I must confess that I have OCD when it comes to planning trips! I have to have everything plotted out to the minute (even though I rarely if ever stick to an actually itinerary) probably to help ease my anxiety about traveling (especially alone). Here are some steps that I take when I am planning any trip that I take, even if it is a repeat destination.
- Know your destination well – You can find out tons of information online about your chosen destination. Often you can get visitor brochures (or even books like Tennessee) mailed to you that I have found useful so that all the major venu information is in one place. I recommend doing research on sites likeTripAdvisor so you have an idea of where to stay, what to do and find the best food as well.
- Create your itinerary – Most people usually book their flight before creating an itinerary however, I like to sort of arrange my flight around special events that I may want to attend. Keep in mind that if you want to see a lot of attractions in once area you usually can purchase a discount card that will give you admission to multiple places for one price. For example, when I went to Boston a few months ago I purchased a Go Boston Card which gave me free admission to many attractions, discounts on food, merchandise and more for a specified time period.
- Arranging transportation & accommodations is always a process – In order to get the lowest fares on transportation and hotels I always compare various “discount” websites such as Hipmunk, Orbitz, Kayak, and Travelocity first. Once I find the lowest price for both, I then go to the websites for the provider and compare the discount rate versus the current rate to see how much of a discount there really is. The only problem with the discount sites is that they do not show all the available flights from air carriers only the most popular, so I assume it is the same for everything that you try to book with them. There are other options for travel depending on your budget and the length of time you have available. Two choices that come to mind are Amtrack (train) and Greyhound (bus) both of which are less expensive than air travel (I actually plan on taking a train and bus combination to visit Jenn in Kentucky this year because $260 round trip is much more wallet friendly than air fare at $550+ round trip). Baggage costs are also cheaper
So how do you plan your trips & vacations? What else would you add to this list? Coming soon in this series is packing bags for carry on only.