Showing up at a hotel, a ticket agent desk, or a car rental counter and being asked for your hotel rewards program number, your frequent flier account number, or your "Preferred #1 Emerald Club Gold Expresslane" account number, and not having it handy, can be very time consuming (not to mention stressful and frustrating!). Sound familiar?

If so, here is a VERY simple tip for you -- have you ever considered putting all of those important numbers in a single, easy-to-access and secure place? I have done just that, and it has made traveling so much easier and more enjoyable (and my wallet SOOOO much thinner!)

Here's how: A few years ago, I downloaded a very inexpensive Palm software program named "Secret!" by Linkesoft GmbH ($21.90). Secret! is basically a standard “memo pad” for your Palm PDA device, except that it is password protected and does not show up in an easy-to-access format on your desktop or laptop (even though the data IS backed up when you synchronize your device!) Create a password that only you know, and then create a single memo in that program named "Frequent Flyer/Travel #s". You can input line-by-line entries with your account numbers for each of the many frequent flier, hotel, and car rental numbers.

Whenever I travel now and need to access my account numbers, I simply pull up "Secret!" from my Palm programs icon, enter in the password, open up the travel memo, and "voila!" I'm in business with all of my travel account info. If you also have handy the toll free numbers for major hotels, airlines, and car rental companies, you can actually do just about any needed travel transaction just by having your PDA handy along with your cell phone. (And if you are really slick, you can use your combination PDA/Smart Phone device and have all of your information in one place!)

I did a quick search on the PalmOne Web site -- www.palmone.com (Pocket PC users, check the PocketGear site -- www.pocketgear.com), and not only did "Secret!" pop up, but so did about 100 other PDA password-protected memo/storage programs, some less than $10. And of course, if you are a planner user, you could create a single page in your planner that has all of these account numbers (but make sure you don't lose your planner or let it get stolen!!) I've actually taken advantage of "Secret!" to not only list my private travel account numbers, but I also have a memo with all of my Internet account log-ins and passwords (who can possibly remember all of these!!), telephone calling card account numbers, credit card account numbers, and even memos on my personal goals and dreams (because I don't want just anybody reading my goals and dreams!!) You could put just about anything that is very private in this memo pad, and be confident that it will stay just that -- very private!

And of course, using this strategy has also saved me a lot of time, because I don't have to fumble around with 300 travel cards, or try to remember 300 different Internet account log-ins and passwords -- now I just have to remember one (the password to "Secret!" itself), and I can find all of the rest of these account numbers, names, and passwords whenever I need them. I hope this tipallows you to be a more efficient and less-stressed traveler (and Internet user!) And without all of these traveler cards to haul around with you, you will no longer have to check your wallet or purse as an extra oversized piece of baggage.

Author's Bio: 

Randy Dean (www.randalldean.com) is the "Totally Obsessed" Time Management/PDA Guy and E-mail Sanity Expert. A very popular speaker and trainer, Randy has led programs all around the United States on better time management and e-mail sanity. The author of the book, Major Satisfactors = Major Success, and developer of the popular speaking/training program, "Taming the E-mail Beast: Key Strategies for Better Managing E-mail and Information Overload", Randy is working on a new book on better managing your e-mail account, to increase productivity and sanity (visit his web site for a special sneak preview). Randy also has popular speaking programs for conferences and association meetings, including his "Finding an Extra Hour Every Day" program, "The PDA Power Program", and "(RE)Awakening the Passion and Energy in Your Work and Life", as well as highly rated training programs, including his highlight full-day "Time Management for Busy Managers, Leaders, and Professionals" course. You can learn much more about Randy and his upcoming courses and programs at www.randalldean.com.