I wouldn't dream of traveling without my trusty plastic folder! Be it for business or pleasure, I recycle the same one, slightly larger than a standard piece of paper that I've used since my college days. Mine's hot pink so it stands out in my travel tote amid magazines and other goodies and extra sturdy with a Velcro flap so things stay in better than pocketed, paper alternatives.
While there are some obvious things to go inside — such as flight checkins — I pack quite a few items, each with a very useful purpose:
- Confirm everything — Bring a record of flight, hotel, and car rental in this folder. To save the environment, only print the official flight one (and do double-sided whenever possible) or simply create a word doc on one page with all addresses, phone numbers and confirmation codes where applicable.
- Take the notes — While it's easy to rely a bit too heavily on smart phones (and the numbers and notes stored within), still jot down some personal details of things to do. If you want to be extra prepped, color code the printout pages for easy finding.
Learn how to organize the trip while you're on it to save time (and headaches!) afterwards and
- Hold it together — Depending on the length of a journey, toss in a few paper clips and a business-sized envelope as well. Group all small receipts together for expensing and checking the budget later.
- Get ready to write — If I had a dollar every time someone near me asked to borrow my pen (especially on international flights with forms that need to be filled out before landing), I'd have money to buy a new purse all together! Sure, many times there's a pen in your bag but save the digging and keep one instantly available inside the folder.
- Keep the worries at bay — Extra passport photos and copies of important documents can also be stashed inside in case of emergency. If checking bags, you can write out an inventory of what's inside your suitcase — before you roll your eyes, this can help when planning how to pack lighter and picking out outfits once you're there.
- Bring it back — Having this folder also makes it easier to bring back a postcard or other reminders of the trip like a menu from a new restaurant or a clipping from the local magazine.