spreadsheets and suitcases

organization + travel = family fun


on August 2, 2014

So, even though this blog is on The Internet, I’m actually a very low-tech kind of person.  I own a film camera, only really started texting heavily within the last year, I use a paper calendar/daily planner, and I don’t own a smartphone.  I know!  Lest you think I’m actually stuck in the Dark Ages or tapping this out via Morse Code, I do own an iPod Touch, so I have access to some apps.  But I can only use them when I’m home and connected to my Wi-Fi.

I realize I’m missing out on some smartphone-esque ways to plan travel, like the TripIt app to keep all those confirmation emails in one place, or the AwardWallet app to manage hotel loyalty/frequent flyer memberships and expiration dates, and many, many, more.

The thing is, I really enjoy doing it this way.  Organization relaxes me.  Arranging and rearranging itineraries is one of my favorite ways to pass an evening (especially if some trashy reality TV is on in the background).  My trip process is usually as follows:

  1. decide where to go (can be a general region, such as D.C., or specific place, such as Disney World)
  2. begin a new spreadsheet and name the trip (remember to use a kicky font)
  3. go to the library for tour guides
  4. research and start spreadsheeting; this includes changing my mind eleventy billion times about every aspect of the trip, and complaining at least half that many times about having to fly over water
  5. begin to confirm hotels, rental cars, flights, etc. and print out the confirmations for my trip planning binders

    The lowest of all possible techs

    The lowest of all possible techs

  6. obsessively coordinate the information in the binders and spreadsheets (remember, I enjoy this process!)
  7. talk my husband’s ear off about my plans record my adventures on this blog 🙂
  8. print final itineraries for everyone on the trip to keep in their wallets (husband), crumpled in their pockets or forgotten altogether (the tween), neatly posted on the fridge (my parents), or carried in the binder like a huge nerd (me!)
  9. enjoy the trip, knowing I’ve done all I can to squeeze in lots of Fun stuff
  10. refer to previous trip planning materials so I can do it all over again for the next voyage


You, dear reader, can use whatever resources you wish to make the most out of each trip.  The nice thing is, there are lots of right ways to do it.  Even if all you do it create a new folder in your inbox (“Tour of Toledo 2014”) to contain all the confirmation info, you are ahead of the game organization-wise.  The most important thing is to go somewhere.  I’ll leave you with a quote that I love.

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”


4 responses to “Technology-cakes

  1. Heather says:

    But the funnest part of travelling IS the planning and research involved!


  2. gina says:

    love your ideas. I still believe you are lucky to live there!


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