I am disorganized by nature, so I have to be a very organized traveler. If I weren’t, I would never get where I’m going. One of the most important tools I use to organize trips, especially long and complicates ones, is the folder in my Yahoo! mail account.
Here’s how I do it. When I’m logged into Yahoo! Mail I create a folder named for the trip’s destination. Most recently, that was SPAIN. Then, whenever I get mail related to the trip, I drop it in the SPAIN folder.
When the airline mails the itinerary, it goes into the folder. When a hotel confirms a reservation, into the folder. Travel insurance policy, folder. Event tickets, folder. I’ll even e-mail myself things to put in there – links to websites about the destination or the text of travel stories.
Here’s a screen grab of my Yahoo! Mail folder for our Russia trip last year. You can click on it to see a bigger version. (I’ve smudged out e-mail addresses of some correspondents who forwarded me travel documents, to protect their privacy.)
When it’s time to go, I can print out all the information in the e-mail folder. And the real beauty of it is that I can get at it over the Internet any time I need it, even while I’m traveling.
You can do something like this with Google’s Gmail, using the labels function. Google explains labels here.
Other web-based e-mail systems may have similar features. Try it out. It works for me.