Updated: Jul 12, 2018
I am now just days away from my next long vacation. In true form, I am putting together another travel binder. This is the third travel binder I have put together. I recently showed my coworkers my excel spreadsheet which broke my trip down by hour by day. They said, "you won't be able to have any fun sticking to a schedule like that." I will explain exactly why I create a binder and if I stick to my strict travel timeline.
Why Do I Use Travel Binders?
The point of a travel binder for me is to be able to put together a plan on being able to see as much as I can in the time that I have in each destination. This is a place for me to be able to "brain dump" in an organized way! Once I go on my trip, I have everything printed and documented for each day so I can really enjoy my vacation.
If you have met me face to face and we have talked about traveling (chances are, we have) then you know that I have a huge anxiety of not being able to see all the places I want to in the world. Let's be real, I probably won't even see a quarter of the places I want to see.
What do I include in the Travel Binder?
Tickets for anything booked
Printed Google Map views of how to get from A to B
What do travel binders do for me?
Travel binders allow me to keep myself organized. There is nothing worse than getting to a foreign country and being lost. Like I mentioned earlier, I only want to go to one destination once. Because of that, I have to be as organized as I can in order to make it to as many places as I can.
I will never be the type of traveler to just "wing it" and go with the flow. I don't have time to waste when I travel so I am as detailed and think through as many of the details and document it.
How to Create a Travel Binder
Each person likes to stay organized in their own way, however, this is the method that works best for me.
Create your shell - If you are packing light for your trip, find a binder that is small, thinner and bendable. The binder that I have does not have the hard spine of a typical binder you probably used to using in school. It will end up taking up less room when I pack! Buy the clear glassines with the 3 hole punches that allow you to add information into.
Tip - I used one glassine per day that I am traveling
Add your daily itinerary - This is where "how" the information is recorded will vary by person. For me, I like knowing EXACTLY where to go, when so that when I am actually traveling I don't have to think! I am a Microsoft Excel lover! I love formulas, formatting, etc.
Tip - If you keep reading to the end of this post, I have a surprise for you!
Add in any admission tickets or day trip tickets - Even though a lot of the tour groups will allow you to show a mobile ticket, I still feel better about having a printed ticket. I typically don't use my phone when I am out of the country so I don't want to have to rely on it for whatever reason. I will add in my tickets with each day's itinerary.
Add in ground transportation bookings - It is always safe to keep your booking confirmation with you just in case something happens. Make sure you have a contact number on the print out in case something happens.
Add in lodging confirmations - Even though I print out my plan for getting from a train station or airport, I always make sure I have my lodging confirmation as well as the address on the print out.
Add in maps - This is where I can get pretty crazy. When I travel to a new destination, I always like to make sure I know how I am getting from point A to point B. I don’t want to have to waste any time trying to figure out where I am going.
Add in emergency information - Just in case anything happens, keep a sheet that includes phones numbers of your credit cards, emergency contacts, insurance, etc.
Save items on vacation - Now the fun part of the travel binder! You can keep ticket stubs, info pamphlets, anything that you want to keep for a memory or for a scrapbook.
If you are planning a big vacation, this excel template for planning out your trip by day is available for download!