Traveling is fun and takes us away from our "normal" lives but it can be frustrating if you don't have the right documents with you when you need them. Learn what documents you need when you travel and how to quickly organize them by using these 5 proven organizing tips.

I am going to tell you a true story--my friend was vacationing in Costa Rica, a place she found very beautiful and enjoyed very much--up to a point. She had been told the way to keep your passport safe when traveling is to have the hotel put it in their safe. She hadn't done this before but decided she would do it this time rather than put it in her money belt that fits around her waist.

Ironically the unthinkable happened. In the night the hotel safe was stolen. That's right--the entire safe. They must have been some pretty strong men. My friend was finally able to make it out of the country and back home but it was a big hassle because she didn't have her passport.

Traveling can be fun; we can leave our clutter behind and clear our minds. Then again planning a trip can create its own clutter. It is important to have all of the important documents and information you need while you are on your trip. Keeping them organized will save time and frustration.

1. Plan ahead by gathering information you need on hotels, places of interest, restaurants and transportation.

2. Create a packing list and keep this on your computer so each time you travel you can print it and check off each item as you pack. If you find you needed other items for your trip add them to the list when you return home. You may need different lists for different types of trips. Such as skiing, hiking, beach, business, traveling by car or by air etc.

3. Gather all of your important travel information:
Photo identification, prescriptions, passports/visas, hostel card, itineraries and airline tickets. Email your itinerary to family and friends who may also need this information.

4. Print any emails or web pages that contain travel details:
Contact information, electronic tickets, confirmation numbers for hotels and tours, and schedules.

Now comes the fun part-keep it organized. Create a traveling travel file that holds all your documents. Use a clear plastic folder to slip all your information into. SMEAD has created a travel organizer made of clear plastic that has 3 sections to organize itineraries, maps and travel confirmations. There is also a front pocket for keeping the boarding pass and receipts. The flap secures with a strip of Velcro.

5. Divide your travel file into categories:
a. Tickets/airline confirmations and car rental reservations. Quick access to your flight information, tickets and boarding passes reduces a lot of stress at the airport.
b. Phone numbers:
*Make a list of essential phone numbers in case of emergencies.
*Call your credit card company or bank before you leave home notifying them where you will be traveling so they don't block the use of your card.
c. Itinerary: Place your schedule where you can find it quickly and easily as you will refer to it daily.
d. Maps and directions: Online directions you have printed or a road map are great resources. Include a highlighter to mark your location and destination.
e. Brochures: Include those you think will be helpful as you travel.
f. Hotel reservations: Keep all confirmations for your lodging in one location. Organize them in the order you will be using them.
g. Receipts: Keep all receipts from the trip. Put them in an envelope so you know where to find them. Use them to compare against your credit card bill or to submit travel expenses for reimbursement or tax purposes.

Keep your travel file handy, in the lid of your luggage under the mesh pocket or in the outside pocket of your suitcase are ideal places.

Now your travel documents are all organized it is just one less thing for you to stress about on your trip. This will help you get rid of clutter when you travel as you will only be taking the essentials.

Author's Bio: 

Marilyn Bohn is the owner of Get it Together Organizing, a business dedicated to developing practical organizing solutions that help individuals and business professionals live clutter-free and productive lives. She is the author of “Go Organize! Conquer Clutter in Three Simple Steps” and is an experienced, enthusiastic public speaker, a member of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) and the author of hundreds of articles covering various organizing topics.

Marilyn takes the often stressful subject of organizing and breaks it down into her simple, easy to understand system. Her methods are both eye-opening and encouraging! She has a passion for helping others reach their personal goals and living a better, clutter-free life!

Marilyn offers personal, private consulting to assist in organizing and she invites you to sign up for free organizing tips at her website for easy organizing tips, videos, blog, workshops and more. Get your free guide on what papers to keep and how long to keep them at