How to plan a Fabulous Vacation

Disclaimer: I am not paid or encouraged by any of the companies, tools, restaurants etc. mentioned in this blog. These are the tools that I have found work best for me in my vacation planning.

Here are my steps to planning a fabulous vacation:

  1. What is your budget for this trip? This will help you determine where to go.
    • Is this going to be a once in a lifetime shebang?
    • A quick get away?
    • Do you want to fly or be within driving distance?
    • Hotels, Couch Surfing, Camping?
  2. Determine where you want to go
    • People you’d like to visit
    • Places you’d like to see
    • Weather you’d like to enjoy
    • A new culture or adventure to explore
  3. When do you want to go?
    • Looking to escape the cold?
    • Certain activities that you want to do which are seasonal?
  4. After you know your location and roughly when you’d like to go, start building your itinerary (this will give you an idea of how long your trip will be and what type of accommodations you will need).
    • What sights do you want to see?
    • Check TripAdvisor and blogs for suggestions of things to do.
    • Look at blogs to determine how long people recommend at each location.
    • If outdoors, check blogs or AllTrails to find suitable hiking
    • List all possible things that seem interesting and then sort by “must do” and “would like to do”. Your budget will probably determine which ones you include.
  5. Based on your itinerary, find flights, travel needs (car?) and accommodations.
    • This is where budget can really be the driving force.
    • Use Expedia to find the best flight options, hotels and least expensive dates (based on your flexibility). You can later book directly from the vendor, but this will give you a good idea of what is in the area (and airlines with the best flights).
  6. Balance Budget with what you have found
    • Can you fly a less expensive day?
    • Can you stay in a less expensive hotel or perhaps camp?
    • Do you really need a car for the whole trip? Would Uber or public transit work?
    • What are your must-haves?
      • Stay downtown?
      • Have a car?
      • A nice hotel?
      • Direct flights?
  7. Book your accommodations.
  8. Identify food options and restaurants that you would like to try.
  9. Finalize your itinerary and packing needs.
  10. Enjoy your trip!

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