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 Sinclairification by Grant Sinclair

Business Cards and Pocket-sized Notebooks

13 Aug 2008

If you want to stay organized on the road and when you get back home, suggests two very basic items.

- Business cards
- Pocket-sized notebooks

Business Cards
When you travel from place to place, staying in different hostels, hotels and guest houses, the business cards from those places will be a useful thing to have.

As soon as you check in to where you are staying that night, get a business card, for one simple reason: so you can find your way back at the end of the day.

Unless you know the area where you’re staying very well (or have a map handy, which you should anyway) a business card with the address of where you are staying can help you find your way back at night.  Try to get the card in your language as well as the local language.

If you’ve been out all day, seeing the sights and enjoying your time, you may become confused on how to get back to where you’re staying.  The easiest way, though not always the cheapest, is to hand the business card to a taxi driver.

But what if you want to find a market, ruin, or other location that doesn’t use business cards to help you find them?  Enter the…

Pocket-sized notebook!  Locals can write down directions or addresses in that language which you can, in turn, hand to a taxi driver to help you get where you want to go.

I carry my notebook everywhere.  It’s been great for saving E-mail addresses, day to day notes on where I was and what I saw.  I use it for photo notes, too, like which speed film I was using, the conditions, the weather, etcetera.

Another great use for the notebook is keeping a daily log.  Some items can read “11 September 2003, Beijing, Great Wall, Roll #15, 200 ISO.

The log doesn’t have to be detailed, but the smallest detail can help you remember things about your trip that you can enter into an E-mail that night or for a travel journal at a later time.

But the size of the notebook is very important.  When I say “pocket sized”, we mean a notebook that is approximately the following dimensions:

3 inches X 5 ½ inches (7 cm X 14 cm)

If you are looking to buy a notebook, consider the following:

- Get a notebook that opens at the top rather than opening at one side.  This will enable you to use the entire page instead of only part of the page that is taken up by the rings.  When I used a side-opening notebook, I could only use some of the left page; the pen and the rings got in each others’ way and it made for cramped, uncomfortable, incomplete notes.

- A notebook with rings at the top is better than a notebook with adhesive.
Rings help keep the pages together, where as with pages that are bound with adhesive, the glue begins to wear over time and the pages fall out all over the place.  This isn’t speculation, it happened to a friend of mine.

- Get a notebook with a strong back writing surface.  Otherwise, you’ll always have to find something to put the notebook against while writing, instead of just holding it in your hand.

Business Cards again!
Now that the basics are covered, another thing to consider would be to carry your own business cards.  You don’t need anything fancy, just your basic information so you can give them to people you meet while you travel.  All you really need is you name and E-mail address.  You can use the back of the card for notes as well.

You can get cards printed for free (minus shipping) as, or you can go to your local office supply store and buy business card templates to make your own cards on your computer.

There you have it!  Three simple ways to stay organized while traveling. 

© 2008

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