Going paperless on holiday: How to reduce the documentation you carry on your next trip

Travel can be easier if you're not worried about where you put your documents. It's about going paperless.
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(Director’s note: If you’re traveling this summer and dread printing out all your documents, read these handy tips on how to travel paperless. Travel writer Amanda Miller lists the benefits of using your phone instead of your printer.)

We all want something less to carry while we’re traveling. Take a look at our tips to not get lost in piles of paperwork.

What are the benefits?

There are a lot of benefits to going paperless when on holiday, and the first is simple and the most relatable: They’re a nuisance. Printing out confirmation emails you receive about your holiday plans as a backup can be a hassle. And it doesn’t help if you’re traveling light. Carrying the emails with you might seem useful if you’re visiting many places in the same trip and you’re worried something might get deleted, but it’s highly unlikely that a situation like this will occur.

Everything is already on your phone, and anything lost accidentally can easily be restored from your phone’s version of the recycle bin. It means that everything from hotel bookings to train tickets can all be accessed from one place with no extra weight.

That’s all without mentioning how wasteful printing out all these emails and tickets can be. Realistically the hotel receptionist is looking for one thing: your order number or even your name and everything else can be found from there.  

Download the apps

The first thing to do when you are trying to go paperless on your trip is to download all the apps: your airline, your hotel/hotel booking system, your connecting transport apps. These apps will hold all your order or booking details which you can show staff. In most cases, there will be a QR code that the airlines can scan as well, saving you time and effort during your trip.  

Use your calendar and Apple Wallet

There are other options to apps. There is also your phone’s calendar and your phone’s wallet. Apple Wallet, for example, likes to keep track of just about anything from your apps and emails, be them loyalty cards or flight bookings. 

That’s helpful as a simple double click on the lock screen will then pull up your flight details rather than you go hunting through an app you might not have looked at in months. It might even have logged you out by then. Keep track of your dates and times by allowing your calendar to siphon the details from your confirmation emails and never miss a flight again.

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Think about your health

We’re in a post-Covid world. Unfortunately, that means that even though we all try to forget, Covid is still lingering. Although the number of countries requiring this has dropped, you might need a negative test or proof of vaccination for a specific location, so make sure you check your government website for the details. 

The good part about this is that if you’re in the United Kingdom, you can download the NHS Covid passport app and carry around the proof in your hand.

Of course, outside of this, you might get ill, in which case, you can prepare for this by getting travel insurance via your phone. As an example, check out the holiday cover by Staysure which will cover you against cancellation, lost or stolen baggage, money or passports, and most importantly, medical cover. And with this, you simply need to call your provider should something go wrong.  

Get nerdy about it

If you’re going on a hitchhiking, cross-country sort of trip with lots of destinations and journeying, you might want to make a spreadsheet. Yes, really. You can keep track of where you need to be and when and thanks to something like Google Drive you can download your spreadsheet and keep it with you as you travel.