Yay! You’re going on vacation! And, whether you’re going to the bright lights of New York City or the sunny beaches of San Diego (or somewhere in between), we’re sure it’s well deserved. As such, let’s be sure your vacation feels like a vacation from the planning phase to the “let’s do this!” stage. So kick back, relax, and let us show you how easy planning your trip can be.
- Step 1: Decide Where You Want to Go
- Step 2: Do Your Research
- Step 3: Reserve Your Place to Stay
- Step 4: Book Your Activities
- Step 5: Getting Around
- Step 6: Pack Your Bags Like a Pro
Sounds easy, right? But deciding where to go can be more difficult than it sounds. I mean, there are so many places to choose from it can get a bit overwhelming. However, defining where you want to go is the first step in making your vacation dream a reality.
Here are a couple of questions to get you started planning your trip:
- Is this trip geared towards family fun, couple time, or solo travel?
- Do you want to experience the hustle and bustle of the city or the quiet of the country?
- Is relaxation at the top of your list? Or is this trip all about experiencing the most you can?
- Are you looking for beachside activities or are the mountains calling your name?
- What type of budget do you have? Luxury, mid-range or budget?
- How much time fo you have for a trip?
These questions are important for several reasons. When you’re planning your trip, who you’re traveling with can definitely affect your destination choices. Further, your choice of activities will be dependent on who’s in your group. These are important factors in deciding where to go on your next vacation.
Once you know where you’re going, it’s time to discover all the things to see and do in your destination. You’ll want to know what the are the must-see tourist attractions and the free things to do. In addition, discovering all the best tips and tricks for making the most of your time on your vacation is key.
Which activities or experiences are can’t miss for you?
- Visiting Disney World in Orlando?
- See a Broadway show in New York City?
- Trek to Muir Woods in San Francisco?
- Building memories at LEGOLAND California?
Whatever you decide, it’s best to plan ahead and book any necessary experiences in advance.
Make a list of resources to use relevant to your trip type. These include:
- Free things to do
- Nearby day trips
- Places to eat and drink
- Parks and playgrounds
- City tours and walking guides
In my opinion, knowing the free things to do in your destination choice is relevant to any trip type. It’s also fun to be aware of any nearby day trips as, sometimes, there are some really cool places to go just an hour away! (For example, Catalina Island is less than 90 minutes away from San Diego.) If you’re traveling with kids, knowing where the best parks and playgrounds are located can a be a lifesaver. Kids have endless energy! As a result, providing a free place for them to burn it off can save your sanity (and pocketbook)!
I tend to think eating and drinking your way through vacation is a part of the fun! However, the fun can quickly turn dour when you’re wasting time deciding on where to go. Instead, be sure to do a bit of research on some of the best places to eat in the area. These can include family-friendly favorites or local standouts. No matter your tastebuds choose, just be sure to have an idea of where to eat before you go. It’ll make dining out so much easier!
Keep some meal times flexible, though. Sometimes those eateries you stumble across can be the best hidden gems.
No matter where you go, you’re going to need somewhere to sleep. It’s also a key component of your travel budget. As a result, choosing the best accommodation for your travel needs is key to planning your trip.
- Do you want a hotel centrally located or more secluded?
- Is there a key attraction you want to be nearby?
- Are you looking for a hotel, resort, cabin or vacation home?
Amenities are also extremely important when deciding where to stay during your trip. For instance, if you’re traveling with kids, on-site amenities like a water park, arcade, or kids club can keep things fun when you don’t feel like leaving the hotel. It’s also important to try to find the best value not necessarily the lowest price. Some key amenities to search for include:
- Separate bedrooms
- On-site laundry
- Access to a full kitchen/kitchenette
- Aquatic amenities like pools, lazy river, and waterpark
- On-site restaurants/coffee bars
Having access to these extras can make your stay that much more enjoyable.
After doing your research in Step 2, you’ve discovered the activities you want to experience during your trip. Now, it’s time to book those activities. As you’ve already outlined the must do’s and can’t miss items on your itinerary, now is the time to double check your budget and make any last minute adjustments.
It’s also a great time to make sure you’re not overstuffing your schedule. I can certainly get over-eager when visiting a new destination. (It’s easy to do.) But, while planning your trip, leave some time for flexibility, relaxation, and spur-of-the-moment choices. It is a vacation, after all.
If you need help choosing your activity or tour, we’re here to help! Our destination travel guides offer insight on all of the best things to do. Plus, we’ve vetted all of our offerings to ensure you have an exceptional experience at an exceptional price. Also keep in mind you can always call our friendly customer service staff with any questions you may have.
Now that you know where you’re going, what doing, and where you’re staying it’s time to figure out how you’re going to get around. Some cities, like New York, make getting around easy with the Subway. (And, trust us, using the subway isn’t scary.) Other destinations, though, like Oahu, are more spread out and require a rental car. A couple of questions to keep in mind when deciding how you’ll get around:
- Will you need a rental car or will you rely on the subway/buses?
- Are taxis or Ubers a reliable transportation mode for you?
- Is walking an easy way to get around?
Don’t leave your transportation arrangements to the last minute. While planning your trip, this is one step that can be a real headache if you overlook it.
Packing. It’s mandatory to go anywhere but probably one of the least fun aspects. (I loathe packing—even more now that I have kids!) However, if you follow these tips and tricks you can pack your bags like a pro!
- Research the weather and pack accordingly.
- Bring clothes that are versatile and easily worn in a combination of outfits.
- Pack clothes that can be worn in layers so you can change your wardrobe if the weather changes abruptly.
- Read your hotel amenities list. You can probably leave things like a hair dryer at home.
- Charge your electronics in advance and always carry your power cord with you.
- With young kids, overpacking is suggested as accidents happen. (And happen again!)
- For bigger kids, let them in on the packing process so you’re sure to pack their favorite shirt/outfit and minimize complaints upon arrival.
Each destination has it’s own packing requirements. For instance, if you’re traveling to Orlando there are some key items to pack for theme park visits. On the other hand, a trip to Pigeon Forge means outdoor adventure might be involved. Be sure to review our individualized packing guides to help you pack for your destination choice.
Enjoy Your Trip!
Ahh, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Planning your trip can be easy with a little help. Now, go on your trip and have the vacation you deserve.