Travel Tip #9. Make Reservations in Advance
Jul 28, 2015
Make all important reservations in advance and organize all your confirmations and other travel documents for easy access.
When your husband was alive, you might have risked a road trip without hotel reservations every night. It is not a wise thing to do as a widow. For peace of mind, I want to know before I leave home that I am not going to have unpleasant surprises.
I travel at least monthly, so I may carry organization to the extreme, but I want to enjoy my destination. I do not want to worry about the details. Hotels, restaurants, airport transfers, car rentals on those rare occasions when I’m driving—all booked in advance. Depending on circumstances, I may use Amex Platinum, the hotel concierge or Open Table. I utilize the perks of Platinum (Amex and American Airlines) and Avis Chairman’s Club. I like having their 800 numbers in case of emergency. I also buy trip insurance and exchangeable airline tickets. It doesn’t cost as much for me to travel as it would for Lev and me. I justify (or rationalize) that that makes spending a few extra dollars to ensure my safety and peace of mind worthwhile.
After five years of constant travel, I still find it difficult to plan and organize the paperwork for multiple trips at once. Again, I may overdo the organization. I keep a portable file box on my desk with those papers I refer to regularly, such as trips, work pending, season tickets. At first, I insert copies of airline and hotel reservations into the “trips” folder. I may add travel articles about my destination. If the trip grows complicated or too fat for a large paper clip, I create a separate folder for it. When the trip draws near, I place the folder on my desk, and I pile on top of it whatever papers I may need to take. I make a point to to check that I have everything in order, that I have not overlooked anything. When it’s time to leave, I simply grab and go.
I also create folders on my computer, where I can save online reservations and other communications. Recently, I started creating “mailboxes” for my email on specific trips, where I can simply drag relevant emails. The value of that over standard computer files is that the information is stored on the “cloud,” and I can access it from my iPhone and iPad while I’m traveling.
When you read this, I will be back in Nantucket, sandwiched between the writers’ conference in Dallas and an art exhibit in Philadelphia. I have a fat folder with lots of reservations, including admission tickets–more than I can possibly remember. My file folder is my security blanket.
Feedback: I’d love to know how you keep up with your travel arrangements. Please share your tricks and tips.