The Travel Bible – your essential pre-trip planning

No, it isn’t an updated version of The Book where Moses advises you that for a price he can part the Red Sea. It’s a book made by you; for you (I’m probably sacrificing a lot of strange Google key word searches to my site just by mentioning the ‘B book’ now…you’re welcome!).

Sooooo, you’ve decided to travel huh? (I like you already!) Ok, so any idea where to start? Aside from all the places you want to get drunk or get lost in a religious temple? No? Well then, it’s time you pull up a chair and take notes (literally) as I tell you about the greatest thing you can take travelling with you…

This is my travel bible…

It can be your alarm clock (metaphorically, it’s not THAT clever), your scrapbook, a resource and your best friend (but NOT a friend with benefits just to make that clear).

Ideally you want a tall, thin journal than can slip into the back of your bag rather than a small chunky brick that takes up too much room. If you can get one with dividers already in place too it’s even better because laziness knows no bounds.
That way it’s easy to know where to write your thoughts:


Where are you going to begin? Is it cheaper to get a round-the-world ticket or do ‘pay as you go’? Do you need to pay to be a pin cushion vaccinations? Do you need a cheap travel insurance policy¬†And what about those pesky visas? It’s boring, I know, but guess what? Without them you won’t get much further than you friend’s house around the corner. Writing it all down together allows you to see what you’ve already researched and gives you a chance to ask yourself what you haven’t yet looked into.

– People

Have you been reading someone’s blog about one of your destinations? Scribble down the web address, you never know when their information could come in handy. Likewise, if you’re on Twitter like I am, get in touch with people you know might be in the same place at the same time; magic can happen!! Don’t forget those all important contact details of the people you meet on the road either. Sure, everyone and their dog is Facebook/Twitter these days but an e-mail address is much more personal and valuable than a ‘like’ on a status.

– To do.

When doing the boring research you’ve probably come across some excellent recommendations. Have you found a festival that you want to work into your itinerary? What about that beach bar your friend told you about? Is there something ‘traditional’ that everyone should experience in that country (I’m going to recommend the infamous buckets in Thailand – yikes!) or a particular region that is known for something special? Get that pen out and write it in your bible!

– Journal.

The important bit. How does it feel to learn to dive and be surrounded by manta rays? What are you excited about? Are you having a really awful day of travelling and just want to pack your shit up and go home? Now’s the time to write it down, especially if you don’t feel like sharing your hospital visit ‘fun’ with your friends and family on your blog/e-mail. Your journal can be the best friend you had to leave behind at home. It’s also the bit where it becomes a scrapbook if you don’t want to lose that all important ticket stub or sticker to remind you of the good times!

– The Blog list.

If you’re running a blog (or plan to on your return), have you gone to a bar that has the ‘wow Factor’ and you want to shout it out to the world? Have you completed a journey from hell that you want to warn others not to take? Write it down for future reference. And what about that toilet escapade you want to write a post about? Jot it down because I guarantee you’ll forget it in 30 seconds if you don’t, especially if you’re drinking those buckets I was telling you about earlier!

– Alarm clock.

Ok, so technically it doesn’t wake you up from that ‘I am so tired from travel lag I can’t move’ marathon sleep but it does help you keep time and tell you where you should be because, as any long-term traveller knows, time and dates tend to lose meaning pretty quickly. So instead of that last minute panic to pack and get to the airport losing your passport in the process, print yourself a monthly calendar to keep track of yourself. If you have a connecting flight to catch or a festival you don’t want to miss, write it in and know when it’s coming! ¬†And let’s not forget that you Canadians need something like tax software to keep an eye on your pesky figures so you don’t get fined!

The Travel Bible is one of the cheapest, yet most valuable pieces of treasure you can take on the road with you so I suggest you buy a personal alarm for it because without it you’re going to be lost….or asleep….or at the local embassy….you can see where I’m going with this can’t you…..?!

Leave a Reply


  1. @Ian – I only took photos of the neat pages for the example =D Sorry to hear that yours got stolen – total bummer =(

  2. When I travel I carry around a “Think Pad.” It’s just a cheap spiral notebook that I jot notes down in about my day-to-day routine when I’m traveling or things that I find particularly interesting. When I come back home, I edit the writing a little bit (as my Think Pad is typically really sloppy, full of abbreviations and misspelled words), toss a few photos in and write it all in a travel journal that I have.

    I should really start a notebook like this for my big trip though. Great tip!

  3. @Elle – love your ‘think pad’ idea hun – I carry a very small notebook around for the ‘daypack times’ like you! Looks like we’ve both got good ideas =)

  4. alicia

    What a great idea. As I start my planning for my big adventure in November, I am going to start my travel Bible. Love it!

    Thanks Toni

  5. Alicia – The ‘bible’ is one of the best things I ever did…usually helped in an emergency haha. Where’s the big adventure for you?