Practical and detailed planning and organisation can seem tedious; it can be tempting to take the chance and just ‘go with the flow.’ However, planning and having structured organisation will make your travels far smoother and will take away a majority of the stress. In this concise guide to planning your perfect holiday will be an itinerary of what you should take with you, various additional information, and what apps you should have on your phone or tablet.
How to Start
Beginning your organisation, you should put together a package, folder, pouch, or bag that can be easily accessible when in a busy airport. It should be able to fit multiple documents, tickets, currency, and ensure they are not creased or unreadable. Once you have your organised pouch, you should take then next step, which is preparing the contents.
Flight Tickets & Itinerary
Print any confirmation of flights, including online boarding tickets and the full flight itineraries, with booking references and flight numbers. When at the airport, request the boarding pass to be printed again, regardless of self printed copies. (You can never have too many copies, just be extra safe.)
Airport Taxi or Driver Confirmation & Reservation (for Destination/s)
It is always easier to book a taxi or driver in advance, a few days before the trip. This makes the arrival at the destination easier and less stressful; it will also be cheaper than the airport taxis waiting outside the terminal.
Make sure all hotel confirmations are printed off, with a clear address of the accommodation that you will being staying at. Also make sure the price is on the document. If you have multiple hotels, then organise them in date order, so it is easy to refer to and easily available upon arrival.
It seems excessive, but you should write down an itinerary of the trip, with times and dates, including times to set off to the airport, terminals, hotels and the activities that are pre booked or 100% decided on. This allows all important information to be in one place, and if necessary can be copied for members of the travelling group or family wanting to follow your trip. It also allows for a quick reminder of all information regarding the trip that can be accessed quickly.
Currency & Exchange Rate Slip
Keeping your currency together and separate from your home currency is key for not getting muddled up at the counter of a busy shop. Upon arriving at your destination, swap the currency for an easy switch over. If travelling to multiple destinations, keep separate packets of each currency and swap over as you visit each place (there is nothing worse than trying to pay for something with money from another country). The exchange rate slip explains itself, acting as a rough guide that will help on managing your finances whilst away.
Scrap Note Paper & Pen
Simple, but arguably the most important. Jot down numbers and new booking information, or absolutely anything. Also, flying to USA and most countries in South East Asia requires passengers to fill in ‘nothing to declare’ and visa forms on arrival to the country. (Don’t make it too obvious you have a pen, or the whole plane will be borrowing it).
What to Download
Having a full organisational pouch is very important, but with technology advancing and apps making everything easy and quick, there are a few apps that are absolutely crucial on keeping yourself organised and well informed whilst on holiday. Whether you use your phone abroad or simply rely on wifi, most places have a wide range of free wifi hotspots that are available, and with Starbucks and McDonald's situated in most countries both supplying free wifi, staying in touch or doing some research is never an impossible task.
Here are a few apps that you should download before getting on the plane:
- booking.com & airbnb.com: These apps will contain all reservations in a digital form and available on most devices which ensures a protected copy of all the reservations. Also allowing quick access if any additional bookings need to take place.
- cheapflights.com: Not so much to be used as a storage for reservations, but as a reserve and available backup if plans change or you need to book a cheap flight quickly.
- Local guide & public transport apps: Essential for research of the local area and activities available. Understanding public transport is the most useful skill for visiting any new destination.
- XE Currency: An up-to-date currency converter which can become very useful when out shopping or haggling at local markets. Can also be a great tool for budgeting your holiday.
- Airline apps: Almost every airline has their own app which enables the traveller to log in to change seats, upgrade class, and choose meals. The apps also let the user download boarding passes and check into flights remotely.