Our Trip Notebook – How We Stay Organized

I’m sure that there are some seniors and others out there who are like me – a little technology challenged.  I have an IPhone but leave it off when traveling abroad fearing that somehow I’ll end up with thousands of dollars of charges.  I don’t have an IPod either and I’m leaving behind my laptop (too heavy) for this big trip of ours.  I needed to find another way to stay organized while traveling.

We have come up with a system that works for us when we travel whether it is domestically or internationally.  It helps us stay organized and keeps all of our paperwork, tips, confirmations and maps together.

We travel with a flexible three ring notebook.  Ours has a clear pocket cover so we slip in our itinerary so we can glance at it quickly.  Inside we have our flight information.


We then have dividers for each of the cities we are visiting with maps, public transportation maps


as well as a list of places that we want to visit rated by Trip Advisor and from other sites.  There is nothing worse than going to a city and forgetting to see a site that you wanted to see.

J3I also have copies of emails from friends and forums that list things that I should see or do.  Everyone usually is so helpful with sharing information and I don’t want to leave that information behind.  We also put in our notebook all confirmation that we have for excursions, hotel rooms, etc.  As we travel, we have the option of getting rid of the pages we no longer need

We found this method to be invaluable a few years ago.  We had made reservations at a small B&B in Switzerland.  What it actually turned out to be was renting a room in someone’s home – more like an AirBnB than what I think of as a B&B.  We showed up late afternoon and no one was there.  So Blogger Hubby and I drove around and had dinner out.  We went back to this complex where there are our version of townhouses/condo with a multi car shared garage.  I saw a car pull in and I asked the couple if they knew Mr and Mrs “X”.  They looked a little wide eyed at me and it dawned on me that it was them.  I told them we had a reservation for the night.  They denied having any reservations; that’s why they went away for the weekend.  I whipped out my email confirmation out of my notebook and they seemed surprised.  They asked if we had reconfirmed it.  That was a new concept for me.  I said no, we had the written confirmation.  Nevertheless, they quickly brought us into the home, charged us half price and made up the room.  I was really glad that we had the written email to show.  IF it was on my IPhone, I probably would have had to go through many messages to find it but doing it our way, it is at our fingertips.

I’ve just heard about Evernote.  I haven’t tried it but it may work for you.  My son uses TripIt but I found that it culled all the emails of mine when friends would send their flight info and it would think that it was mine.  I haven’t tried it in awhile so it may be fixed.  Let me know if you use either of these sites.




















9 thoughts on “Our Trip Notebook – How We Stay Organized

  1. Not really on topic, but the comment about using pencil holder pouches brought it to mind: I find that packing things into clear bags – plastic with or without ziplock, see-thru cosmetic cases, etc. – makes finding things much easier. For example, I no longer need to sort through a pouch with my hair things to find an elastic band or comb, because I can see exactly where it is. I use clear pouches of various sizes for just about everything and it makes locating them while traveling much faster.

  2. Another useful item since you are using a 3 ring type binder – pick up one of those flat pencil holder pouches with a zipper made to go in a 3-ring binder. I just got one from my local dollar store (of course, it was $2 – lol), but I am sure you can find it in Staples, Wal-Mart, etc., since it’s back-to-school time.
    This is handy for storing receipts, and any small papers (business cards, etc.). My store had them in all kinds of colors. Useful even if you don’t use a ring binder. This is definitely going on my next trip.

  3. I, too, am “old world” and don’t use electronic data holding very much. We use a itinerary holder from AAA. But I like your idea as it will hold a lot more stuff. I think we’ll use it this fall on our trip to D.C. and the outer banks.

  4. One more thing – my tablet came with Dropbox, so just before I leave I can put my trip document in Dropbox, and it’s immediately on my tablet. Now that’s handy

  5. I, too, am a senior- mid 60’s. Have been using a similar system for years. Use a “plastic” folder with folding clips to hold 3 ring binder pages. Have used a narrow flexible binder for a 16 day trip, but prefer the folders (use 2 if it’s a long trip). Use sheet protectors and slip in all my reservations, tickets, sightseeing info, restaurants, directions, etc., and put it into the folder in order, with a few blank sheet protectors at the back. The folder fits nicely into the back pocket of my lightweight LeSportsac bag, so readily available when I am in transit (and then I slip it in the front of my carryon).

    I create my daily itineraries in Word, pasting in info I gather online – including Google Maps and photos, if needed (I shrink these down). Each day, I take that day’s pages (unstapled), and slip them into an empty sheet protector, which I fold in half and can carry in the back pocket of my crossbody day bag for easy reference. The sheet protector keeps pages from getting wet and from tearing in my hands. When I finish page one, I move it to the back and page 2 is ready for viewing. Keeps me from standing on the street reading out of a big guidebook (although I often have one tucked inside my crossbody).

    The sheet protectors will also hold the maps, brochures, ticket stubs, restaurant card/bills, with each day’s notes which helps when I go through my photos after the trip. And they eliminate the need for separator tabs in the folder.

    Don’t have a smartphone that will work overseas, and my Samsung tablet is wifi only, so I find it easy to just have this at my fingertips.

  6. Even though I keep trying to keep all my trip-related info in files I can access on my ipad, which I travel with, I also like plain, old fashioned paper copies and travel with certain info both online and in paper.

    BTW, if you keep your iPhone in airplane mode when traveling, you’ll be fine and no have surprising roaming charges. Next time you are near an Apple store, anyone there can show you how to protect yourself from them when abroad. I believe there is another way to do it too where you can shut off just the phone, or data, etc. We carry our phones because if we end up in a place with free wifi, we can take advantage of it. We also use apps with maps we’ve previously downloaded. And we’ve never had a roaming charge since discussed how to avoid them with an Apple guy.

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