Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Vacation Planner

Back to the land of the connected! My six year old modem has been on its last leg for at least a year, and while I was hoping it would hold out until Christmas, it decided to take the big digital nap on Sunday, thus delaying this promised post. My apologies.

The vacation planner. While I have never been a spontaneous traveler (one very cold night sleeping in the car because all hotel rooms were booked cured me of that), by reason of necessity, I have become a skilled trip planner. You see, traveling with children who have sensory processing problems, Celiac disease, food allergies, and asthma (not to mention my own food restrictions) is no easy feat. I began planning our recent trip to Disneyland four months ago. I started by creating a travel planner. Last year I used a composition book, but it was larger than my needs required. This year, I made my own from  Cosmo Cricket scrapbook paper and my Bind It All machine (you can also have it comb bound at copy shops). I laminated the cover with my Xyron, so I could toss it in a purse or bag and not worry about it.
I also left the cover unadorned, saved for a single sticker, knowing the abuse it would face. As you can see from the bent coils, it endured a few blows.

The first section is for pre-trip planning and packing. It included a calendar, pre-travel to-do's such as mail holds, plans for pets and chores.
Next were packing lists for each family member. The lists are from List Planit, an online organizing site which offers a bazillion lists for all manner of topics, from work to home. I bought a download membership last year and it was worth every penny.
I also left lined paper in the back for food lists (we bring an extra suitcase just for food, so we always have something safe to eat), items to pack in the car, and to-do's for the days before we leave.
The next section is labeled car, and it has maps and written directions. I have a GPS on my phone, but I like to carry a back-up just in case reception is bad.
For the itinerary section, I printed the events listings from the Disney site as well as including a detailed list for each day. I make at least one meal reservation per day, and those are made far in advance and recorded here. I also like to look ahead to parade times and special events and tentatively schedule them as well, knowing that we may ditch those plans when we are actually in the park.

The last section holds hotel reservations and tickets. I included two pockets in this planner, made by simply folding tabbed scrapbooking paper and gluing it, to hold tickets and print-outs made after the book was bound.
As I mentioned before, this book gets tossed in my purse, not the luggage. All the information needed for any aspect of the trip is in one place. I also try to jot down notes in it while we are traveling or soon after we get home, about what places were safe to eat at, who had the best service, if sweaters we needed at night, what hidden gems were found, and any other useful bits for future trips. I used the notes from last year's planner to make this one, in fact.

So there you have it - travel for the anal retentive. Of course not everything goes as planned (like a foot injury that put my six year old in a stroller all week - thank goodness he's small!), but it definitely runs more smoothly!

1 comment:

  1. Neato! I made one of these for the first time this summer when my family when to Disney. I used the binder from staples (small one) and used the plastic sheet covers. It was the best organizing tool ever. I plan to make one every time we go on a vacation.