The sun is staying up longer, and daylight savings is here. Spring, is that you?! I am dreaming of sunny days spent on the beach. But there is one problem… I haven’t even started planning a trip and Spring is running up on me. If you are like me, and need to start planning the perfect vacation, here are a few of my tried and true tips.
Research your Destination
First things first, you need to find out where you are traveling to. If you already know your destination, skip to the next step (finding things to do and see). If you are looking for ideas of possible destinations to travel to, I recommend the following websites to get ideas from:
Pinterest: Type in something like “best places to travel solo” or “where to travel to in April”) You’ll get plenty of potential ideas here. Pinterest is great because you can save the pins you like very easily and come back to them later to reference.
Google: This is my favorite place to research for vacation. I like to use general search queries like “best countries to visit on a budget” to get ideas.
Pinterest and Google are really all you’ll need for this step.
Finding Fun Things to do
Here comes my favorite part- looking at activities for your trip! For this part, and the rest of your planning, I recommend using an app on your phone to write notes down. If you read our previous post on useful tools, you’ll remember Evernote; it syncs with all your devices as well (so if you write notes on your computer, the information will transfer to your phone).
Where to get ideas on what to do
What’s fun to do and fun to see is 100% dependent on your taste! So instead of giving suggestions, let’s talk about where to find ideas (remember to write anything eye catching down in a notes app).
Pinterest is always my first go to because it is a place where travel bloggers share their travel insights. You’ll often see travel bloggers posting “top five things to do in London” or “best travel itinerary for Disney.” So, all you have to do is type in your destination and something along the lines of “things to do in —-.”
Remember, these are actual travelers, travel influencers, and travel bloggers sharing their personal experiences with you. They will share what they liked, if the attraction was worth the money, and more. I’ve always found these insights crucial to figuring out what’s worth my time or not.
How to find the best places to eat
In my opinion, the best way to find the best places to eat is to ask locals what they recommend. This is what I do most of the time. I recommend two ways to research good eats:
Food apps: There are a variety of wildly popular apps that will give you tons of recommendations on where to eat. Results will depend on what type of food your craving, budget, and typically rate eateries/restaurants by a star rating system, and they typically have user reviews of the restaurant too. Of all the apps I have tried, Yelp is by far my favorite!
Google Maps: You may use Google Maps to get from point A to point B, but did you know that the app also gives restaurants, gas stations, or rest stops in your area? When I was traveling to Florida with my family (I had a one year old at the time), which was a 17 hour drive, Google Maps saved us! During this drive our toddler was screaming, not just because he was hungry, but he also needed some time to stretch his legs. We put “restaurants with play area” into Google Maps, and bam, a Burger King within a few miles saved the day.
Planning Transportation and Accommodations for Your Vacation
Now it’s time to work out your logistics. Let’s start by going through how to approach securing flights, hotels, and figuring out transportation (at the most cost effective way possible).
Booking your flight (and finding cheap flight deals)
I’ve found the two best ways to get the cheapest price on flights is to book well in advance or wait for a special seat sale. If you are planning your travels ahead of time, now is the time to look for flights. Flights are almost always cheaper when you book earlier (starting to look as early as 6 months is reasonable).
Here’s an easy way to get the cheapest flight price:
Check flight booking websites like Expedia routinely to monitor flight prices to your destination. Flight prices will fluctuate depending on how many seats are sold (among other things) and new flights can be added too. Manually checking a few booking sites per week (or even every few days) is what I recommend (make sure to do this at least a few months in advance).
Use a flight monitoring system like airfarewatchdog where you enter the flight(s) you are interested in, and they will alert you if the prices of the flight drop (through email). Such a cool tool!
How to find the best accommodation for your budget
Where you stay during your vacation is absolutely critical. It can make or break your trip. Here are three very important accommodation points I want to make:
Pick a very central location in a city (or central to many places you’ll be exploring)
Pick an accommodation close to transportation
It’s not just hotels anymore (apartments and rental homes are great value too)
Planning the perfect vacation can be a tedious task, but with these few tips, there is a silver lining! If trip planning seems like a daunting task you’re not willing to tackle, Milrich Virtual Professionals, LLC. can help!