Sunday, June 16, 2013

Trip Planning 101... [part 4 of 4]

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.”
-Benjamin Disraeli 

The final aspect of my planning...
[Find the other parts of the Trip Planning series here: 1, 2, 3]

Our trip planning file from our 2011 Yosemite trip... not the greatest photo I've taken, sorry!

The expanding multi-pocket file.

Right before we leave for our trip, I print and organize paper copies of many reference materials. Some of it I may never look at on the trip, but for me, it's better safe than sorry. I admit that this part may lean towards OCD, but it certainly calms my nerves.

Store all of your documents in a plastic expanding pocket file (like this).
  • Why a file rather than a folder? Because it's enclosed... I can throw this to the backseat and not worry about papers flying everywhere.
  • Why plastic? Because it's somewhat waterproof... No need to worry about a water bottle spilling in your backpack or getting caught in a rainstorm on a hike. 
  • Why multi-pockets? Because I can organize the documents by type or by date, whatever makes the most sense... I don't have to sort through my driving directions to find my hotel reservations.

The types of papers that are stored in here will depend on what type of trip we're planning. But some of the things that make it into my trip file include:
  • Driving directions from the airport to the first destination... Would hate to arrive and realize that our GPS is on the fritz, and we don't know where we're going.
  • Flight/hotel/car reservations... Yes, I know I have it all stored in my TripIt app, but I'm not quite convinced that the rinky-dink motel in the middle of nowhere is going to trust my iPhone.
  • Tickets to any prepaid activities... Wouldn't want to show up at our Bryce Canyon ATV tour with no record of our ticket purchase.
  • Trail maps... For each big hike that we know we're going to do, I try to print a trail map and directions... It only takes being lost on a trail once...
  • Printable coupons to attractions or restaurants... Occasionally in my research of tourism bureaus, etc. I run across coupons for 1/2 off a meal or $2 off admission... While a showing at the Zion Canyon Giant Theater may not yet be cemented on the itinerary, I'd be kicking myself knowing that there was a coupon out there to save me a couple of bucks.
  • Brochures, ticket stubs, etc.... This is also where I store the random memorabilia that I pick up throughout the trip. It makes a great keepsake after the trip is over. I have a whole shelf filled with pocket files from each of our vacations. Just flipping through the pockets is a trip down memory lane.

What do you do with the "stuff" that you gather from a trip? Before the trip begins? While on the road? After you get back home?


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