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Have you ever used a Bullet Journal for travel? This summer, we were long overdue for a family vacation, so we shipped off to California for what ended up being a very long, very fun, but somewhat complicated trip.

In terms of planning, this vacation was pretty complex, involving:

  • Two one-way plane tickets
  • Rental car for road-tripping
  • Three hotels
  • Disneyland tickets
  • Oh, and packing for a family of four!

With so much to keep track of, this was the first time I really had to call on my Bullet Journal for trip-planning and execution. What I discovered is that, once again, a Bullet Journal is life-saver!

Here are 10 ways you can use your Bullet Journal for trip-planning.

1. Itineraries

This one hits the most basic point: where are we going? A big one for us since we wanted to be mobile during our vacation, spending a week in San Francisco, then road-tripping south on the Pacific Coast Highway about 500 miles to Southern California. I needed a kind of timeline to map out how many days we were traveling, which stops we’d be making, and how long we’d stay in each spot. You don’t want to double-book hotels!

2. Cost comparisons

One of our original considerations was whether to fly or drive from San Francisco to Orange County, and there were a TON of considerations! How much do plane tickets cost vs. a rental car? How much is parking at the hotel in downtown San Francisco? What’s the charge for dropping off the rental car in a different location than where we picked it up? How much more expensive is it to pick up a car in the city in the middle of our visit rather than going back to the airport to get one? Phew!

That level of detail should only be tackled in a Bujo!

10 Ways to Use a Bullet Journal for Travel

3. Packing checklist

A while back, I created a packing checklist for myself. I can generally remember 90% of the stuff on this list, but I always forget something critical, like a nightlight for the hotel so the girls aren’t freaked out. Not anymore.

I’ve also seen people create their packing checklist in chart form, so they can check things off as they go into a suitcase for each trip. Pretty smart.

10 Ways to Use a Bullet Journal for Travel 6

4. Pre-trip to-do

When I travel, I tend to forget to do little things I usually accomplish on a regular basis without much thought, like watering plants, returning library books, or changing sheets on the bed. In the weeks before a trip, I like to make myself a to-do list of things I want/need to accomplish before we head out of town.

5. Travel journal

Okay, so not my best handwriting, but it’s authentic :)  I really did make an effort to jot down a few notes about what we did each day during our trip. It’s too easy for the details to get jumbled together otherwise, and I love having a record of what we actually did, saw, and felt on our vacations.

10 Ways to Use a Bullet Journal for Travel

6. Mapping

I’m such a visual person that when we were trip-planning, I kept finding myself pulling up Google Maps. Where are these two points in relation to each other? Which route will we take? What’s the total driving time and distance? That’s why I made myself a little map that I had partially filled in before the trip and worked on while we were en route.

10 Ways to Use a Bullet Journal for Travel

7. Must-do lists

I really love exploring new cities, so when we get the chance, I like to pack in as much as possible. My vacation-planning always includes reading reviews on Trip Advisor about the best things to eat, see, and do, which I listed in my Bullet Journal. Then my husband and I talked through and prioritized them. You can see his notes with mine on the page above.

8. Review notes

Did you find the best gelato in Little Italy? Did the hotel’s room service leave something to be desired? If you like reading reviews as much as I do, you probably write them, too. Don’t forget to jot down little notes about places that stuck out so you’ll remember the critical details when you go back and write your reviews from home.

9. Important contact info

Have you ever been on vacation and needed to, say, make a trip to the ER? Uh, we did. Yup, no family vacation would be complete without a trip to the hospital.  And of course when you’re in a total panic about a child smooshing her fingers in a door, the last thing you can remember is the freaking health insurance website.

Next time we travel, I intend to keep a note with important contact info, like the URL where I can find in-network providers and phone numbers for our home alarm company, pet boarding facility, and a neighbor or two.

10. Post-trip to-do list

Maybe you’re like me and can’t fully turn off your brain when you’re on vacation. For instance, one night in the hotel, I realized we were completely out of stamps at home. True story.

So I made myself a post-vacation to-do list that included a trip to the post office. Then, and only then, could I sleep.

Have you ever used a Bullet Journal to plan or during travel? Do you have any other tips to share? 

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