The dilemma. You spend your days making sure everything works like clockwork—and it does!—thanks to your planner. So now you’re going on vacation, you’re supposed to be relaxing—what do you? What do you DO? Should you take your planner on vacation?
A couple of years ago, I was faced with this dilemma—prior to that I was obligated to carry a company-issued smartphone even while on vacation so it was pretty much a moot point—and I figured out a ‘happy medium’ that would allow me to completely focus on my time with my family while also being prepared for any vacation emergencies.
The Wallet/Planner Solution
Meet the lovely Filofax Malden Pocket zip. It is a gorgeous compact organizer that is also a wallet—what?! Yes, you heard that right. This wonderful wallet/planner combo is perfect for carrying everything you need while on vacation: credit/insurance/loyalty cards, money, receipts, a passport, and several blank pages/dividers as well as a pen! What?! You can find this model on eBay (that’s where I got mine) or on the Filofax website. Filofax also has other comparable styles and sizes (in case the Pocket is too small for you) such as the Pennybridge, Saffiano zip, Lockwood zip, and Nappa zip.
Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda
So let’s go back to the initial question: SHOULD you bring a planner on vacation? If you’re a plannernerd, I believe ‘Yes’. Let me explain. Our family travels for over a week at a time and during that the time, the kids are both anxious and impatient about all the things they want to do NOW. The way we appease them is by sitting them down the very first day when we arrive and creating our itinerary together as a family. We start off by reminding them, “We are going to do everything you want to do but we have to do one thing at time.” We then look at the weather (if it rains, we plan an indoor activity) and start writing down—on a piece of paper—what we’re going to do each day: e.g. waterpark, arcade, mini-golf, laying by the pool, shopping, etc. I then carry our ‘written plan’ with me throughout vacation so we can refer to it everyday and in case one of the kids gets ‘selective amnesia’. If the weather changes, we just swap the current day’s activities with that of another day. This works out great and there’s no more anxiety or fights between the kids—which is great for mom and dad—because they know we’re going to do everything they want, one day at a time. As for me, planning relaxes me because when it’s down on paper, I don’t have to worry about forgetting something, plus I can keep track of daily expenses, jot down recommendations of any local attractions, keep track of vacation tasks (more information on this below), and easily manage any change in plans (e.g. if a flight is canceled and you have to take an alternate route or rent a car instead) so, overall, it’s a win-win situation!
Because the Filofax Malden Pocket zip is so well designed, it is conducive to a simple and extremely efficient setup. There’s an outside slip pocket to quickly store any receipts. The zip closure ensures that all contents are kept securely inside. When you open it, on the left side is a well, thought out wallet layout with 8 credit card slots, 1 hidden pocket, and two open areas on either side of a zip coin compartment. On the right side, are the 15mm rings to carry a few pages and dividers, a small secretarial pocket, and a small pen loop (because the planner zips shut you’ll need a relatively short, thin pen—I like to use the Pilot Maicas 0.4mm which have a fine tip, perfect for the small paper size!).
I setup 3 divider sections in my vacation wallet/planner:
– 1st divider: year-on-1-page (just in case!), Monday-thru-Sunday sheets from a Target dollar spot notepad that I cut down and punched (in this example, if we’re on vacation from Thursday to Thursday, I’ll cut the first sheet to show the end of the week and the second sheet to show the beginning)
– 2nd divider: old, unused Filofax week-on-2-page sheets; yes, they are upside down so I can ignore the week/dates and use them as scrap paper—a great way to use up old pages! I use this section to keep track of daily expenses, jot down area recommendations, or any other information that may be relevant during our stay.
– 3rd divider: To Do sheets also from a Target dollar spot notepad, cut down and punched; great for keeping track of vacation tasks (e.g. ask for extra towels, buy tickets to a show, check all drawers to make sure they’re empty, question a room charge, store wet bathing suits separately, confirm restaurant reservation, etc.)
I can’t rave enough about this wallet/planner setup for vacation. I’ve used it for vacation for the past few years and it really works to help me stay prepared and organized while on vacation plus it doubles as a wallet! I don’t think about the ‘regular stuff’ that I worry about at home because when I’m on vacation, my primary focus is creating memories with family—as it should be! 🙂
What about you? Do you bring a planner on vacation or do you leave ‘that world’ behind to relax and unwind? If you do, what are some of your favorite tips and tricks? Please share in the comments below and don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe!
Until next time,
♥ LilD ♥