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It’s hard to know where to begin when you’re planning a trip somewhere. Some people can find it very overwhelming and see it as a chore. Planning a trip should be exciting and enjoyable so here is how I do it.
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Choose your destination.
The first step should be obvious but it’s not always easy. Choose your destination. There is so much choice out there and enough variety to fit any budget. You don’t have to break the bank to go somewhere so pick your budget and get searching. Instagram is my biggest inspiration when it comes to finding a destination so follow some travel bloggers, I much prefer to fill my socials with inspiration. You can always go old school and get the map out and if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can spin and atlas and go to the first place your finger lands on! 🌎
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How long do I need?
Once you have chosen your destination you need to figure out how long you think you will need. This is the part I always struggle with and I guess it depends on what type of person you are. Me? I like to take my time and spread things out, but you might like to try and wedge in as much as possible in a shorter space of time. Use this with your budget, can you afford 10 nights? Can I do those 3 things in one day? There are so many bloggers out there that can recommend a time frame based off their trip to the same place so get reading. When I was planning my Yellowstone trip I would head to my search engine and type in ‘How long do I need in Yellowstone?’ or ‘Yellowstone itinerary’. The best thing to do is to go straight to the best source, the official website for the state/place/park you are visiting. I am currently planning a trip to Utah and when I went on the official state tourism website, I was able to request a free pack that included a brochure and road map! I can bet most places do this and it is a big help.
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Where should I stay?
Once you know how long you want to go for you need to figure out where you’re going to stay. RV? Hotel? B&B? There are so many types of accommodation to choose from! Booking or Hotels .com are great for hotel stays and both offer rewards for booking. Airbnb is fantastic for cute little cabins/cottages and really rustic, homely places to stay. I love this site so much and you are supporting smaller accommodations and families. I have used Reserve America to find camp/RV sites in the USA. Again Instagram is another place I love to utilise when I am trying to find somewhere and but it can be as simple as typing ‘places to stay in ____’ into your search engine.
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How will I get there?
I always look at places to stay and methods of travel at the same time. I would suggest you don’t book one until you know you have them both figured out. Id hate for you to book a flight and then go to look for a place to stay only to realize it’s all booked up. Only then should you lock them in. There are plenty of options for travel and it depends on how far away you’re going. I like to check as many options as I can. Budget tight? Lets see if I can travel by ____ instead of ____. Sure, it’s 2 hours longer but it’s also $200 cheaper. Weigh up your options, there are so many! Don’t like flying? Well you can get the train for only 3 hours longer. You do not have to settle. Research is the key to having a successful trip.
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Create an Itinerary.
Now comes the best part in my opinion, filling your days with things to do. You don’t want to over plan but you want to make sure you don’t miss out on things because you didn’t book it in advance. Get yourself to your search engine and start doing some research. Bloggers are going to have the best first hand experience when it comes to places they have visited so get on on the blogs and do some reading. Look for things off the beaten track, the best places are less travelled by tourists. Instagram and Pinterest are your best friends when looking for activities. I love to search the hashtags and see what other people have been up to at various locations. If you’re going to do some hiking make sure to use AllTrails, it’s amazing for locating and planning hikes.
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What Should I take?
One mistake people make is not arriving at your destination prepared. What time of year is it? Do you have hold luggage? What is the local temperature? Does it get cold at night? What is the terrain like? These are possibly all questions you’ve never considered and not being equipped can sometimes put you in danger. You want to be comfy in whatever surrounding you will be in and you will need to consider add-ons for luggage to ensure you have everything you need. We have all done it, gone on a hike on a sunny day and not taken a raincoat or gone to the beach and forgotten your sunhat, it does happen which is why planning ahead is so important. You can research online or on blogs what other people suggest which is what I usually do.
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Give yourself pleanty of time. There is nothing worse than having to rush around and spoiling your trip. Less is more. Do the most important things on your list instead of trying to cram in loads of locations/activities.
Also make sure you get to each activity with time to spare. You can end up missing out! I always like to get to a new place early to ensure I have time to park the car and find the meeting point. Being spontanious can be a lot of of fun but certain activities require booking. If this is the case you should book your actuvuty and then plan everythinf else around it.
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There are so many different things you can do to ensure your trip goes to plan but you cannot plan for the things that just happen. Weather, traffic, cancellations and much more can mean a delay in your trip. Don’t fret! There are worse things that can happen. Make sure you stay safe and enjoy the planning aspect and it will all pay off!