Gather as Much Information as You Can!
I love shopping—any kind of shopping: Flea markets, garage sales, window grazing in New York City, small foreign bazaars, cruise ship boutiques, or Internet sites like eBay. But my absolute favorite shopping is travel shopping. In fact, I am addicted to travel shopping. And the Internet caters shamelessly to my addiction.
Like a real addict, I must stay connected to my suppliers. Thank goodness, the Internet makes that so easy. But there are so MANY travel web sites: sales, airlines, hotels, car rentals, cruise ships. How can one keep everything straight and more importantly, accessible? That’s where a good filing system comes into play.
Organize Your Incoming Information!
My husband’s email “Inbox” is deplorable. He allows hundreds of emails to pile up with no real attempt to deal with them other than a quick read. He plays a frustrating seek-and-find game when he needs information from one of the emails buried in his massive stockpile. But there is an easier, and much faster way to keep emails in order, especially travel site emails—set up a filing system in your email program.
I am a stickler for keeping information well filed, so I set up files in my Outlook Express. I right-click on “Local Folders” and then I select, “New Folder.” I then use a common category like, “Travel,” as my first word. This is followed by a hyphen and then a word or two identifying the travel site. For instance, an airline would appear as “Travel – Alaskan Air.” That way, any email from Alaskan Air gets filed here. You might decide to file all airlines under, “Airlines.” For example – “Airlines – Alaskan Air.” And that’s fine, so long as you remain consistent.
Be Selective – Choose Travel Sites Wisely!
As I visit different travel sites, I determine its validity to my situation (city, travel destinations, pricing) and then either abandon it, or I register. Once registered, I opt for email updates, sales, newsletters, etc. I am never worried about spamming because if I ever tire of a site, I can either unsubscribe, or I simply block the emails in my spam catcher. My favorite sites (as a Canadian traveler) include the following:
Expedia (travel deals, my trips planner, insurance, activites)
Travelocity (hotels, flights, cars, or a combination – great deals)
Travelzoo (collection of all kinds of last minute sales)
Cruise Critic (outstanding info shared by other cruisers)
Trip Advisor (my absolute favorite for trip planning and reviews)
Flickr (awesome site for showing off vacation photos)
Frommers (deals, tips, cruise news, travel advice galore)
Fodor’s (deals, tips, contributor reviews)
World Airport Codes (fast access to 3-digit airport codes)
Trick for Remembering all Your Travel Site Log-ins and Passwords!
I am just too absent-minded to remember all my log-in names and passwords. Writing them down is useless because I forget where I wrote them down. So, here’s what I do.
As soon as I register for a new site, I send myself an email with the site’s name in the “Subject” line. In the email, I identify the email address I used for the site, my log-in name, and my password (I usually use a clue to my password as opposed to the actual password). As soon as the email comes into my Inbox, I file it into the site’s file. I never have to guess at a site’s log-in; I just open my email file and there it is.
File Systems – Good for All Aspects of Travel!
Aside from organizing travel site emails, a good filing system is simply a great idea, especially when it comes to vacation photos. If you are not already using a photo management system for filing and retrieving your photographs with ease, try award-winning PicaJet. It’s an easy-to-learn program that will help you access any photograph weeks, months, or even years later.
PS If you would like to follow along as I plan my next adventure, a cruise to New Zealand and Australia, click HERE!