Have you ever had that panic moment when you cannot find the email confirmation of the flight that is set to take off in a few hours? Or have you ever arrived at the front desk of your hotel and you fumble with your phone desperately scrolling to find your reservation number. I know I sure have and it is definitely annoying and sometimes anxiety inducing.
When I plan trips for the VacationFam I like to use Google Sheets in order to link all of my reservations. This gives me an opportunity to have all of my important emails available from one location. Whether it be the flight information, the hotel reservation, the car rental, or even tickets to cool tourist attractions. I like to list the date, the city I’ll be sleeping in that night, the event I’m doing that day, and a hyperlink to the specific email that contains my information. You, of course, can customize it in in any way that makes sense to you.
Below is an example of a Google Sheet that I used for our European road trip that we took in summer of 2019 with my mom, sister, and niece.
At just a glance, I can see every place I will be and what I will be doing while I am there. Plus, I can access each of the reservations. I even added the drive time between areas. This way I can dream about the trip before I go, walking through the vacation in my mind. It helps break up the workweek to pull open this spreadsheet and get excited about what is about to come. Author Shawn Achor in his book The Happiness Advantage says that having something to look forward to dramatically increases your mood.
Another benefit of using Google Sheets over another type of spreadsheet (like Excel) is that you can share this with your other travelling companions. To do this just click on the Share button in the upper right hand corner and send an invitation to whoever is coming along.
This is also a great tool to keep you on track during the planning part of your vacation. The VacationFam usually likes to stay active and moving during our time off, which means visiting many different cities with many different hotel stays. Using Google Sheets allows me to ensure that I do not forget to make accommodations for any of the nights of our adventure. The screenshot below is the document I amusing right now to plan our epic roller coaster tour of the U.S. for my 40th birthday this summer (If you didn’t know, we’re roller coaster junkies and you can read about our best roller coaster rankings list). Just looking at it now has me so excited!
The last benefit of using Google Sheets is that it is safely stored in the crowd and it is there when you need to reference back when you get home and are trying to organize your photos or videos in order or connecting certain highlights to certain dates. It is also fun to look back and remember the great times you had with your family and friends.
So, what do you think about this technique? Have you used something similar or different? Please let me know in the comments below. I am always looking for better travel organization hacks.