Travel Itinerary Template: Keep Your Trip Organized With a “Cheat Sheet”

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For those of you who know me, it may come as no surprise that I’m a bit of a “type-A” personality.  I love being organized. This is especially true when it comes to being both planning trips, as well as when I’m on a trip.  It’s not that I want to run us ragged with some type of strict itinerary of scheduled activities, but because I want us to be able to kick back and actually enjoy the vacation.  And as a result of my many years of travel and trip planning, I’ve come up with some pretty simple ways to stay organized while on the road.  One way I do this is by creating a special travel itinerary template, which I also refer to as my “cheat sheet” for the trip.

My “Cheat Sheet” is an Extention of My Vacation Planning Itinerary Template

One of the very first things that I do when I’m planning a vacation is to research like crazy and gather information to come up with an awesome finalized trip itinerary. For this research and comparison, I actually use my Vacation Planning TemplateYou can download this FREE travel itinerary planning template by clicking on the link. 

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This Vacation Planning Template is actually an Excel spreadsheet (or Google Sheets if you want to convert to that).  The spreadsheet has pre-built worksheets for me to gather ideas for my trip and pre-formatted fields.  I can jot down notes, copy and paste different activity ideas, hotel ideas, etc. and even make a note of how much they cost. This actually helps me to keep a running track of the budget too.

Finally, I look at the different trip ideas on my vacation planning spreadsheet that I came up with and will narrow it down to a final trip itinerary.

Ok Liz, Isn’t That a Bit Much?

Yeah, yeah, some of you might be thinking this sounds a little much. But hey, I told you I’m a Type A!  But honestly, it’s not that much work.  I’m already doing the research (as many of your are).  I’m searching around online, using Pinterest to get vacation ideas, etc. but this trip planning spreadsheet gives me one central and easy place to keep track of what I find online (because I always forget or lose links that I try to keep track of…). 

Plus — I LOVE to travel…but I also like to get the most for my money. 

I’m just a normal person and don’t have a money tree growing in my backyard. I save money for trips like most other people, and also want to be sure I maximize my budget during a trip as well. I also have to work, so I don’t have to maximize my time off work for travel .  So planning out my trips like this has really allowed me (and my family) to see and do SO much over the years! 

“Cheat Sheet” = a Condensed Travel Itinerary for the Road

After I have finalized the trip itinerary, it’s a detailed document. However, I realized that there was still a gap when I actually was on the trip and having quick access to simple information like confirmation numbers, subway lines to take, museum operating hours, hotel addresses, etc.  I needed something handier for when I was “on-the-road” and on the go.

And that’s why I ended up creating the travel “Cheat Sheet” itinerary template.

A “Cheat Sheet” is More Than Just a Travel Itinerary Template

Keeping track of all the details related to a vacation can be overwhelming.  Especially if it is a long or busy trip filled with multiple hotel bookings, transportation, and activities.  After you have made your travel arrangements, you are bound to have endless emails and confirmation numbers to sort through.

That combined with your research and notes about the things you want to see and do on your trip can make being organized even more complicated.   You need all this information nicely organized where you can access it easily when you need it.

This “Cheet Sheet” has helped myself and over tens of thousands of other travelers stay organized on the road!

Sometimes Nothing Beats a Good Ol’ Fashioned Piece of Paper!

Technology, especially mobile devices, have really helped travelers stay organized while on the road.  In fact, one of our favorite travel apps that we use is called TripIt.

The TripIt app helps us consolidate a lot of our travel information and confirmation numbers into one place.  This allows us to access it online or save it for viewing offline on our mobile devices. However, I have learned from my previous travel experience that using technology doesn’t always make things easier or quicker.

This is especially true when traveling overseas.  I don’t always use my cell phone internationally, and even if I do, it may not be connected to a data network.  Other times I may not want to draw attention to myself and my fancy technology while I’m walking down the street.  In these cases, I’ve discovered that it’s easier to go old school, with an actual piece of paper!

Paper Confirmations Are Too Long!

You know all those emails you get with your confirmation numbers for hotels, rental cars, etc. They are great and all, but who really wants to print all that and bring it with them?  Plus, those emails tend be long and include a lot of information that you may not need on the spot for a quick reference.  In fact, if you were to print all of that information out, you would probably be walking around with a small book in your pocket!

This defeats the whole point of having a quick reference document because you would be fumbling around with all those papers trying to find just the simple confirmation number!

That’s why my “Cheat Sheet’ Travel Itinerary Template is only 1 page!

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A travel “cheat sheet” should be concise. Mine is only one page. The text looks small, but when it’s printed it can be read fine.  Just fold it into quarters and stuff it in your pocket!

Items to Include on Your Travel Itinerary “Cheat Sheet”

There are all kinds of things you may find useful to put on your travel “Cheat Sheet.”  But the most critical pieces of information to include are only those that you may need to reference quickly while you are on the go.  So don’t overdo it by putting too much information.  Keep it concise and easy to read.  Some of the items I include in my “cheat sheet” include:

  • Rough Itinerary – Don’t plan each minute!  But it’s helpful to plan out major activities on each day, especially days when you are traveling.
  • Hotel Information – confirmation numbers, addresses, contact information, prices & deposits paid (so you know what you owe on arrival), and possibly directions.
  • Transportation Information – flight numbers, train / bus schedules, how to use local transportation and buy tickets, etc.
  • Attractions – if there are certain sights that you absolutely want to see, make a note of their operating hours and days (because that might impact your itinerary), addresses, and prices (which will help with budgeting).
  • Activities – anything that you have pre-booked, along with the confirmation numbers.
  • Language Phrases – include a few simple phrases or notes about the language or even local customs.

Bring a Hard Copy of Your Travel Itinerary “Cheat Sheet” & Keep It Handy

My “cheat sheet” travel itinerary template is only one page.  It is grouped into 4 sections so that I can easily fold it into quarters and stuff it in my pocket. Within the document itself, I group the information within each quarter section.  This way when it is folded, each side has a table of similar information.

For example, one side of the page might have my overall itinerary for each day, while another side contains all my hotel information.  I also color code the header of each page for each section.  This makes it easy for me to find the page I need for whatever it is that I’m looking for.

Be sure to print out a few copies, and it is good to send an electronic copy to your email.  

Lastly, this “cheat sheet” document is perfect for sharing with family and friends, in case they need to contact you while you are away!

Join 20,000+ Other Travelers Who Have Downloaded this Useful Travel Itinerary Template

Download Your “Cheat Sheet” Travel Itinerary Template 

It’s always tough to start out from scratch creating a planning document like this.  And sometimes, it may not seem worth it to put in all the effort.  But since I have already found a format that seems to work well, I wanted to share it here for all of you .

Your time is valuable.

So all I ask is that you buy me a small cup of coffee (.99 cents) for saving you the time and hassle of making it yourself.  

I assure you that you will feel so much more organized during your trip, and not fumbling around with smartphones or trying to open emails while on the road.

 


 

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Photo Credit: All photos under CC 2.0edar, Unsplash, TheAndrasBarta, GotCredit, docentjoyce
 

 

30 thoughts on “Travel Itinerary Template: Keep Your Trip Organized With a “Cheat Sheet””

  1. I don’t own a smartphone and the iPad i bought was without the wireless service so my only source of info is through paper! I love Excel and create my cheat sheets on it. Same method! I love it and it’s like studying for a trip! Pretty soon you have most of the info memorized in your mind! Cool article and glad to know I am not alone in my tech-free travels!

    1. Thanks for the comment Cristina! YES – I completely agree with you that putting together a “cheat sheet” is like studying for your trip. It helps you memorize things so that you don’t even have to refer to it as much. I am a firm believer that when you travel you need to try and at least look like you know what you are doing. So this really helps put everything into your memory! Don’t get me wrong, technology can be super helpful…but not in every situation.

      Happy Travels!!!
      – Liz

  2. I’m going to use this for a trip to Europe that my sister and I are going on. We have a lot to keep track on and she is a firm believer in having it on a piece of paper! I rely on putting in my iCalendar and TripIt but this a very handy document to have so I’ll give it a go! Thanks for sharing it.

    1. Awesome! Thanks for the comment Kay. I understand completely – I actually started making these for my trips to Europe years ago just for those same reasons. There is just so much to keep track of! Have a blast!!!

      – Liz

    1. Thanks for the comment Howard – and thank you for letting me know! I will convert the file to Pages and email a copy to you, as well as making the Pages version available for download. Thanks!

      – Liz

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m currently planning two trips and am surrounded by scraps of paper and have articles and confirmation forms stored in various places online but this is a great idea to have all the information at my fingertips. I will definitely be trying it out for my Madeira and Douro Valley trips.

    1. Wonderful – thanks so much Julie! Very glad to hear that you find it helpful. It’s amazing how much it really does help, and you don’t have to haul all those other papers around!

      Enjoy your trips!
      – Liz

  4. Thanks for such a useful post. Usually this isn’t my method of travelling at all, I tend to only book the first night or two and then just go with the flow for the rest of the trip. However, I’m meeting my parents for a road trip along Australia’s east coast and my Dad has requested an itinerary so this is perfect! He’ll think I’m being very organised for a change!

    1. LOL – thanks Emma! Everyone has their own style for sure, but I’m glad that your dad will appreciate it. 🙂

      Have fun in Australia!
      – Liz

  5. Depending on where I travel, I do exactly the same. You don’t go prepared and still have the freedom to do whatever you want and change whatever you like, but you can keep track of things. I never gave mine a name, but hey Cheat Sheet does not sound bad 🙂

    1. Thanks Sabine! We agree that it doesn’t hurt to be prepared, even if plans change. In fact, there should be flexibility in your plans so that you can “go with the flow” — but at least being prepared helps if things don’t work out the way you planned.

      Happy travels!
      – Liz

  6. Hi Liz,

    Thanks for sharing this, it looks great and really useful. I cannot seem to find the link to download the template, can you point me to it?

    Thanks,
    Merina

    1. Thanks so much for the comment Brittiny – I appreciate it! It is good to know that readers find our resources useful. Thanks for reading – happy planning!

      – Liz

    1. Thanks so much Tracy — we really appreciate the comment! We hope that you find it just as useful as we have. Thanks for reading and happy travels to you!!!

      – Liz

  7. Oh my, for someone like me who takes pages and pages of research and planning away with them – this is like a gift from heaven! No more lugging an A4 ringbinder around with me (Yes, i actually did this once…)

    1. Thanks so much for the comment! Agree — I have been there before too, carrying so many pages and print-outs with all the information. I loved being organized…but hated hauling it around. This “Cheat Sheet” has really been a lifesaver for me. So I hope it helps you too!

      Happy travels!
      – Liz

  8. Hello Liz, We are planning a family history trip to the eastern United States. We are taking our RV and leaving from Arizona so we have a free schedule to stop many times if needed. I have a huge list of places we’d like to go and research such as graveyards, churchs, and family sites that we’d like to see. Are you aware of an app that lets us plug in the places we’d like to go, and then makes an actual map of the best route to take to see these sights? Maybe yours has that option. I would love to hear from your experience how to best go about this. Thank you, Tammie

    1. Hello Tammie – thanks for reading and for the comment.

      Our cheat sheet is purely a paper-form that is a simple way to keep reference information handy for a trip, like contact numbers, daily itineraries, confirmations, etc. It’s not interactive like an app, nor does it map anything.

      As far as I know, there are a few tourist / travel kind of apps that can do some of this; however, a lot of times you have to buy a lot of extra maps for different cities.

      You can also look into Google maps, there are a lot of features that people don’t use in that tool that might work for you. Also, there is the MyMaps on Google — which lets you create your own custom maps, add items to it, map routes and save / share for later. That might work for you as well.

      (here’s an example of a Boston history tour map that was made – so you can see some of the functionality that you can do: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?hl=en&mid=1e1Yxlq1w5eLAXukad0sfxGlFyqE&ll=42.362404864843555%2C-71.082739&z=14)

      I hope this helps. Have an AWESOME trip.
      Thanks!
      Liz

  9. Marvella Smith

    This is great information and I would love to use the template! However there is an issue with the download? It takes to 3 steps and forces you to download an installer. Then takes you to a thank you page without a download. I tried 3 times before I gave up. Can you please share a link with me? I am combining a work and personal trip, this would really help me to stay organized, since I can be a little OCD:)

    Thanks,
    Marvella

    1. Hi Marvella!

      I’m glad you agree that the cheat sheet would be helpful, we’ve found it quite useful over the years!

      I’ve looked in our system and I don’t see an order from you. I double-checked our ordering system, and it appears to be working fine. Not sure if you have a pop-up blocker or anything like that because it will open in a new page.

      Once you add it to your cart, you can check out with payment and the system will send you an email confirmation which includes a link to download the file.

      If you put an order in the system, but the link to download doesn’t work then I’ll be happy to email it to you.

      Kind regards & happy travels!
      Liz

  10. Liz, I processed the payment in paypal, but after the transaction was completed, I received a page error and did not receive the download. Please email it to me. Thank you,
    Robin

    1. Thanks for reaching out! Apologies for the technical error. I’m glad we were able to email it over to you so you can prepare for your trip to Ireland. Hope you have a blast!!!

      – Liz

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