Being an extremely anal planner, the most important detail for me is making the overall schedule (i.e. flight times, reservations at Avistar parking lot & O'Hare or Orlando hotel, Happy Limo pick-up time, preferred Palo and spa appointment times, and even a tentative schedule of activities for whole cruise, e.g. 70s party, kayaking at Castaway Cay, etc.). I actually type everything up on a sheet of paper, with all relevant reservation numbers, times, etc., and make a copy for both hubby and myself in case we lose one. Then this goes into a big envelope with all the stuff we need for the trip (cruise docs., birth certificates, etc.), and all the info. is also written on the outside of the envelope. Not too compulsive, am I?! I think it's a habit I got into with all the priority seatings and other ressies needed for our WDW trips.
It may sound like a lot of trouble, but actually I really enjoy planning our trips down to the last detail. And it removes any headaches once you are on the trip. We don't force ourselves to rigidly stick to the schedule if we choose not to, but it gives us a "baseline."
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Don't leave home without your Amex! Love that card. I just as anal when it comes to vacation planning. I too would have a schedule prepared in excel (with all confirm #s, hotel, rental car, meals, etc) plus a budget (hotel/air/transfer/meals/tip/entertainment (spa included)), the only thing left out is purchases (since we love to shop, and will not put ourself on a shopping budget).
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