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How do you organize your travel receipts, tickets, etc?

Hello Everyone!

I always seem to acquire a collection of ticket stubs, receipts, train tickets, brochures, city maps, and other mementos.

During the trip, I keep all these pieces of paper in a zip-lock bag, and only try to keep the things I want.

I used to organize my photos, and some of the trip mementos, in scrapbooks but haven't done that in years.

I'm wondering... How do you organize your trip receipts, ticket stubs, and mementos, once you get home?

Thanks!

Priscilla

P.S. I wasn't sure where I should post this question.

Posted by
3534 posts

I save credit card receipts from hotels, rental cars, etc in an envelope. I also have a special envelope for all ATM receipts
I rarely save anything else that I can't use again like ticket stubs, train tickets. So, I guess I don't organise any mementos now. I used to keep them but they sat in a box in storage. I cleaned out my trip folders and threw all those things out.
I now save an occasional brochure and a city map if I think I may return. I put those in a zip lock bag until I return home. Then I put them in appropriate places such as my international map file. I used to make photo albums, never made a scrapbook. I make trip photo albums on my laptop now.

Posted by
552 posts

Hi Priscilla,

Like you, when traveling out and about, I keep my receipts, stubs, business cards, maps designating a certain area, & brochures of interest. During my travel, I also put them in a zip-lock in my hotel room.

When I return home, I organize them and put them in the sheet protectors; the ones you would use in a business office. I then put them in a colorful, three ring binder for future reference and memories.

On another note, I bring small padded envelopes; maybe two (about 8 x 4), for postcards I buy that I keep as picture memories.

Two years ago, I went to La Feltrinelli and found some nostalgic Christmas cards that I bought for framing. One had Buon Natale, another Merry Christmas and yet another with Buone Feste. All were cream colored with adorable old-fashioned scenes and Cupid-like children on the cover. They did not fit in the envelope but I used flat pieces of cardboard to keep safe.

Posted by
852 posts

I use a red composition book for a journal as I travel. I only write on one side and I take a glue stick and paste those on the opposite appropriate page. The tickets with a photo you get in museums or major sights make wonderful souvenirs. I also paste receipts of restaurants I really like to remember the name and I do the same with my boarding passes at the beginning and end to remember the date and the airline and route and I took. When I look back at the journal I love the bits and bobs I've collected along the way.

Posted by
1065 posts

I use an iPad case (Vera Bradley) where I put my reservations - hotel, rent a car, prebooked tours museums.etc. I put the stubs, receipts, and city maps in there as we go along. After I get home I go through the case and use the stubs, etc to help me make my photo book then discard them. I keep my cities maps and any interesting brochures in a file drawer I have categorized by country, in case we return or someone else is going. The receipts I keep to make sure I don’t receive any phantom charges. We usually check our accounts each evening while away for this reason and to see how much it is in $. We also keep our receipts and car agreement in case we receive a ticket down the road. These I leave in the case so I know where they are. The case goes in my travel drawer.

Edit: Laurie, love your idea. I also keep a journal for each trip, will try this next trip.

Posted by
29608 posts

Priscilla,

I also save things like train tickets, brochures, city maps etc. as I've found that items like that are helpful in planning future visits to those locations. The original plan was to place them in three ring vinyl sheet protectors but that wasn't an ideal solution as the collection was often too large to fit into the protectors.

My current method is to place all souvenirs from each year into a labelled plastic bag, and then store these in a plastic bin similar these models (choose appropriate size for the expected size of the contents) - https://www.homedepot.com/p/Sterilite-6-Qt-Storage-Box-in-White-and-Clear-Plastic-16428960/203120094 . One bin is usually able to hold the bags for two trips, and I label the front of the bin to denote the contents (ie: Europe 2015 / 2016). I'm presently doing some cleaning and organizing, and the bins are currently stored in the closet in one of my spare rooms.

Keeping track of and archiving travel stuff is somewhat a "work in progress", so this may evolve in future.

Posted by
204 posts

Over the years of my trips, I have kept fewer physical mementos in favor of my digital collection. I (try to) log and capture everything digitally (with photos) during my trip.

I print as few things as possible at the start of each trip, using online versions (in DropBox for access on or offline) whenever a hard copy is not required. I bring envelopes from home for the collection of receipts, ticket stubs, etc - one per country or currency or week or town, depending on the geography and length of the trip.

Ticket stubs, etc: I (try to remember to) take a photo of each city map, ticket stub or sight brochure the day I go to that place or event. That becomes a part of my digital collection of memories of my trip, timestamped with the photos so it's already in the correct digital sequence.

I log expenses in an Android app, which allows me to snap/upload a photo of the receipt. This gives me an easy record of the total cost of my trip, by category. (I keep hoping the Quicken app will improve to support foreign currencies so that I can switch to using it. That would be digital delight!)

I keep the physical mementos until I get home, where I confirm I've captured it all and decide there what to keep, or mostly discard. I choose a few things to display on my magnetic "My Travels" board.

Posted by
4791 posts

i keep the cards from restaurants that i like in my photo book with other mementos like
maps museum brochures and some tickets. I take trips all the time for pleasure so I have a following of a couple of co-workers that like to see my photos and stuff. some of which I use to decorate my otherwise bland cubicle.
I take continuing education language classes so I use some of this stuff in presentations In French or Spanish.
The receipts i put in the circular file: the garbage

Posted by
561 posts

Gallon ziploc bag for each country or if within one country each region. After I do my scrapbook anything not included pretty much gets tossed.

Posted by
10381 posts

Many museums, cablecars in the Alps and Dolomites, Venice vaporetto, and other attractions or transport have very attractive tickets the size of a credit card with a photo and the name. These are very tempting to keep as souvenirs and take up little space. But then what do you do with them? I do not make scrapbooks but I used to make photo albums. Now not so much; I just keep my photos on my iPad or Nixplay and enjoy them that way. But I still have a bunch of those attractive tickets stashed away in my travel drawer.

Other ticket stubs, train tickets, etc., I discard once the correct payment has posted to my credit card.

This doesn’t answer your question, Pricilla, but Just want to express sympathy for your dilemma. I have found that ten years later I come across them unexpectedly and enjoy the memory. They remind me of pleasant experiences I did not capture with a photo.

Posted by
2557 posts

Hi Priscilla!

When I’m traveling, I have my paper travel packet of itinerary, hotel reservations, train tickets and event reservation tickets clipped with a binder and placed into one of these. If my husband is traveling with me, I give him a copy of the same as a back-up.
https://www.amazon.com/JPSOR-Zipper-Travel-Cosmetic-Pouches/dp/B07DLLG5ZF/ref=sr_1_9_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1548819236&sr=8-9-spons&keywords=travel+zipper+striped+mesh+folders&psc=1

As we travel, I throw away my papers as we use them. At the same time, I am acquiring receipts, other tickets, and brochures from museums, etc. that I place into my zipper envelope. By the time we are back home, I have about the same amount of pieces of paper as when I started. I place both my stuff and the full copy that my husband carried into one of these:
https://www.staples.com/Staples-Poly-Envelopes-with-Side-Opening-Letter-Clear-10-Pack/product_486515

I keep all of these in a tote bin in our closet. I find it fun to look through them a year later - touch the items and enjoy the trip all over again. My mom treasured these types of momentos when she could no longer travel, and I feel like I will be sentimental when that time eventually comes for me, too. I haven’t made a scrapbook of any of them...I am still trying to finish my photo books of each trip!

Posted by
449 posts

I keep a daily journal while traveling and like Laurie, a glue stick also comes along. I always buy a post card from the place I am visiting, either a picture of the city, one from a museum or a site (like a castle I visited). I paste these in the journal and maybe make a little note along side the post card page. This helps cut down on the writing I have to do each night, but also is a great pictorial of what I did that day. I'll even paste in the tickets to enter a sight ( castle, concentration camp, musical event), train tickets, whatever I feel that I want to remember. It solves the problem of what to do with all the receipts you tend to collect. As for city maps, brochures etc.., when I get home I put them in a gallon size zip lock bag and write the date of the trip and the countries involved. I've referenced these many times and find them useful.

Posted by
4032 posts

Wow! Thanks everyone!

I've enjoyed reading all your comments, suggestions and ideas! Some of you are so creative!

So... I decided to start cleaning my "junk drawer", and I came across some things (airplane, train, and museum tickets) that I'd thought I wanted to keep at the time, but have decided to recycle them. I even found passport copies of now expired passports!

I will keep a few favorite restaurant cards, some postcards and such, but...

I've come to the realization that the memories we've created, along with the photos and the journals, are the best souvenirs;
and these I will treasure for a lifetime! ; )

Thanks to each and every one of you!

Posted by
2868 posts

I'm not much of a keeper, don't do a journal or a scrapbook or anything similar. I used to do a travel blog for friends and family, but when they started doing Facebook, I switched over to that. It's now the only way I keep a record of my travels.

One thing I've never seen mentioned anywhere is that I select special pictures from my trips and put them in a favorites folder for that trip on my PC. I use that folder for my screen saver. So those favorite pictures from my last trip cycle through randomly and are a delight each time I see them.

Posted by
795 posts

Things I need for my trip, e.g. tickets, reservations, I keep in a folder in the order I need them. A return ticket I need again will be moved down in the pile when I have used the outbound part.

Receipts I keep in a plastic bag until I have typed them into my accounting spreadsheet. Then they are thrown away.

With pictures I do as Lo.

Posted by
1446 posts

I do a discard along the way, but there is always something coming home with me. I keep that in a ziplock or manilla folder waiting for review and organizing....which rarely happens. I am better at storing photos by trip, location and date. I send some to work to add to my screen savers.
For beautiful tickets like Art Nouveau Museums with images, I turn them into book marks. I still use paper books. Hole punch the top and add a scrap of ribbon or string, or laminate first if you have the supplies.

Posted by
2333 posts

No one seems to use my system. I carefully tuck away receipts and tickets in a plastic envelope or a zip bag. I do this so that later I can reconcile them with the credit card statement, and also to see exactly how much I actually spent. Except I never do. Months or years later, I come across these receipts and puzzle over them before throwing them out. Sometimes they spend a bit of time on top of a dresser. Then I start anew with the next trip, vowing to get to those receipts before they fade to nothing.

Posted by
1392 posts

I used to put together big albums with brochures, ticket stubs, and photos. Plenty of work! I do love having a physical memento, and my old school parents and family members like those more than scrolling through digital photos. As the years have gone on, the albums are getting smaller though.

When I travel, I keep my receipts in a plastic envelope, and after post-trip bank reconciling, toss most of that out. I only keep brochures for things I want to remember later, but even those get tossed eventually. A friend gave me this ticket stub diary for my birthday, and it has been a fun spot to stow some treasured little items (old passports, ticket to Machu Picchu).

Posted by
1898 posts

I bring paper 'back up' on my trip in a plastic envelope. As I accumulate tickets, receipts, cards, etc. I add them to the back of the envelope. I also keep a hand-written journal. When I get home the journal and papers go into a full sized plastic envelope...no organization of the papers. I enjoy years later, or if a friend has a question, going through these...belatedly enjoying the low prices, activities, etc. Also, not to be morbid, when my mother passed away, I enjoyed this information on her trips so perhaps my daughter will enjoy mine.

Posted by
1446 posts

I used to keep a private travel blog I shared with family. No one had time to read it. I made some travel photo books. Even I don't look at them after the first time.....but I think it is a better source than online photos.....particularly for when I die or too old to deal with a computer. Now I take photos with a camera (because I like close ups and detail photos), but I also do a few phone shots for Instagram. That my family looks at.
I still keep paper back up as my smart phone is getting old and I can't rely on having wifi to bring things up where needed. If a complicated trip with checked luggage, I have a multipocket full sized folder and identify every pocket for a city (or 2). Back up goes in there with travel notes - and the ripped guide book section for that region/city. Receipts and stuff went back into those pockets after I discarded back up no longer relevant.
then it went to one plastic 'manila-style' envelope with a velcro closure (or zip top).

Now it is a half size manila envelope that goes into a mesh packing cube that is an awkward size for clothing, but perfect for all the bits and pieces I like handy for airplane travel. It is my 'organizer' as well as 'house for other stuff'.
I keep maps and some details if I think I will return.
Receipts are kept for statement reconciliation then shredded. I do keep a running list of expenses per city and enter those into my travel budget to see if I met it or not.
I have been doing a lot of travel these past 9 months. I seem to be unpacking just enough to replace for the next trip, so paperwork goes into an envelope with the intention of organizing during our long, cold, miserable Canadian winter.
I don't buy 'stuff' anymore, but usually have some little thing or post card I can post on my large work bulletin board. Those are the things that make me smile and remember why I go to work everyday - to afford to travel.

Posted by
1904 posts

When I was younger I carried a paper journal and a glue stick - I'd glue ticket stubs, etc right in as I went. No mess of stuff to organize at home! I don't do that anymore because I never end up looking at it and I got more into photography as a means of memory keeping.

So as to keeping paper items - I don't, usually. While on the trip I keep things I may need in a ziplock bag in my suitcase. If I'm leaving a city I will recycle any brochures/maps for that city (unless I plan to return within a year or so). When I get off the train/plane and am past any checkpoints, I toss my tickets. I keep receipts if I need to verify them with my credit card later, then shred them at home. They stay in the ziplock until then.

If there is something on paper with sentimental value that I want to keep I will put it in its own ziplock for protection, then display it at home. I have a few menus from exceptional restaurants hanging. I like maps so if I ever run across an especially nice looking one on my travels I'd do the same thing.

I just don't like having a lot of "stuff" at home. My souveniers a few small decorative items on my shelf, and most important are my photos and the written summary of each day I keep electronically. I enjoy photography as a hobby and I have some photos I love from each trip. Some of these are hanging in my home, some are the screensaver on my TV, some are just printed in an album, and many thousands are on the computer and back-up. I only print the ones I really like. I take thousands and end up with 30ish per trip that I consider "good enough" for a printed album, less for hanging/display.

Posted by
8165 posts

I organize them into recycling along the way and the last batch at home. On the road I track expenses into a spreadsheet and hubby maintains the usual (excessive for a couple) financial tracking. Once an accountant always an acccountant. I journal into the same Excel workbook and those notes become reference for future trips, blog posts on my three sites, and to help with questions here on the Forum.

Like Lo, my pictures from our annual trip become a screensaver for the following year. I also have about 1200 fave from over the years that Imhave in Amazon Photos and I can play a slideshow through the Fire TV Stick, which is popular with visitors and provides us with a memory test. 😁 (Was that Venice in 2010 or 2016?)

Posted by
4032 posts

Thanks everyone for all the great ideas!

I will look into getting some of those plastic envelopes to keep my papers organized while traveling.

Well... My small shredder was busy last evening as I shred a pile of old receipts that I really didn’t need to keep.

I really like the idea of keeping some of the beautiful ticket stubs and turning them into book marks, thanks Maria!

Many of you use your favorite photos as screensavers, I love this idea and need to figure out how to accomplish this on my computer.

I have a Mac computer and it seems like my screensaver consists of all the photos in my photo library!

Hmmm...

Posted by
2956 posts

I am always careful to preserve all airline boarding passes, and especially purchase receipts, in case of a dispute over airline points. The printed itinerary may be enough to get you aboard the plane but the actual receipt may be required to reconcile the points (I am in the midst of a squabble right now over required documentation.)

Posted by
2868 posts

Karen, I had to laugh with self-recognition when you posted this:

"I carefully tuck away receipts and tickets in a plastic envelope or a zip bag. I do this so that later I can reconcile them with the credit card statement, and also to see exactly how much I actually spent. Except I never do. Months or years later, I come across these receipts and puzzle over them before throwing them out."

As I've gotten older, I do less and less record keeping. In consultation with many friends over the years, I realized that I was the odd-ball for doing all that record keeping, not them for not doing it. I now have all my receipts from 2018 to reconcile (or not) with my credit union and credit card statements. With the changes for this tax year, I'm thinking a simple check of all the statements to see if anything looks odd will suffice because we will no longer need to itemize. What a relief that will be. I hate record keeping almost as much as I hate house keeping.

I do still do a spreadsheet to plan for my trips so I have a pretty good idea of what it will cost. I keep it mostly up to date on my trip, because it's on the tablet I take with me. That's enough!

Full disclosure: I recently discovered that I have some trip things from as far back as 2014. The recycling and shred bins are being prepared for the load.

Posted by
10831 posts

I keep those artifacts listed above from the trips too, most of them, have some receipts from Germany going back to the first trip in 1971. What I mostly organise are the postcards, the photos or slides, the pocket notebooks are labelled by its year, the year of the trip, other mementos in date order, ie, from which particular trip.

You can't keep everything but I keep a moderate amount, it depends what the particular artifact is, how unique it is, etc....It's all a judgement call.

Posted by
1200 posts

I have pasted all these things (including photos) in a scrapbook. When I go back to my earlier books (starting 1999), all the flimsy cash register receipts are now blank! The ink has completely faded away.

Posted by
4032 posts

Southam,
I hope your dispute gets settled soon.

Fred,

You can't keep everything but I keep a moderate amount, it depends what the particular artifact is, how unique it is, etc....It's all a judgement call.

I agree with your comment, thanks!

Janet,

all the flimsy cash register receipts are now blank! The ink has completely faded away.

Ha! I'm finding the same thing happening to my old receipts!

I've been emptying my recycling bin a couple of times since I started cleaning out my drawers!

Posted by
2525 posts

The “good” documents, etc. are tossed into a file for each trip. The kids will back a large dumpster and solve the clutter.

Posted by
2167 posts

I have a small zippered compartment in my pullman where I place all of my credit card receipts at the end of the day. I then keep them until the credit card bill is paid. After that, they are shredded.

I keep the tickets/programs/pamphlets whether they are from a museum, palace, theatre, opera, train ride, boat, etc. and put them in my travel wallet I use to store the foreign cash I take home when the exchange rate is just too good not to take out extra money for my next trip.

Posted by
4032 posts

Bruce,

The “good” documents, etc. are tossed into a file for each trip. The kids will back a large dumpster and solve the clutter.

Ha, ha! A large dumpster! I don't have that much stuff!

Continental,

I also always try to keep at least €100 for my next trip!

Posted by
469 posts

Thanks for posting this, Priscilla. It's fun to read what others do with all of these little mementos.

I took my daughter to Europe with me for the first time when she was just eight years old. After our trip, my daughter asked me if she could have all the left over tickets stubs, Eurorail passes, pretty museum tickets, etc. She ended up making the cutest scrapbook that I still have and treasure 30 years later.

Posted by
2167 posts

Continental,

I also always try to keep at least €100 for my next trip!

When the dollar is strong, it's a good thing to do especially when you know you'll be back.

Posted by
4032 posts

Christine,

Thanks for sharing about such a lovely treasure made by your young daughter!

Continental,

It’s a great idea to keep some €, just so we can have a good excuse to return to Europe! 😉

BTW, I have a few old £5, & £10 bills (from 2016), and I suppose I have to exchange them at the Bank of England! (or save them as souvenirs)

Posted by
2167 posts

It’s a great idea to keep some €, just so we can have a good excuse to
return to Europe! 😉

Yes you do!

BTW, I have a few old £5, & £10 bills (from 2016), and I suppose I
have to exchange them at the Bank of England! (or save them as
souvenirs)

Yes, the Bank of England will exchange old paper notes.

Posted by
10831 posts

Hi,

Among the trip artifacts I keep are coins and some bills now no longer in circulation, eg French Franc coins and German DM coins, plus the 10 DM bill. This includes the brochures from the early 1970s or a train ticket, etc. aside from the Youth Eurail Pass, 2nd class valid for 2 months, which was introduced in 1971...a very timely introduction as I was going over for the first time that summer.