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How to Use a Spreadsheet to Track Accommodation Bookings

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In this post we describe how we use a spreadsheet to track accommodation bookings made on various websites. This practice has a number of benefits to make your travels smoother and more enjoyable.

Review how we used to find and book accommodations for our long term travels around the world.

Create a spreadsheet on Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel, or Apple Numbers.

Add the following columns:

  • City
  • Country
  • Number of Nights
  • Dates of Stay
  • Accommodation Name
  • Accommodation Address
  • Where the website was made (with hyperlink to the website)
  • Total Cost of Stay – Denote the currency
  • Cost/Night (Total Stay/Number of Nights) – Denote the currency
  • *Transport options from accommodation to airport, bus station or car rental agency
  • Links to maps from airport, bus station or car rental agency to your accommodation

Populate the sheet with your booking information.

While step requires some manual input, the benefits of this approach are clear:

  • All accommodations listed at-a-glance
  • Categories are specific to your travels; not forced into ready-made templates that doesn’t work for your use case
  • All accommodation addresses listed in a single location
  • Easy to adjust bookings because reservation method/website was tracked; no longer digging through emails and apps for information
  • View of costs/accommodation & cost/overall trip
  • Sharable with other travelers
  • Linkable to external resources

Map it out.

Determine what what transportation looks like from the airport, train station or car rental agency to your accommodation. Add notes where applicable about transport options offered by the accommodation or parking details.

Confirm your booking location relative to the areas in town you plan to spend time. Is your accommodation within a comfortable walking/biking/train ride range?

List cancellation and booking amendment dates.

Most bookings allow you to cancel or amend a booking for a certain time period, typically a few days or weeks before the stay, without incurring a penalty. Be aware of what those dates are and track them on the spreadsheet.

If you are keeping a budget, create a formula to track your costs relative to your budget.

A delta-from-budget column will explicitly lay out how closely your spending aligns to your accommodation budget. This information can help you make decisions about whether you want to adjust your budget/night, change the quality of accommodation, or adjust your spending in other categories to accommodate for the increase/decrease in spending.

Proactively add in a cushion percentage for (unexpected-but-likely-to-happen) credit card transaction fees.

Although we have a no-fee international credit card, we still added in a cushion for any fees we might incur. We used a 1.8% credit card fee rate in our example below.

Make your spreadsheet available offline and share it with your travel companions.

Make your spreadsheet available offline on mobile and laptop devices. Keep a physical hard copy in your important travel documents in the event immigrations or border control wants to know about your travel plans. Share your spreadsheet your travel companions.

Continue to amend the spreadsheet as your plans develop.

The more time you spend upfront keeping this details accounted for, the smoother time you will have when traveling.

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