Keeping your travel documents organized is a top priority if you want a stress-free travel experience. There is nothing worse than getting to the ticket counter when checking in for your flight and frantically having to dig through your bag to find your passports, thinking for half a second you may have forgotten them, as you feel daggers at your back from strangers in the queue behind you. Here are our top tips for avoiding these situations and staying organized while travelling:
1. Keep things separate
Keep your travel documents, credit cards, loyalty cards all in one place, ideally, in a travel document wallet. They generally come with a zipped section (perfect for any local currency) and sections for your passports, tickets, documents and credit cards. Keep this travel document wallet in a particular section of your bag and always keep it there. Now when you have to get out your passports, you know exactly where in your bag to look and then when you pull out your travel wallet, you know exactly where to find your passports.
You should also have a plastic folder to keep all of your printed out itineraries, confirmations and large pieces of paper. If you end up with a small airline ticket, they are easier to keep in your travel wallet but if you have the large ticket that you printed at home, you may prefer to keep it in your folder. Within this folder, have a section for things that you will likely not need but still need to keep with you e.g. insurance policy and ESTA for non-Canadian residents who need an ESTA when travelling to US by air (technically you don’t need a printout and yet we have been asked for it on a number of occasions so it is better to have it with you and not need it than have the stress of being asked for it and trying to explain that technically you don’t need a print out).
2. Keep things in chronological order
Keep your documents in the order you will need them. Have the information about airport parking or transfer at the top, then your flight information, then your transfer to the hotel information and then the documents you need to check in at your hotel etc. Once you have finished with that document, put it to the back.
3. Highlight any key information
Such as important phone numbers, policy numbers or the address of the hotel.
4. Make photocopies and keep them separate
Take photocopies of your passport and make sure you keep them in a different bag from the originals. You could also scan them and have a digital copy with you (either email it to yourself or have it on a laptop with you).
5. Keep a pen handy
Keep it with your passport, as you will need your passport information to fill out immigration forms. Never underestimate the importance of having a pen handy! While we are on the topic of custom and immigration forms, always try to fill them out before you arrive at the queue (e.g. on the plane instead) as there’s nothing worse than having to fill out the form while people are streaming past you and the long line grows longer.
6. Take your insurance policy with you
Always take your insurance policy with you so you know exactly who to contact and what you need to do should you need to use your insurance.
With these top tips you can make getting to your destination as stress-free as being at your destination!
Family Travel Specialist