Happy Monday, friends!
This is a post I’ve been wanting to write for a while. It’s not sponsored (although I’d love it to be!) and it’s all things I actually do. I want to tell you all my best travel tips for planning and booking vacations! Each trip is different and requires different amounts of time to plan and I take the same steps every time. So what is my process? What are my best travel tips? Look no further!
How I Plan My Trips:
Start with a list of destinations: I constantly have a list of places that i’d like to go bumbling around in my head as i’m sure a lot of you do as well. Write that list down. Prioritize it if you can and go from there. Do you want a solo trip, a trip with friends or a loved one? A great travel tip of mine is to sort your must see destinations by how you’d like to travel. Put your solo trips in one column and your “buddy travel” trips in another.
Logistics. Once you have a list of destinations in mind, figure out how long your trip will be. I always like to go away for at least a week but sometimes a long weekend is nice for a closer trip. For a trip abroad I like to allow myself any time over a week. After you figure out how much time you’re going to take off you need to figure out when. Consider the destinations on your list and figure out when the best times to travel are. For example, I prefer to go to Europe in the spring. it’s cheaper than the summertime and the weather is still nice. Plus, have you ever seen London covered in daffodils? It’s incredibly beautiful.
Browse flights/hotels: After you’ve got a time frame for your trip it’s time to hop online and search for flights, hotels, events etc. When I was planning a trip last October I was deciding between Texas, California and Iceland. Texas was in my price range for the dates I wanted to travel and had the Texas State Fair going on. California was decently priced but it also had the added cost of renting a car. That pushed the trip out of my price range. Iceland was expensive as expected.
Pick your destination! Yes, step 4 is pick your destination. Not step 1. I’m not sure how normal that is, but it’s my process and it always works so well. I ended up going to Texas as i’m sure most of you will remember from my Houston, San Antonio and Dallas recaps. The state fair won me over and i’m too restless to stay in one place for a whole week so San Antonio and Houston were quickly added to the list of destinations.
How I Book My Trips:
Shop around for deals: Once you’ve picked your destination and dates it’s time to shop around for deals! For me this is the most fun. I really like searching Skip Lagged for flights but I always end up booking through Expedia. Each airline has their own booking so definitely check those out. Same goes for hotels. If you’re going to be staying at a chain their own website generally has some good deals.
Book your flight/hotel/etc. A lot of the time when I travel I end up flying into one place and out of another and Expedia has been the best site for me that accommodates that. I hear Southwest is amazing but you can’t fly into one place and out of another without booking separately. Talk about annoying. Another great thing about Expedia (or Kayak or any of those sites) is that you can book everything all at once. Booking everything through one site can make your travel experience so much easier.
Don’t stop shopping around for deals: This might be the best travel tip I have today. Expedia has a great price guarantee program. As you get closer and closer to your trip just keep looking for deals. If you find a flight or a room that’s exactly the same they’ll refund you the difference and give you a $50 credit for your next purchase. A lot of the “all in one” booking sites have features just like this so.
Book the fun stuff: Now that you’ve got your tip booked you need to do the day to day planning like where to eat, what sites to see, etc. I really love using blogs for inspiration as well as Pinterest. I’m sure you’ve all heard of Trip Advisor, and if not, get your butt on their site immediatly. Trip Advisor ranks all the best things to do by popularity so you’ll know all the hot spots to visit. City Pass is another great site for booking activities. City Pass groups together a bunch of tickets all in once price. At this point I also highly suggest looking into public transportation at your destination. Can you easily get from your hotel to a metro stop or will you be using Uber the whole time? It’s good to plan ahead.
Write up an Itinerary: This isn’t the most fun part (for some) but I think it’s incredibly important. I like to write down my destination, where i’m staying, what time i’m arriving and all the relevant details. A lot of the time i’ll go a step further and write out what things I want to do on what days so I don’t forget. Trust me, you don’t want to get home from vacation and realize you forgot something that you really wanted to see.
Hit up social media: Once I’ve got my trip booked and all the fun stuff taken care of I like to ask my friends on social media for recommendations on where to eat and spots that I might not necessarily know about. If you know anyone that has been to or lives at your travel destination, hit them up for recommendations! Locals know their town better than any travel website will.
There you have it! The best travel tips for planning and booking your next trip. Remember, the destination doesn’t have to be your first choice! Focus on your budget and your time-frame, then pick where to go.
Question of the day: What’s on the top of your destination list right now?
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