The organization can make or break everything travel experience. Of course, it’s tempting to romanticize the life of the rugged backpacker, but there’s probably room for a laptop or phone in this backpack. And if you have a laptop or a phone, then you cone and should to build oneself an ultimate travel spreadsheet to help you manage your next adventure.
My own travel experiences led the organization range. I worked in terms of planning and facilitating college programs abroad. I’ve also found myself looking for lunch during Ramadan in Egypt, or in the middle of a six hour bus drive in the wrong direction in Vietnam, you get the picture. In terms of time, money and peace of mind, I can assure you: the organized traveler is the happiest traveler.
From extremely detailed logs extremely develop to-do lists, I love spreading the gospel of using spreadsheets to hack into every corner of your life. Even if you have nothing to come tripsyou can save this model now and experiment with it plan the dream vacation in the future. Then Iand let’s dive into the how and why to store all your important travel information in one nifty spreadsheet.
Why do you need an ultimate travel spreadsheet
There are plenty of reasons to create a spreadsheet every time you need to travel.
- Accessibility. If you choose an online option like Google Sheets, you always have access to your itinerary via your phone.
- Collaborate and share. If you’re traveling with a group, you can all view and work together on the spreadsheet.
- Built-in templates. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel! We’ll list some easy-to-use templates down below.
- Personalization. It’s easy to format your itinerary for each individual trip (and make each one visually appealing). I’m a sucker for color coding.
- Adaptability. As plans change, you can edit your spreadsheet on the go. Before you even book anything, you can tally up and compare the costs of different travel and accommodation options line by line to make decisions easier.
Why You Don’t Need an Ultimate Travel Spreadsheet
By engaging in such detailed planning and realization all in one place, you will have sacrifice yourself the image of a spontaneous wind child who cannot be bound to any destination. Sorry.
How to build the ultimate travel spreadsheet
Now that you’re fully on board, here’s how to start creating your own comprehensive travel spreadsheet.
Choose your preferred platform. I did mention that I’m most used to Google Sheets, but these tips will work with whatever spreadsheet software you prefer.
Create tabs. Every trip is different, but the following tabs are sure bets:
- Itinerary overview: The basics of where you will be on days.
- Detailed Master Itinerary: All information in one place, links to different tabs, (all information in one place, can be linked to different tabs as needed?)
- Packing list: Don’t end up at the airport with lots of socks, but no passport.
- Transport: Flights, trains, car rentals, etc.
- Accommodation: Hotel location and costs, Airbnb contact details, etc.
- Budget: Use simple forms to add up all your costs in tabs.
- Day-to-day routes: Make sure you don’t miss a thing when you have conferences, site visits, dinner reservations, and more.
- The fun stuff: Keep track of links to different restaurants, nightlife ideas, and all the other fun stuff you don’t want to risk losing your brain.
Fill in your information column by column. Now that you’ve broken down the different broad categories of your trip, it’s time to fill in the details. For example, it is useful to enter all your flight ticket information in individual cells so you can easily double check the location of your terminal or copy/paste the flight numbers when checking in.
Customize as needed. For me, it mostly comes down to color coding. In addition to entering all my travel information, I like to add highlighted things to do, for example a designated place to check off once I have‘ve checked in my flight, checked from my hotel, etc
Online templates to get you started
Jthere is no need to start creating a travel spreadsheet from zero. Here is some resources to get yours of the ground:
- Johnny Africawhich includes a fantastic explainer and itinerary template for Google Sheets
- The itch of travelsimilar to the above and includes Excel-specific advice
- travel cartographer, the Google add-on which includes a ready-to-use customizable template