HOW TO PLAN FOR VACATION LIKE A PRO
Over the past few years, while Mike and I have been together, we have gone on so many tripes. Whether it was a local east coast trip up to the White Mountains, or across the Pacific to Hawaii, we have done some really cool trips!
While Mike is a lot more go with the flow kind of person, I'm definitely one that likes to plan and have an idea of what I'd like to do for the trip.
Here I've broken down some strategies that we use in order to make the ideal trip happen!
Over the years, Mike and I have done a lot of traveling from weekend trips, to across seas excursions. And ones things for sure, I always like to make sure that we are not stressed when we are there. We plan things out ahead of time, so that way we are able to relax and enjoy our time away. Here are some of my tips and tricks to planning for traveling.
Start A Google Doc Sheet
This I have to say, is my number one recommendation. I started doing this years ago, and it’s saved us so much time and stress. I’ll start by plugging in the cities or places that we are looking to go in order. For example, for our honeymoon, we are going to New Zealand. So, with the research that I started to do, I plugged in cities that we were interested in going to and would be staying it. (Auckland, Rotunda, Picton, Lake Tekapo, Queenstown) From there, I’ll put links to places that we want to go to that’s in or around that city (any Queenstown hike, or an Auckland winery, food places, etc.) In another spot, I’ll also have our flight itineraries with flight times, numbers, etc. The last thing I do is plug in the places we are staying in to the correct town columns. This just makes it easy, when we finally get to the town we are going to, and we are like, “Wait, what’s the hike we wanted to do again? Wait, where’s the trailhead? Is there any good food places around here? How far are we from our campsite?” It really makes life so much easier having just one document with all of our information. And yes, I am very much so type A if you couldn’t have guessed.
Buy Flights at the Right Time
Ever look at flights one day, and a few hours later they go up? Yeah, been there done that. And then you get this panic, and you’re like “I NEED TO BUY THE TICKETS RIGHT NOW!”. The thing is, airline tickets are always fluctuating. Websites like Kayak and Google have a great resources for this. Simply plug in the flights that you are looking for and click the box where it says to keep you updated with prices. You will then get emails with advice like “Prices are going up soon, buy now”, or “Prices are higher than usual on this flight, no need to buy right now”. It’s not do or die with what they say, but I’ve been pressed to find a time where this wasn’t accurate.
Make Sure to Check Reviews
This one you have to take with a grain of salt. Of course, you don’t know the people writing the reviews. So, someone who hates the outdoors but was dragged along with a friend may comment on a camp site saying how bad it was and there was no heat, or the bathrooms were small or whatever. I mean come on, this isn’t really a useful review. Or the people who say that everything was amazing and perfect, well, I mean, that sounds great and all, but I also don’t find those very helpful. I want to know if the customer service was bad, or the laundry machine has been broken for months and never fixed. I usually read through a lot of them, especially if there are a lot of mixed reviews. I tend to stay away from the super negative and the super positive ones, and go for the 3-4 stars. In my opinion, these reviews seem to be a little less emotional and bias, and more helpful for me.
Sign up For Rewards Programs
I used to travel all the time for work, and I would stay solely in Hilton brand hotels. I racked up so many points, I was a diamond member! We were able to get free hotels for our vacations and were upgraded to nicer rooms. You also get those really close parking spots near the hotel, although I never take advantage of those. I’m that annoying friend who will park all the way at the end of the lot, farthest away from the store, one because I hate looping around trying to find a parking spot, two because I don’t mind walking, and three, because I just like to let the people who can’t really walk have closer spots.
Get Inspo from Pinterest
I cant tell you how many times I saw a cool place on Pinterest and was like, “Oh wait what’s that place?!”. And then down the rabbit hole… If you are thinking about going to a specific place, simply type in that place and see what hits come up. For examples, when we went to Arizona and Utah last autumn, I would search for “Southwest road trips” or “Grand Canyon hiking and camping”. I was able to find so many blog posts about what other people did!
Keep Everything in One Place
Remember that Google Doc that I told you about earlier? I seriously keep everything there. From our flight numbers, to our hotel stays, to links for cool places we want to check out. I seriously don’t know what I would do without it.
Wait for Holiday Deals
This has saved us so much money in the past. If you can, wait for a major holiday, and you will see that a lot of places have sales going on. When we went to Hawaii in December, we waited until November to book some of our stays. They were having a Black Friday sale, and we ended up getting a 5 star hotel for the same amount of points as a 2.5 star!