a spare checkbook.
My packeting system is pretty easy. I use envelopes and paperclips, marking them each with what day of the trip I will need those envelopes on.
All of my daily “packets” slip into the right hand file pocket of the document case. Once we’ve checked into our destination hotel, the whole case lives in the hotel room safe. Each day I pull out the corresponding packet and have everything I need ready to slip into my handbag.
So, that’s it! You now know how I organize my travel documents. I hope that this gives you ideas for pulling things together when planning a trip. How do you organize your travel documents? I would love to hear your methods in the comments below.