Picture this: You’re in rural New Mexico and, after a long, tedious drive you are about to check in to your motel for the night. But something’s wrong—the reservation you made weeks in advance isn’t showing up in the system. Even worse, you have no phone service and your laptop/iPad is dead. Now you’ve got tired kids and a short temper, and no way to prove that you pre-paid for a room.
There’s one thing that you could save you in this situation—a handy guide I call “The Bible.”
The bible is a notebook that I assemble for every trip with all the documents and printouts I need to have handy on the go. This includes all airline confirmation paperwork, car rental info, hotel confirmations, and copies of websites for all the places we plan to visit and restaurants we want to try out. All the day’s flights, rentals, and activities are organized by date (with the ease of notebook dividers).
All of this information can be accessed on your phone or laptop to be sure, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost power or service, and unless I had a hardcopy of the information I needed, I would have been stuck between a rock and a hard place.
An added convenience is that while I’m driving, my copilot can flip through the bible to double check on anything from museum hours, pricing, coupons—it’s all in there. Everyone on the trip can also easily see what’s coming up in the next few days without any hassle.
Here’s what I like to use to assemble my Bible…
- A floppy 1” binder (floppy is good so that it can bend if necessary to fit into a backpack)
- Page dividers labeled one for each day of your trip
- Print outs of all your flight, car rental, and hotel reservations as well as a summary web page of each activity (preferably the page that has the days/hours of operations and prices as well as a map if you’re lucky)
- A 3-hole punch
- A label on the cover with the states you’re covering, the dates, as well as a “please call if found xxx-xxx-xxxx (your cell phone #). We lost ours once and thankfully someone found it and called us because our number was on the cover.
Separate information for each day of the trip, using divider tabs for easy access. Place itinerary pages for the entire trip, along with airline ticket information and car rental info, at the front of the bible so the information is handy the minute you land.
Feel free to customize your bible any way you like. The key is to have all your information handy and organized, so that when you’re in a pinch, you don’t have to stress about the small stuff. If you are into scrapbooking, you can also add clear plastic sleeves for each day and put tickets, brochures and any other do-dads you collect in the pockets to save till you get home.
Extra bonus: When you get back, save your bible. After a few trips, you’ll have a nice little library documenting your travels. It’s a perfect way to remember all of the fun things you did and memories you made. Plus, if anybody wants to know where you went or what you did you can easily reference all your info.