Tuesday’s Travel Essentials: Save Money On Paper, Take Photos of Things Instead

My boarding pass for my recent flight to Dili, I didn't have a printed booking this time.

My boarding pass for my recent flight to Dili, I didn’t have a printed booking this time.

It’s been a while since I did a Tuesday’s Travel Essential and while it’s been a slow week in East Timor, this one is overdue. Saving money on paper? Me being “green”? Well, kind of a new thing really…decades have passed since people started talking about going paperless and the whole “green travel, green world” idea. The idea of going paperless is a nice idea, but not very practical until recently – airline companies used to demand paper print outs with your bookings. Not any more – my recent trip to East Timor was the first time I’d turned up to the airport without any paper preparation of my trip – not even a hostel or flight booking!

Saving money on paper?? This was once the paper I needed for my Hong Kong Working Visa application! Crazy.

Saving money on paper?? This was once the paper I needed for my Hong Kong Working Visa application! Crazy.

While there have been advances made in paperless technology, we still use a great deal of paper in various forms through the days, weeks, and months. There are still faxes to send, contracts to sign, and toilet paper to use. OK so toilet paper isn’t even that essential anymore is you read my toilet tips recently. Even though it’s not yet feasible to go completely paperless, there are many ways in which you can use less paper, leave less of an environmental footprint, and save money while doing so. Here’s my Tuesday’s dose on how to do it:

1. Print Paper Only When You Need It

Instead of rushing out to the store to buy reams of special types of paper, consider printing them out. If you need grid paper, lined paper, or even music paper, there are many sites that will allow you to print out as few or as many pages of these types of paper as you want. If you have children who need special types of paper for their homework assignments, you can save money by only printing off as much paper as they need throughout the year. On the rare occasions where a large paper purchase is needed, you may also consider payday loans. Here are few sites you can use:

Activity Village has grid paper with squares of various dimensions. They provide both traditional grid paper as well as specialty paper such as grid paper featuring hexagonal dots and isometric dots.

Primary Class offers a similar assortment of printable paper as Activity Village. The site also offers additional types of printable paper such as blank Venn diagrams and blank Carroll diagrams.

Teaching Ideas has a section called “the paper bank” which includes a large assortment of printable lined paper. Most of the paper is suitable for children ages 3 through 10.

Printable Paper has the largest selection of printable paper. In order to print the paper, you will need to download the paper template as an Adobe pdf file first.

MusicScheaf.com offers a large variety of music paper. They also have a system that allows you to customise music paper to your own specifications. The site is extremely well organised, allowing the user to list the music paper using an alphabetical index, category index, or thumbnail index.

2. Simple Ways to Go Paperless

New advances in paperless technology are made on a regular basis. Digital filing systems have become more popular in recent years. However, they probably aren’t the best starting point for a person who wants to use less paper. Use obvious ideas like taking photos of things and uploading files to your laptop or mobile phone then showing them to people.

3. Electronic Invitations and Greeting Cards

Electronic invitations are extremely simple to use and can be used for almost any special occasion you can think of. Whether you want to send out save-the-date invitations, birthday invitations, or all sorts of greeting cards, you can find a site that will make it easy for you to get the job done. Evite is one of the most popular free online invitation and greeting card sites. However, there are plenty of others to choose from such as egreetings.com and 123 Greetings.

4. Electronic Faxing

Electronic faxing services are another simple way to go paperless. Not only that, but most electronic faxing services have free options for customers who are light users.

FaxZERO.com provides a free faxing service that is supported by advertising placed at the top of the faxes that you send. Faxes are limited to 3 pages.

K7 is a free unified messaging system that allows you to receive faxes to a special phone number that channels them to your email address. You must use the K7 service at least once during a 30 day period or your K7 service will be terminated.

5. Postcards

Despite my love of real postcard sending, you could of course send an e-postcard instead. However my excuse for this will be the handwritten and “real sending experience” of it.

As you can see, there are many simple ways to go paperless even if you aren’t a computer power user or a super geek. So yeah – in this modern world – ignore these office types who print endless papers with emails and meetings minutes on them. Get your backpack on and get travelling the world in a green and economic way.

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