Travel Planning – Part 1 – Get organised

As I mentioned, I am starting a holiday planning series for people wanting to break away from the holiday brochures and go it alone planning their holidays. Whether you want to go off the beaten track or want to source individual elements to save money, holiday planning is my ultimate favourite thing to do.
I have holidays planned years in advance, I am that organised. When I see a great tip, or museum review or some key dates, I like to jot them down for future reference. 
To start with, I like to keep notes. I mean lots of notes. From tips on travel website deals, frequent flyer log in details, hotel recommendations, taxi numbers and booking confirmations. I make lists of lists. I am THAT person. I’m not even ashamed. I make shopping lists to compare prices from UK to duty free to the destination which is handy if you know you want to buy that new perfume but you can work out where it is the cheapest and make note of it and all the other cool brands you might want to try on holiday.

I quite often like to theme my notepads around a venue or theme of the holiday. For example,  I have a notepad for an upcoming trip to Paris, I have  New York specific Moleskine from their City range, a notepad with cars on the front from our trip to Cuba and a book with cherry blossom on for Japan which I hope to visit in the next year or two. I always aim for A5 as I find that fits in most of my bags and isn’t too cumbersome if I carry it with me while I am on holiday or read on a plane.

I find stationery helps me get organised and focused. I usually buy my stationery online and always err on the side of functionality over appearances. From hard covers and wipe clean plastics to multi packs. My most recent haul of stationery was courtesy of Viking Direct. An online retailer, Viking sell everything from paper to pens to office chairs. The whole works in one handy place.  Viking have a great selection of notepads and diaries from utilitarian to cutesy coloured ones and everything in between. If you have a home office it’s a good place to start to keep yourself stocked up!
In my handy notebooks, I can pin clippings from travel brochures or magazines. I always keep a handy highlighter and pack of page markers with my pad for annotating guide books and passages on print outs and booking confirmations.
Mr Tramp is a recent convert to Planning journals. He would amble through a holiday with scraps of paper and beer mats with addresses on or just wander round hopelessly looking for a bar he heard was good. With good planning, you can jot the address down and have it to hand. Having a planning journal isn’t about planning your holiday time out with military precision it is about having all the information you could need in one place.
While we are away I find it a good place to keep tickets, receipts and business cards that you would want to keep as momentos safe and undamaged. You can jot down what you ate in restaurants or people you have met along the way.
The other good thing about keeping books like this is if a friend goes to the same place, you can pass on the notebook for their use. If you revisit a place you can always add more to a book and it makes a nice keepsake to keep as a memory, especially if things change over time. I am big on experiences and getting the most from holidays so I find this is my sure fire way to get organised so I don’t miss anything and certainly wont forget anything.
Are you a holiday planner or do you like to just turn up and let a guide lead the way?
* Stationery, in part supplied by Viking Direct – Paris book, Destination book, Red Moleskine + Highlighters. Everything else bought by myself

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