By Charyn Pfeuffer
Full disclaimer: I'm the mistress of crafting travel itineraries. As much as I enjoy spontaneous travel, if I'm planning a big trip or heading somewhere with safety concerns, I like to spend some time researching the destination.
Confirmation numbers. If you've ever gone to check in to a hotel only for there to be no record of your reservation, you will swear by this detail. In addition, if I make my booking via a live person (whether it's a hotel, restaurant, tour or activity), I make sure to get the person's name and jot it down. It adds credibility to any unforeseen travel snafus if you can direct previous correspondence to a human being instead of a online booking site.
Contact names, emails and phone numbers.
As a gal who likes options, I like having this information at my fingertips. In most cases, these details can be found with a few clicks on a smartphone, but in the event of no cell service or a dead battery, these details can come in handy to alert a hotel of a late check-in or let a restaurant know you're adding a guest to your party.
Maps and directions.
As much as I trust the GPS on my smartphone for on-the-fly directions, I like to look at a map in advance to get a sense of where I'm going. If directions are especially tricky, I'll take the old school route of printing out directions or packing a map.
Blackout dates. If a museum or restaurant I want to visit is closed on certain days, I make a note of it. On the flip side, if a museum offers a free or discounted day or a restaurant has happy hour or a special deal, like half-price wine night, I make sure to note these exceptions as well.