With carry on bags getting smaller and less briefcase-like as laptops and other personal electronics shrinking in size and weight, we see many travellers fumbling to organise the pieces of paper we all use to travel.
Airline ticket confirmations, hotel booking printouts, rental car reservations, directions... watch at the airline or hotel check-in counter to see how many people are hunting around for pieces of paper.
I like to solve this problem with a brightly coloured memo pouch or document wallet -- brightly coloured so that it stands out in my bag and is obvious if I happen to forget it where I've put it.
That way, if it's still dark on the hotel bus to the airport in the morning, and you suddenly realise your printed boarding pass isn't in your pocket, you can easily find it in the dark without things spilling everywhere.
When you're booking flights, hotels and rental cars, keep the document wallet near your desk, slotting in things like airline confirmations, hotel bookings and rental car reservations. Taking multiple trips? You or your PA can use different wallets for each trip.
If you're on a longer, multi-stage trip, consider a concertina-style pouch like the one I use, or separate the different segments out with sticky notes. Slap a sticky note with the destination written on it sideways on each airline confirmation, and use the confirmations as dividers in your file.
The document wallet is also a top place to store receipts for when it comes time to submit those vital expense reports. If you have an assistant or accountant who does them, you can send them all off lock-stock. Even if you're doing the accounts yourself, at least everything's uncrumpled and in one place.
Top tip: if you're on a multi-country trip where different currencies are involved, it's very helpful to separate out receipts by currency in one of the pockets of a concertina-style pouch or a separate document wallet.
Full-size or half-size?
You probably don't need one that's full A4 paper size unless you're wrangling a serious amount of paper. Larger document wallets are good for regular pieces of paper, but smaller bits of paper like receipts, baggage tags and boarding passes tend to go astray in the bottom.
Consider a pouch that's half the size of a piece of paper or the size of a piece of paper folded into thirds.
I use a Moleskine Memo Pocket -- large size, and in a bright red -- but your workplace stationery cupboard or an office supply store should yield something equally suitable.
About John Walton
Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.