Have you ever had a travel mixup? Earlier this winter, we were headed to Thailand…

Picture this: My fiancé had to go to Thailand for work, so we decided to make a vacation of it. We would be flying separately — I was spending Christmas in California with my family, he was in New York with his — and meeting at the Bangkok airport, where we would travel onward together. But when I arrived, he was nowhere to be found.

I called his phone and it went straight to voicemail. In a state of panic, searching through my email for confirmations, I realized he had just boarded at JFK. When coordinating our flights, with different times zones, we had been fooled by good old AM/PM and accidentally booked tickets arriving a day apart. Alone in a bustling airport, in a country I had never visited, where I didn’t speak the language, with nowhere to stay that night, was not how I envisioned starting my romantic holiday.

Luckily, this never happened. A week before we were set to leave, I had discovered the app TripIt and we narrowly avoided this debacle. I had emailed everything that had to do with my trip — hotel bookings, flight reservations — to TripIt and it lined up all my info in a chronological list right on my phone. With my itinerary laid out so nicely and neatly, I suddenly realized I was arriving a day too early. So, I booked a hotel ahead of time and ended up having a relaxing night alone nursing my jet lag instead of scrambling to find somewhere to stay last minute.

TripIt was super helpful throughout the rest of our vacation, too. The app stores all your reservations and confirmation numbers; updates you on flight delays; and lets you know when you should leave for the airport based on local traffic. It was also fun and satisfying to open it during the trip and see what had been checked off and what we still had on our plate — like a day with these elephants. Honestly, I’ll never travel without it again.

A few other things I always pack for vacation:
* natural wipes for when I am too tired to wash my face after a long day of exploring
* aromatherapy to clear my head on planes (and trains and cabs)
* a dad hat because I never feel normal in those floppy beach hats
* this adaptor if traveling internationally
* and, of course, a gripping read

Have you tried TripIt? Do you have any must-haves or apps for traveling?

P.S. How to plan your best vacation, traveling with a baby, and a romantic trip gone awry.

(Photo by Adam Ferguson. This post isn’t sponsored, we just love TripIt:)