In less than a week I’m leaving on a jet plane for the wonderful state of Washington. Seriously, I can’t believe this trip is here. Already! We’ve been planning it for over a year and yet it’s catching me by surprise that it’s here! Already! Yippee!!!

My brother, sister and I are each taking my Mom on a leg of this once-in-a-lifetime-dream-vacation. This trip was her 70th birthday present (and Christmas present, and Mother’s day, and every other holiday since she turned 70. I think this was even her 71st birthday gift, too!) So it’s a big deal vacation.

Anyway, my Mom and my brother (and his family) are in California right now and then on Sunday Mom flies to Seattle to meet up with me. Later in the week we’ll spend some time touring Washington with my sister and her husband. (I hope to check out some of the sights you all posted about! Thanks again for that, BTW.)

This is truly a once in a lifetime vacation. Not just for my Mom. But for me, too. So I want to be sure to capture all my memories of being together and traveling in a state I’ve never been to before. So I put together this little binder. It will serve as a planner and a journal during the trip, and then a scrapbook when I get back home.


I used one of my favorite organizing friends the Russell & Hazel mini binder. Then, as luck would have it … I happened upon Making Memories new travel line on a recent trip to Archivers. Have you seen it? It’s totally darling. I was seriously giddy when I saw these products. The ribbon says “together” and that is exactly what this trip is all about: being together … my Mom and me together for a whole week. Ah yes …something you scrapbookers out there can all relate to: finding perfectly appropriate ribbon and getting giddy. My sister on the other hand was completely confused by me and my overly excited reaction to these products … but THAT’s another story.

Back to the binder. On the outside I used some of the MM super cute chipboard letters. I sanded the edges a bit … just because I love a good excuse to use these tools from Basic Grey … and, well, I thought it would look cool.

Washington binder

On the inside I added some Avery sheet protectors and slipped each day’s agenda inside. The agenda is printed on scrapbook paper and embellished with rub-ons from the MM travel line. This agenda will serve as a useful tool while on the trip…housing essential info like hotel confirmation numbers, phone numbers, and so on.

Washington binder

But I’ve also left space to jot down things I want to remember each day. I’m going to add a map of the area of the state we’ll be in (cut to fit inside the protectors) as well as a few MapQuest travel directions. I’ve left a blank page opposite each agenda where I’ve tucked in a tag … again from the MM travel line. I plan to add photos or more journaling or even some ticket stubs from our whale watch or other interesting memorabilia I collect along the way. And because it’s a three ring binder, I can rearrange things when I get back to accommodate the photos I want to add.

I’m sure I’ll make some full page layouts about this once-in-a-lifetime vacation, too … but I know the rest of my life will kick into high gear as soon as I get back. (CHA anyone?) So I’m super excited to know I’ll have a place to capture my reflections while they’re happening on the trip and a great reason to print some of my photos as soon as I get back home!

Thanks for letting me share … I hope you enjoyed the tour of my travel planner and can adapt some of these ideas for your own summer travels.

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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and organizing eBooks.

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