spreadsheets and suitcases

organization + travel = family fun

A tour of My Planning/Trip Binder

on April 2, 2017

Hey friends (and several new followers)!  This post was requested by Jen 🙂  She wanted to know more about my Trip Binder and how I organize this low-tech item.  So here we go!

planning binder11

Here she is at my office.  That’s my eBags Kayla Town Square bag that I use for work.

First, the hardware.  I wanted a binder that was flexible in both senses of the word- able to be customized, and bendy.  I looked at what seemed like a million options online, narrowed it down to a few styles and brands, then headed to Fisher Hawaii, a local Staples-like store.  It’s dangerous in there for me…so many fun office supplies.  But this time I went with a singular purpose- to find the perfect planning/trip binder. And they had it!  In BLUE!

As you can see, it’s called a “view-tab presentation binder.” That’s because even when the binder is closed, you can still view the colorful tabs.  This is a really nice feature.  It probably only saves a second or two of time when needing to open the binder to get stuff out, but I appreciate it.  It came with instructions to a custom template and link to online software to make a sheet of paper with the names of the tabs so they lined up perfectly, like so:

planning binder9

You are supposed to use a whole sheet paper here, held in place by both plastic bits.  I cut mine before I realized that, but I’ve never had a problem with it sliding out of place.

planning binder7

I see that this picture is a little out of focus.  Here are the tab names: flights (confirmations & e-tickets), accommodations (hotels, staterooms), transport (rental car, train, public transit), activities (itinerary, hours, details), tickets (official entry, reservations), maps (routes and directions), misc (extra information), and there’s one more tab on the bottom that says future tripsto infinity and beyond!  I have that last one because I’m often planning more than one trip at a time, so I organize any details there, but then take the whole section out and leave it at home when traveling.

And here’s the far view, with a close-up of the graphic:

Those cutouts on the inside front cover are meant to hold a business card (top), and CD/DVD (bottom).  Rarely used.  The tabs, which come with the binder, allow me to put the information I need into perfect order using my trusty 3-hole punch.  I added two of these sealable pouches from Day Runner.  I move them around into different tabs as needed.

planning binder6

They were very useful for holding the Hershey Park tickets which had been mailed to us in advance of our 2014 NY/NY/PA road trip (in the tickets tab), for holding the physical Budget Rental Car voucher worth $100 that we got by using up the last of DH’s Barclay Arrival+ points (in the transport tab) for the Quinceañera trip, and as you can see, they are a great place to store an extra pen and highlighter (often in the misc tab).

Here’s another great thing about this binder.  There is a clear plastic insert so one can drop in a customized image.  You know, like how in high school people would  slide in wallet-sized pictures of their friends/boyfriend, fun drawings, etc? And in most presentation binders, there is a usually another clear insert so you can customize the spine.  It’s all fun and games until you want to take that skinny piece of paper out and replace it.  It’s nearly impossible.  Well, this insert is an all-in-one.  You use one piece of paper for the front and side, and drop it in with little fuss.  I did have to trim a bit, but it comes with a template for arranging all the images to make it easy.  This is the best picture I could take to illustrate this feature.

planning binder12

It’s all one page 🙂  I designed my sheet in my Powerpoint, which makes it very easy to move images around and put them exactly where I want them.

Pop quiz!

  1. Where in Hawaii can one get lost in a wonderful sea of office supplies?  Also the only place I go at school supply shopping time (YASSSSS).

Fisher Hawaii 🙂

   2.  What tab would you add your printed hotel confirmation to?

accommodations 🙂

   3.  What is my name?

Did you catch the shortened version of my name on the cover?  It says Vero’s Planning Binder.  It’s short for Verónica.  That’s me 🙂

Anybody else have a nice system for organizing travel stuff?  I know a lot of apps are available, like TripIt, which organizes your day for you with info from your forwarded confirmation emails.  As you know, I prefer a low-tech approach, especially since I haven’t reached the point where my phone contains the details of my entire life.  My sister did quite well with just one of these to hold the mandatory paper she needed, as she does a lot more with her phone.

pocket folio

I’d love to see how everyone else keeps their stuff at hand.  I’m always willing to learn.  Thanks!

6 responses to “A tour of My Planning/Trip Binder

  1. gina says:

    love it! so much to learn.


  2. VivaLaDiva405 says:

    Those cutouts on the inside front cover look like a happy, serene Te Fiti cradling her arms and smiling 🙂


  3. Jen says:

    Oh, I love it! Thanks for sharing!


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