I am one of those people who believes that the key to an enjoyable, stress free vacation is preparation and organization. Taking the time to make sure all of your information is squared away and organized before boarding your flight is a great way to prevent unnecessary stress, wasted time and last minute scrambles for you and your travel companions. The most effective way to do this is by making yourself a travel book.
A travel book is a place where you can store all of the information necessary for your trip in one, easy to access place that can be easily carried and/or stored in your carry-on baggage. I prefer an A4 size book with clear pockets to store all of my travel information, however you can customize your own book to suit your needs.
Choosing the size book that is right for you depends on what your specific needs are for your particular trip. As I mentioned above I prefer an A4 size book with clear pockets which can be purchased at a local Daiso for ¥105. However, you can also choose smaller size books of the same type if you feel it will be easier to manage. The reason that I choose an A4 size is because it fits all full size documents to include reservations, confirmations and other important documents without having to resize each page. This allows me to print out whatever it is I need, slip it into a clear pocket and slip it out whenever necessary without any special considerations.
Once you have decided what size book you prefer it’s time to start filling it with necessary information. The first and most obvious information to include in the book is flight information. I like to put my flight information in the first few pages of the book which allows me to access those documents easily without having to shuffle through multiple pages. After my flight information I like to put an itinerary for my trip. (NOTE: We will talk about why an itinerary is important and how to build one in a later post.) The itinerary not only includes all of the useful information that I will need for the duration of my trip but also helpful tips and information that might assist me such as when check-in starts at the hotel I am staying at or other reminders. Next I include all of my hotel reservation information. Much like the flight information having this readily accessible is an easy way to relieve some stress after a long day of travel. Following my itinerary and hotel reservation I like to put a budget. The budget (NOTE: We will discuss budgets in detail in another post.) is a great way to keep track of funds. This will ensure that you enjoy your trip without spending money you ultimately don’t have. Finally I like to include any and all important information that may assist me during the trip. This can include anything from maps to directions. In my current book, for example, I have directions to the Tokyo Disney Resort, maps of the JR East and Tokyo Subway, diagrams of Narita Airport, maps of some locations I want to visit and of course information on how/where to purchase shinkansen tickets. In that past I have also included useful Japanese words and phrases with the phrase written both in Japanese and English to assist me in communicating if necessary. As I mentioned above you can personalize your books to suit your needs. You can easily add more information or take it away based on what you are comfortable with.
The beauty of the book is to have all of the information that you need easily accessible during your trip from Okinawa to your final designation and back again. However, I am sure you are wondering. . . . what if I loose the book? One thing you can do if you are concerned about loosing the book is create more than one or do what I do and make copies of everything in your book (especially important flight and hotel reservation information) and put it in your carry-on bag. This will ensure that even if something goes missing you have a backup.
I have found that having a book with all of the important details of your trip is hugely important in ensuring that you have an enjoyable time with the least amount of stress as possible. I have also noticed in my past travels that having such a book is a great way to ensure that you have everything you need and not lose important documents. The best part of all is that here in Japan with the Daiso stores scattered throughout the country you can create this simple tool of your own for about one US Dollar.
Have a question that you didn’t see answered in this post? Please feel free to put it in the comments below and we will be sure to answer it to the best of our ability as soon as possible.