When starting to plan your vacation, a notebook of plain paper has the right APP for the job.

If you need suggestions for various lists for an upcoming trip, look no further.

Before you pull out your fancy electronic handheld devices, let me state that I am talking about a notebook, simply made of paper, bound on one side and can cost less than one dollar. Yes, every wise traveller should invest in a notebook before embarking on a trip, especially if you are planning a dream 

List on a Paper NotebookCredit: MoGo photos


In the initial stages of planning a vacation, I would choose the humble notebook over the high- tech computer for making my planning lists. What are my reasons for this? I have an APP for that and it stands for Accessibility, Price and Portability.

Accessibility.  The paper notebook is easily accessible to the whole family. Parents, children and even
grandparents can flip to the right page and jot down their entry. No need to plug it or turn it on. It’s ready for use in an instant.

Price. This is a no-brainer as even the most expensive leather bound notebook will cost less than the cheapest electronic notebook. If you tear the cover or a page by accident, you can tape it back or not. It is dispensable or easily replaceable. Children’s sticky fingers on paper can be a small issue but not a cause for alarm unlike if it happened to the electronic notebook.

Portability. A simple notebook can come in many sizes and weighs much less than an electronic one. You can entrust a small child to put it in their backpack and not worry about it getting lost or stolen.

To maximize the value of the paper notebook in planning your dream vacation, use it to make many lists. Section of a few pages for each list depending on how long you think the list will grow. Normally 1 to 2 pages per list will suffice. If you want to get fancy, you can add sticky notes or tabs to separate the pages and quickly flip to the right one. Color coding will be helpful to smaller children who can’t read yet but want to add their entry.

Here are some suggested lists for your vacation:

List of Food You Want to Eat or Taste. Some destinations are well known for a certain food or snack that you may want to try or taste again. This usually helps decide where you would plan to eat your meals during the trip. Some examples can be poutine in Quebec City, beavertails in Ottawa, authentic
pad Thai in Bangkok, Cadbury chocolate in London and mango ice cream in a coconut bowl in Tagaytay City.

List of Places to Visit. Normally this notes down the attractions you would like to visit like museums and historical sites. I would add the admission prices if you can find it out. Sometimes the place you will visit has a meaning to only you or your family like your old alma mater, or simply a shop that you do not have back home.

List of Things to Do. Not to be confused with the "List of Places to Visit," this is a list of the actual activity to do or something unique to experience. This can be a hot stone massage, visiting a local market, riding a horse or something uniquely local to that place. You can include a sub-list of photographs you might want to capture. And don’t forget that sunset you might want to catch with your special someone.

List of People to See. Not all travelers know someone at their travel destination. But this doesn’t mean you are not going to meet anyone. If Disney is the dream vacation, surely all the Disney characters will be on your list. Or catch a glimpse of a celebrity in Los Angeles. If your destination was more of a hike or wilderness trip, a list of wild animals to see can also go here. Visitors to the Rockies are always on the lookout for cayotes, wild goats, moose, even bears. Anything is possible, right?

List of Things to Buy. Of course there should be a shopping list! It helps to know what you are looking for when going shopping. And if you are kind enough to accommodate a request for a souvenir to take back home, the list will hopefully guide you get the right one.

List of Travel Documents. This can be a checklist for your air tickets, hotel vouchers, transportation service or car rental, passports, visas, letters of consent and any other things you may need. Actually gathering all the documents and ticking them off the list will help you be more organized.

List of Contacts.  You will need to have a list of the addresses and phone or e-mail of your airline, hotels and other services. It will also be great to have the contact information of any persons you are visiting as well as your emergency contact numbers at home. These are just my suggested lists and anyone can add or remove any of them.

Maybe another list can be “List of Things to Collect for the Scrapbook.” Think up your own unique list. In my opinion, the paper notebook adds more fun when a family setting as it gets everyone involved. The notebook even ends up with doodles and sketches that would be hard to add to an electronic notebook entry.

As I mentioned, I prefer the paper notebook in the initial planning stages of a trip. However, once you are closer to your departure date, it would also be a good idea to transfer your lists to your electronic notebook or computer. The List of Travel Documents and List of Contacts can already be set-up ahead.
I do find that it is easier to copy and paste business contacts from their websites unto a list than typing them. Similarly, create tabs for your many lists. Do print out your final lists in case your document becomes inaccessible due to power outages, a computer virus, low battery supply or any other electronic woe.

And if anything and everything else fails, you can always go back to your handy dandy paper notebook and tick off the next thing on your list.


List on a Paper NotebookCredit: MoGo photosCredit: MoGo photos