1. Inspiration. Since this will be your travel bible you must be able to open it and find instant inspiration. Reserve the first page for your travel inspiration. Write quotes, paste photos of the places you want to visit, checklist of things you want to experience. Basically put whatever that will encourage you to go travel. This page can also cheer you up from your homesickness during your travel.
2. Flight schedule. Dates, time of departure and arrival, terminal and flight number. I also write here my passport number and expiration date so I don’t have to bring my passport out when filling out arrival cards during the flight.
3. Priority list/ Itinerary. I don’t do detailed itinerary rather I just make a list of my must- see, visit, eat and do. I check this list and try to figure out when to do it during my stay.
4. Area guide. Most cities are big and have a lot to offer. Breakdown the areas and write the attractions and places you can visit. It will help you to plan out your day and make the most out of your stay.
5. Hotel Information. Write the address, telephone number and email. It’s hard memorizing the street names in a different country and it’s harder to pronounce them. Not all taxi drivers know the hotels especially hostels and budget lodgings but give them the address and they will get you there.
6. Directions. This will seriously save you time and money. Public transportations are cheaper and more fun than hailing a cab all the time. Research about how you can get from one place to another by bus, train or boat. Most information are available online. Write as many options as possible if you can ride the bus or hop on a train to get there, write both methods.
7. Entrance fees and tour prices. Just so you have an idea on how to budget your money. It’s also useful for buying tickets from your hotel or tour agencies. You can compare prices and see if you can get it cheaper if you buy directly. Write all the attractions even those not in your priority list.
8. Some Asian countries such as Hongkong, Singapore and Bangkok have very extensive and efficient train systems that are interconnected throughout the city. Stop wasting time navigating your route at the train station. Print maps and plan your route before stepping out of your hotel.
9. DIY walking tour map. In some cities like Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Ho Chi Minh the tourist attractions and sightseeing spots are concentrated in one area. I suggest you skip the city tour and do it your own. Go crazy on Google Maps and plot your own walking route.
10. Time zones and Exchange rates.
11. Contact list. You’ll never know when you’ll need to make an important call. This is important when your mobile phone is dead. Write down all important contact numbers you might need. Your families’ cell numbers, your airline’s support hotlines, contact numbers of people you know at the countries your visiting even if you have no plans of meeting them there.
12. Hotel area. This is useful if you’re staying at the central and busy district such as Chinatown in Singapore, Khao San Road in Bangkok or at Pham Ngu Lao in Ho Chi Minh where you can explore many areas within walking distance to your hotel.
13. Expenses. A lot the remaining blank pages to list your expenses throughout the day. It will help you control your budget and check whether you’re spending your money wisely.