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Do you print your travel documents or just use your phone?

Just wondering if it’s still necessary to print out all travel docs on paper, or if I can save weight by just trusting my iPad or phone to have what I need. And is TripIt a good way to organize electronically, or just moving all trip related confirmation emails to a separate folder within my email. I am a list person and LOVE to browse through my plastic-sleeved-pretty-trip-folder, but let’s face it, it’s heavy.

Posted by
14806 posts

I'm still a dinosaur, although things like baseball and football tickets are forcing me, kicking and screaming, to move to smart phone usage. I am paranoid about losing my phone and all the tickets with it, so I'd carry back-up paper copies. 10 pieces of paper does not weigh very much.

Posted by
776 posts

Jen why not email yourself all your travel documents, review it when need too, and print what you need once you are there. You can also scan it to Ipad or phone and save it in a secured file like marked Trip for quick access.

Posted by
1530 posts

Both. We have all documents as copies on paper, as well as on the computer

In 2011, I learned that having everything on the computer is only good if you can find it. I could not find the name of our sobe in Split, Croatia, and finding a cafe with internet was difficult. At that time, English was less common. Finally, I went to a vacation rental place, and told them my story. In 10 minutes, they had figured out the name of our rental agent. I have no idea how.

Posted by
4316 posts

No paper anymore. I basically have things in the cloud; a few things in my Google Drive, but things like my boarding pass might be in the airline app. Hotel reservations are in hotel booking apps with confirmations in my email. Train tickets may be booked through the train booking app.

I actually care a spare smart phone, so in the unlikely case that I lose my primary phone, I could use the backup to get by. Nothing is actually stored on my phone itself (or nothing I can't get back out of the cloud).

Posted by
45 posts

Me too. I always like to have al my documents printed and sorted out nicely in a folder. I think it's safer and gives me control over them. I have them with me, and they can not be lost online or dissappear if something happens to the phone.

Posted by
441 posts

I do both, maybe it's overkill, but I don't mind. I like to have the paper documents, you never know. What if you lose your phone? Some places we are going do not take mobile tickets so I am just printing them all.

Posted by
4477 posts

I have TripItPro and love it. Everything is organized and by clicking on a reservation, all the booking details come up.
I also print out some hotel reservations.

Posted by
288 posts

I do three things: 1) I have paper and throw it away as I use it to make room for souvenirs; 2) I have it downloaded to my phone; 3) For critical things like Boarding Passes/Hotel contact information I photograph the screen shot of the QR code.

I also have a backup power pack charged to go, just in case using the RS audio app tours drains my phone at the worst possible moment.

Posted by
48 posts

For boarding passes, I use the airline app and the Wallet app on my iPhone. If you're at the airport and something happens to your phone, the gate agent is always able to print you another boarding pass. If you feel like you need it in a 3rd place on your phone you can screen shot it and it save it in your pictures.

For confirmation e-mails, I put them all in one folder in my e-mail app.

Posted by
5417 posts

I don't trust my phone at all times (it's an older iPhone and screen blacks out randomly sometimes), so I'm happy with the transparent sleeve presentation folder. I also like looking at docs in actual size, it's just too small on the phone. What I do is save space as much as possible by fitting in as much info on a page as possible and printing on both sides of the page. I get a lot of heat for this old-school way of dragging paper around but, honestly, I don't want to mess with something that works just great for me and hurts/ inconveniences no one else whatsoever (and I can deal with he added weight).

Posted by
530 posts

I still print boarding passes and attraction tickets, but I no longer print hotel confirmations and things like that. Instead they all go into an email folder for that trip. I also type out our itinerary day-by-day and any important addresses, phone numbers and times in the note pad app on my phone. I like that because I can work on it a bit at a time when I have down time. I may look up a good route or find an interesting restaurant to try while I am waiting for an appointment, and then I just add it in.

Posted by
2068 posts

Some things require paper tickets so obviously I print those. If I’m staying in hotels (not Airbnbs) and the paper ticket is needed towards the end of the trip I will store the ticket on the cloud and ask the hotel to print it when needed.

Otherwise I rely on my phone. All documents are sent to my kindle account (free, will turn docs to pdf) so if my phone fails I can re-download them to my rebooted phone, or iPad or my husbands phone or print from a public computer...there is no risk of loosing them. Paper, however I am likely to spill wine on or leave in a cafe or forget when I need it.

I will also make PDFs of blog posts, maps, health translations (for possibly showing to a doctor), hotel confirms, notes, and other info I want available. I can then access this anytime anywhere.

I find it funny that some people (no one specific on here, thinking of real life people!) are so into packing light but take reams of paper and binders of notes when it’s all accessible on a phone that they will have anyway! Invariably they cite fear of tech failure. Yes, possible. But everything can be retrieved from the cloud which is more than I can say for a binder lost in a taxi!

Posted by
1605 posts

I carry printed documents. I want to be sure I have with me and can easily access all confirmations and other important information right when I need it. I guess that makes me a "dinosaur", too, and that's ok with me. I feel much more comfortable having those paper documents right there where I can refer to them when needed and not have to rely on a properly charged phone and/or be able to immediately find what I am looking for (the phone??). I am um....well, an older traveler and am not totally comfortable with using only my iPhone with it's data, confirmations, etc although I do use that from time to time, too. I consider the iPhone & iPad mini back up to the paper documents. I do have, like and use Tripit but still have those paper docs. Not really a big deal for me to carry that tiny bit of extra weight and it's one part of my travels I can control....unlike the airplane flight which even after many trips over the Atlantic and Pacific, still terrifies me!

Posted by
11705 posts

I print out my travel documents, ie, those necessary train tickets, room reservations. I don't use a Smart Phone....don't need it in Germany.

Posted by
1948 posts

I prefer a printed copy, but I pare it down as much as possible and discard as I go. I use a small travel notebook where I note all pertinent info, that goes in my purse and is referred to numerous times throughout the day--and of course my iPhone has my emails for flights and hotels just in case.

Posted by
2695 posts

I print everything since I do not have a smart phone.

Posted by
2606 posts

I print boarding passes as I go. Hotel reservation confirmations and rental car contracts as well when I think I might need them. For a 2 week RS tour, that works out to about 10 pieces of paper. I don't print my detailed itinerary, receipts, or anything else, I just keep them on my phone or pad in the cloud. I even take my guide books in electronic form now. No plastic sleeved folders for me. :-)

I am not willing to go fully electronic because I still see too many people having problems, especially when trying to board airplanes, when the electronic doc is just not enough. One flight I was on recently, the airline's computers were having problems. Anyone with a paper boarding pass was let on their flight. Those with only electronic versions had to go to the customer service counter and get a printed form. Actually many of those were hand written forms! A lot of people missed their flights that day.

Posted by
542 posts

I print what I absolutely have to, including boarding passes as backup. I have copies of everything in Dropbox, downloaded to the phone for offline use. And I carry an older phone as a spare to show online tickets and to listen to audio guides. If that phone is lost or stolen I still have my primary phone.

Everything is downloaded to both phones.

Posted by
1021 posts

I store it all on my phone with a cloud backup on Google Drive.

I like Tripit. Sometimes I create an Excel Spreadsheet and put that on my phone too.

I use GoodReader app for document storage on my phone . I also use Books for PDF copies.

BTW, you can go in through the Tripit web site and append all your info. It will then sync with the app and show up in the app.
I will often append seat numbers, hotel phone numbers etc to Tripit.

I do print out my excel spreadsheet with all my hotel contacts. But that’s one piece of paper.

Posted by
30242 posts

Jen,

Although I have a smartphone, I still prefer to use old fashioned methods with printed copies of important documents. These are usually contained in two plastic sleeves and don't take up a lot of room or add a lot of weight. That's usually quicker and easier than using a phone to access the documents.

Posted by
2884 posts

I use TripIt for organizing reservations, activities ideas and possible restaurants. But, I’m also risk adverse, especially if it’s a solo trip, so I print all reservations-hotels, trains, museums, concerts, etc. I really like that Booking.com allows me to print the reservations in the lodging country’s language- just feel like it’s a courteous gesture to hand them my reservation in their language.

This may seem extreme, but I also print out the TripIt daily itineraries. Since I put a lot of info into TripIt, I can pull out the one page while on the train or bus to review. I don’t need to pull out any electronics or lots of misc. papers.

As I’m throwing away used reservations, I’m acquiring some ticket stubs, restaurant cards, etc. at the new town. Usually my folder ends up with approximately the same amount of papers throughout the trip.

Posted by
4308 posts

I do both, maybe it's overkill, but I don't mind.

Same — plus what someone else mentioned, with taking some screenshots/making PDFs of some documents on my phone so I don't have to have a connection to find the document.

I love my paper!!

Posted by
4566 posts

I have multiple copies : Tripit on my phone and my husband's; paper print out of plane, train and rental car reservations/tickets and lodging information; copies emailed to my husband and saved in his gmail under a trip file. When I lost my phone one week into our recent trip, it was comforting to know there was redundant backup. Also, going through a train check in line we got waved in with paper tickets while others struggled to have their phones read by the scanners.(My phone fell under the Paris apartment bed, was found by the cleaner and was returned when we stopped in Paris on our way to fly home.)
Heavy? A little. But it's like buying insurance -- when you need it, you're really glad you have it.

Posted by
904 posts

In 2011, I learned that having everything on the computer is only good
if you can find it. I could not find ..., and finding a cafe with internet was difficult.

I think there is some confusion here. If you need internet to read it, then it is NOT on your computer. It is in the cloud, e.g. on your mail providers server. Download it to your computers hard disk, then you don't need internet access.

Personally I print everything (and usually don't carry a computer) except boarding cards. They live in the wallet on my iPhone.

Posted by
2068 posts

We are seeing a generation gap here, I think. Some of the arguments given by the paper-preferers make no sense to me, but I'm sure my arguments in favor of tech make no sense to them. Example: the idea of "pulling out an electronic device" to be a hassle - I always have mine handy, pulling out a piece of paper would be the hassle! Or the idea of feeling more secure with paper. To me paper is the least secure thing because if you loose it or spill something on it...it's gone forever. If I loose my phone everything can still be accessed. I'm paranoid and put it in my email, my kindle account, and google docs, as well as the stuff in trip-it. In college I would back up my papers (to actual floppy disks, I'm pushing 40...) constantly after my dad told me a story of his term paper (typed draft, only one) falling into the pond in the 70s on his way into the class to turn it in. This story may not be true, but it stuck with me.

And yes, I never rely on an internet connection in the moment. Everything is on my phone, accessible without internet. I can connect to the internet to re-download it if there's a problem. But to show my ticket or look at my itinerary - it's all downloaded so works with no data, no internet, no wifi - just the phone.

Posted by
175 posts

It might be a generation gap, or it could just be an experience thing. I will do both. I have the paper tickets for museums, trains, etc. and I have the e-mails and pdf documents in my phone. I organized a simple folder with sheet protectors - about one sheet protector per country we are visiting (sometimes two). All of the printed tickets will go into the appropriate sheet protector. That folder will go into my carry-on. I will pull out only what I need for any given day to minimize what I have to carry. However, it's just a backup in case my phone has no service, gets stolen, or has a depleted battery. Well, actually, I guess you could say that both version are backups to their counterparts. If I lose a paper, my phone is my backup source, and vice versa.

Posted by
2187 posts

My Africa travel with no reliable power or internet has stuck with me. I depend on paper including all the painstakingly researched notes I typed up for myself. Until recently, no fast smart phone. I am trialing using phone more but not all are as comfortable with it as others. I don't live on my phone and it isn't a crucial part of my day to day so I return to my comfort zone of inhand assurance.
I print at home except my boarding passes. I have no desire to hunt up a printer on the road. I don't stay in hotels with business services, either. I check in online, but always print boarding passes at the airport. There is always a kiosk that will spit it out for me, and by then it generally includes the gate#.
I guess if one was to ask for advice, the recommendation would be to use whatever reflects your practice at home.

Posted by
5417 posts

It seems like everyone has backups, even those using purely electronic means. It may be a generation gap but I think it's both that and just a matter of simple preferences based on experience. I'm in my 40s perfectly comfortable with technology but I'm out 12 hours a day and my phone battery has fully died more times than I can remember (I take a lot of photos, I mean A LOT), and then there's my weird screen freeze issues. So I don't want to rely on it exclusively (if I did, I would be seriously screwed a number of times I can recall right off the bat). I've traveled with a small duffle bag that fit under a seat to Mexico for one week and yet still could accommodate a thin file with paper stuff, so to me it's just not a big deal. I thought about using TripIt but frankly I don't want to give free apps any more data they can monetize (it's bad enough with Amazon and Google). I think the best thing to do is whatever works best for you.

Posted by
2812 posts

I don't print anything unless required (some airlines require printed boarding passes for non-EU citizens for some reason) but I do have a notebook I carry with me that has addresses, reservation numbers, etc so if my phone runs out of battery or is stolen, I have a functional "backup" of my information that I can access. At least that's the idea, there's definitely been some shorter, last-minute trips where I didn't really bother.

Posted by
2606 posts

It's not my end of the technology chain I worry about, it is the other end. Like the airline computer problem causing everyone with electronic only boarding passes to have to go get a printed one. I am equally comfortable pulling out a printed form or my cell phone, whichever meets the current needs of the situation and keeping my stress level low no matter the problems. I realize technology is not always fool proof. Will it ever reach that level? I can only hope.

Posted by
51 posts

I recently returned from 12 days overseas and carried one plastic sleeve with the printed documents I needed. I just like paper and the weight is negligible. Most things I could reference on my phone as back-up. My system works for me.

Posted by
719 posts

Phone with all the documents died once. Lesson learned.

Paper copies in carry-on. About 1/16th of a pound if you're worried about weight. Maybe a quarter centimeter thick.

There is not always a printer in our rental apartment, nor any guarantee it will work.

Posted by
30242 posts

"Some of the arguments given by the paper-preferers make no sense to me, but I'm sure my arguments in favor of tech make no sense to them. Example: the idea of "pulling out an electronic device" to be a hassle - I always have mine handy, pulling out a piece of paper would be the hassle! Or the idea of feeling more secure with paper. To me paper is the least secure thing because if you loose it or spill something on it...it's gone forever."

I've had my phone "lock up" when trying to access a boarding pass on a couple of occasions, which was a darn nuisance when standing in a queue with impatient people behind me. It's much easier just to present a paper copy, which I have in hand when I reach the checkpoint. With that method, I don't have any issues with temperamental gadgets.

It's in my carry-on so if I lose that I have far greater problems. Spill something on it..... that's why it's in a plastic sleeve. I do use the phone for some things but I always have a backup for important documents.

Posted by
11705 posts

When I travel with the Mrs in Europe, she wants all the necessary documents (boarding passes, hotel reservations, train ride schedules on dep/arr, train tickets, etc, on paper and on the Smartphone.

Traveling solo I wait until check-in to get the boarding pass on paper, the needed train schedules and routes for the trip are written on 3x5 note cards binder clipped, in my pocket, and easily accessible.

Posted by
3486 posts

I still print mine - well, we just recently acquired a smart phone after the system our old flip phone uses was shut down (they sent us a free phone). But having never really used the old cell, I don't see using the new one a whole lot either. I do take my ipad, but since we are at the mercy of whatever free wifi is avail, it's not always reliable.

I actually made myself a hardcover book with pages with pockets in them (it's about 7x12 in, so I can fold my printer paper into 3rds and it fits perfect). Each pocket represents a stop in a city/town on our journey - I put any booking stuff - accoms, train tickets, advance entry for sights - into the pocket for that city (if we don't have that many stops, each day has a pocket - I think there are 18-20 pockets). I discard as we go along and each day I put all our receipts in that day's pocket (I like to do up a budget at the end of it to see where the $$ went). I'll also put in entry tickets or pamphlets I may want to hang on to.

I also find it helps me keep track of where we are moving and when - lol. By the middle of the holiday, things can blend together and I forget which day it is on the itinerary.

Posted by
221 posts

Soft copies of everything including the passport, airline reservations, schedules etc. backed up with hard copy. Phones, computers fail or get stolen or don't have connectivity when it's needed most. Phone numbers/addresses/appointments in my calendar, map application and contact list are also on an SD card.
When you are travelling sometimes a few minutes are the difference between getting where you want to go or ending up in limbo. I make sure that I can produce what I need on the spot...always. It's not an age thing, it's called preparedness. Millions of miles of complicated travel have taught me that when you assume that you have everything covered you'll end up downwind in a sh** storm. I have watched lot's of folks get hung up trying to get their phone app to scan while I board with my printed tickets.... I don't like to be delayed if I can avoid it.

Posted by
70 posts

“actually made myself a hardcover book with pages with pockets in them (it's about 7x12 in, so I can fold my printer paper into 3rds and it fits perfect). Each pocket represents a stop in a city/town on our journey - I put any booking stuff - accoms, train tickets, advance entry for sights - into the pocket for that city (if we don't have that many stops, each day has a pocket - I think there are 18-20 pockets). I discard as we go along and each day I put all our receipts in that day's pocket (I like to do up a budget at the end of it to see where the $$ went). I'll also put in entry tickets or pamphlets I may want to hang on to.”

Nicole, that sounds really cool! Where did you get sleeves that size? Can you post a picture? Has anyone seen any other nifty travel pocket organizers? That of course, weigh next to nothing? 🤣

Posted by
2187 posts

I use a full size 8 pocket poly folder labeled for each city or 'move'. (like this https://www.tops-products.com/oxfordr-poly-8-pocket-folder-letter-size.html). I have reused my purple one for travels for the past 9 years. Also, my local dollar store sells multipocket coupon folder - like this https://www.amazon.com/Expandable-Portable-Accordion-Organizer-13-Resistant-Assorted/dp/B07BNXCQW3 I think Nicole said she made her own. If you want something practical but pretty, you could look at 'journaling' on Pinterest for travel journals. I have seen some with firm covers and envelopes as the 'pockets' for each city or day. You could do similar to include the relevant activities for the day, and they can be the storage space for your ticket stubs or memorabilia for that city or day. Then your 'travel journal' is almost complete for your trip. Barnes & Noble or Amazon might have something premade.
EDIT: This one actually recycles old envelopes and does the trick https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/442619469625882755/
(warning, if you are at all crafty, journaling can become a time absorbing interest......)

Posted by
3486 posts

Jen...yes...I did make my own. I do cardmaking and some small book making and have a coil binding machine. I just made the pages myself out of cardstock and made the cover out of heavy chipboard covered with patterned paper. It fits nicely in the front pocket of my carry on so I can just access it quickly.

Unfortunately can’t post a photo here.

If I wasn’t so crafty, I would probably just use a plastic envelope with dividers or a coupon organizer.

Posted by
2884 posts

I just use the purple one on the link below to hold my itinerary summary and each reservation is in order of use. I put a binder clip on them and zip them into this flexible folder.

Souvenir papers go in the back of the stack; used reservations are discarded.

FYI - the green one is perfect to hold my iPad, and my red one (the size of the yellow in picture) holds my chargers & adapters. I like that they’re colorful, so I haven’t left anything behind.

https://www.amazon.com/EuTengHao-Multipurpose-Document-Personal-Supplies/dp/B07DJ8RKLT/ref=sr_1_26?crid=2APM8N4LW94HP&keywords=mesh+folders&qid=1558551457&s=gateway&sprefix=Mesh+folders%2Caps%2C193&sr=8-26

Posted by
5417 posts

I literally use and reuse this (boring) presentation binder which has sheet protectors in it for just about everything. No way to spill anything since all docs are protected inside plastic sheets. It has 48 pages, more than I need, but it's light and easy to flip through. I used to like those plastic files with the looped thread (for closing) but it's a pain to open/close, and I wanted something really quick and accessible. I also put labeled colored stickies/tabs so I can find and pull out any document easily.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009ZMHP66/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Posted by
225 posts

My flight was delayed and I wasn't sure I was making it home. We sat on the tarmac for two hours in an older plane with no plug ins. Back at the very old terminal, two people were already at the only plug ins and my phone was about dead. I still had to call work to get a substitute, and a few other necessary calls. We finally left and I made my connection by running through the airport-no chance to charge my dead phone. I had no electronic or paper copies. Thankfully, they knew I was coming and took me at my word (didn't even make me show my ID since they delayed their push off a few minutes for me). That taught me a valuable lesson--always have printed AND digital copies.

Posted by
72 posts

I do both. I also take a GPS and a paper map. I've been in places where I have had no service.

Posted by
1530 posts

Having the documents on paper is very important. That way, you can look at 2-3 things together. You can show clerks and tourist agents things. On the phone, it is not as easy to do this.

Posted by
284 posts

There was a time I'd print out everything, and then a time I'd have everything printed out as a backup but still primarily - if not entirely - use my phone. Now, I tend to just go entirely digital unless I'm traveling to a place where I don't feel connectivity/power are as reliable.

Obviously the passport comes with me, along with a photocopy of it in my bag. Beyond that, though, I'll use the phone for boarding passes. At hotels and such, they rarely ever ask for paper confirmations or even confirmation numbers but just ID and a credit card. The redundancies I have beyond my phone (and the necessary travel, airline, or hotel apps for a particular trip) are all in the cloud - I don't much care for how TripIt lays out your itinerary, so prefer just creating a spreadsheet of my itinerary while also having reference numbers, contact information, confirmation numbers, etc in designated columns on it. I can then access that spreadsheet on my phone or laptop. I'll also have confirmation and receipt emails in a special email folder for that trip. Also, if traveling with anyone else, I'll have shared the link to the spreadsheet. Occasionally, if I feel particularly fancy, I'll create a folder on Google docs that not only has the spreadsheet, but also PDFs of relevant documents.

Funny enough, the one time I've had a "crisis" involved losing all my paper copies - my backpack fell off a landing boat on the beach in Ecuador, and by the time it was retrieved all the papers inside were ruined and ink smudged and barely legible.

I'm reliant enough on my phone that if that ever goes missing, I figure I'm screwed enough that I'll have plenty else to worry about! I also tend to always travel with my laptop, and a portable phone charger. Most all my trips the last decade or so have been to places reasonably well "on the grid" so digital systems and redundancies have yet to fail me knock on wood. I've only really bothered with paper backups when circumstances suggested it might be helpful (a trip to Costa Rica, for instance, that involved puddle jumper flights from tiny airstrips, and picking up rental cars in small local offices vs. major airport locations).

Posted by
221 posts

This is my SOP:

Train tickets, concert/event tickets, etc with bar codes- YES (print in A4 format on letter or legal size paper so the bar codes don't get cut off).

Passport ID page- YES - passport instructions say to make two copies of ID page (bring one, leave the other with someone at home)

Airplane ticket- NO (on the airline mobile app)

Hotel confirmation- NO (email and cloud)

Trip insurance- NO (email and cloud)

Posted by
23 posts

Me and my boyfriend are at opposing ends on this...I have everything on my phone (and in the cloud) and he likes to print everything. He has never had to show his printed copies of anything to anybody yet. He understands that he doesn't really need it but likes to have it. It is whatever you feel comfortable with.

I always take a print of my passport and leave it in my backpack, but then again I scanned it and emailed it to me so I can bring it up anywhere when having access to a computer/phone/tablet.

Posted by
516 posts

I always like to have all my documents printed and sorted out nicely in a folder. I recycle each night the pages from the day so the folder gets lighter as I go along. I think it's safer and gives me control over them. I have them with me, and they can not be lost online or disappear if something happens to the phone.

Posted by
68 posts

Both, What if my phone stops working out of the blue? Not to be a pessimist.

Posted by
4316 posts

What if the folder I had all my printed stuff in gets lost? Or ruined by water or something?

Posted by
11705 posts

What I print out and bring along is mainly hotel or hostel reservations in date order....no phone back-up at all. I hardly ever have to show them at check-in. I tell them I have a reservation for such and such nights, etc. My print out is never asked, maybe once in Paris. At first I took out the reservation from the folder, luggage and presented it voluntarily. Now if it's not asked for, I don't show it.

Losing the entire folder of hotel reservations, flight schedules, etc.....it does not happen, not going to happen.

Posted by
11255 posts

Paper is heavy so I minimize. This trip I carried a spread sheet itinerary that included reservation/confirmation numbers, check in times, phone numbers, addresses, sight hours, times, dates, etc. It was two printed pages. It was just in case of emergency. I could have lived without it because I also emailed the spreadsheet to myself and kept confirmation emails in my inbox until I no longer needed them.

Posted by
719 posts

Just got back from London and in at least two instances phone docs were not accepted. One was a Golden Tours day trip and the other was Windsor Castle. There was another instance but I can't recall it. Our paper copies weighed exactly 1/16th (or less) of a pound and were about 2/10th of a centimeter thick.

There were a couple more instances of seeing folks fumbling with a phone either to get something to scan or lack of internet connectivity or whatever. Phones do die at the most inopportune times. Don't ask me about my experience with that!

Posted by
25 posts

Mack ... I say Amen to your comments.

I love your comment: "It's not an age thing, it's called preparedness."

Posted by
11705 posts

I only carry soft copies of what I need to bring and have along....never gets lost

Posted by
284 posts

When I see all this talk of witnessing folks fumbling with phone boarding passes and having problems with them, I wonder how much of that comes down to individuals simply using their mobile boarding passes incorrectly, not opening them up ahead of time and being prepared to have them scanned, or some other such self-inflicted user-error issue rather than the fault of mobile boarding passes themselves.

I've seen people wait until they get up to the gate agent before reaching in to their pocket to pull out a boarding pass, or getting all the way up to the scanner still fumbling through the pockets in their carry on bag to find the boarding pass, or handing over a boarding pass for the wrong flight (a connection from earlier or later in the day), but I don't fault paper boarding passes for that - I fault the user! Similarly, I don't consider credit cards my only viable option because I'll occasionally get stuck in a check-out line behind someone who waits until the last moment to fish out their wallet or purse to start sorting through their cash and change.

Phones break. Paper gets lost. Batteries die. Backpacks get misplaced. Apps crash. Printers run out of ink. You can easily print out a boarding pass from a kiosk. You could easily find yourself waiting in line for a kiosk. Sometimes you won't have internet access. Apple Wallet and Android Passbook apps don't need internet to work (and locally stored PDFs or screenshots don't either). So, certainly, it would make sense that your safest best is going with both paper and electronic, instead of either/or. But I think even the best options can be made faulty when we use them incorrectly ;)

Posted by
671 posts

I’m phone only these days and have an iPad as a backup. I keep a close eye on the battery level at all times and I have a portable charger.

I get that technology fails at times, but I just roll with it. And, occasionally an airline check in kiosk will print out a boarding pass and I’ve seen a few trains that didn’t have e tickets. But, it almost always works and obviously paper can be lost too. Kinda reminds me of the situations where I’ve read on here about people carrying hundreds of Euros or Pounds with them because of the one time a card machine was down.

Posted by
2 posts

I do both. In 2017, six hours before we were to board the plane for a 3 week 50th anniversary trip, my smartphone burned up. All our reservations and bookings were on the phone, as well as city guide maps and language apps, etc..
Fortunately, I also had a soft cover looseleaf with everything printed out in order of use; plane tickets, river cruise info, hotel reservations, travel ins, phone numbers, etc. It didn't take much space and wasn't heavy. I keep it in my carry on bag. We were able to use my husband's smart phone for some of the scanned tickets we purchased while on the trip. Because of the printouts we were never in danger of having our trip ruined. I would never have been able to remember all the different places we were to stay, and I doubt I could have gotten that info anywhere as I made all the arrangements myself. It's called "back-up". Today a great back-up is the 'cloud' - if you have internet access. We had one smart phone and our laptops, but the laptops needed WiFi to be able to access the cloud and at times that was difficult. It was a great trip!

Posted by
11705 posts

Papers do not get lost...doesn't happen. Never lost or misplaced a print-out needed on a trip, be it a hotel reservation, boarding pass, train ticket, etc.

Batteries for the digital camera do die but you always have a fully charged reserve battery handy too when you're out and about....you don't lose batteries or misplace them.

Posted by
1 posts

I flew to Paris with my passport without a problem. On my return I had issues with security to get to the counter without a hard copy to return. I now always carry a hard copy. Also because in Boston during a storm there were difficulties accessing the airport WiFi. I too have had issues scanning my boarding pass on my phone numerous times at the gate. Hard copy wins for me, even if only as a backup.

Posted by
1 posts

I used to rely on my smartphone for all travel documents. It was great until one day my phone died only minutes before boarding a flight. Since they did not have a printer at the gate, I had to wait until someone from ticketing printed a boarding pass and brought it to the gate. Since then, I both save everything to the cloud, and print out documents that are essential.

Posted by
120 posts

Everything on paper - I don't trust phone batteries. I try to print out only the minimum paper required, and set my printer to use only black ink. I use white space on the paper to write down descriptions of my photos. I tried TripIt, didn't like it.

Posted by
2884 posts

For my hotel reservations from Booking.com, I print the reservation in the hotel’s language. I think it’s a nice way to begin the communication with the front desk by saying hello in their language and handlng them the paper reservation in their language.

Posted by
1530 posts

Just yesterday, we traveled from Serbia to Romania. The Romanian border guard was quite pushy about our travel plans. He wanted to know our Romanian plans. He wanted to see hotel reservations.

Fortunately, I had asked my wife to take a screen shot of our apartment. There was no internet at the border checkpoint.

If you are going to use your cellphone, take screen shots of all documents and reservations. They go to your saved pictures folder, and all you need is power to get them up.

Posted by
36 posts

Call me a Luddite but I always use hard copy. I consider it more reliable, since if anything goes wrong [e.g. getting it wet] it is down to my own carelessness or mistake and possibly can be corrected by myself. If my electronics go down my options are much more limited. I do keep my relevant records in a folder in my email as a backup reference, although that relies on an internet connection, not universally available. I am reminded of a one panel cartoon I saw years ago. One person was leaving an office, two people remained behind watching him leave. One of the remaining men says to the other, "That man has a mind like a computer. He keeps making fantastic mistakes."