Summer is almost here and, for most of us, that means vacation! The destination’s been chosen, the dates have been booked, and the calendar countdown has officially begun! All that’s left to do is pack your bags… Or, is it?
I believe there are a few things you can do before you go, to ensure that you have the vacation of your dreams. Here are my tips for planning your next vacay like a pro!
As two people who LOVE to travel, we used to have our share of sub-standard hotel stays and tourist-trap dining mishaps. Not anymore! Now, before Ryan and I leave for a trip, I do reconnaissance. I look for the best restaurants and the coolest things to do and use what I find to better plan our vacations. So, my first tip is to do your research.
A great place to start is Instagram. You can search specific places to see what people are taking pictures of. (This can be a great way to find restaurants, because who doesn’t like taking pictures of their food?!) Then, look for travel blogs that have written about your vacation spot for their recommendations and check the reviews against a site like Google or Yelp. It’s also a good idea to ask the locals for their picks when you get there. Some of our best vacation experiences have happened because we followed the advice of a local!
Once you do your research, make a list. Write down all of the places you want to go and things you want to do. Designate them into two groups, “musts” and “maybes,” that way you can prioritize what’s most important to you. Then, if you have extra time or need a back-up, you have another list to pull from. This really helped us when one of our beach days got rained out on our last vacation.
Finally, map it out. While I don’t do this for every trip, it really comes in handy for vacations where you’re going to be doing a lot of travelling within a specific area. For example, you don’t make reservations at a restaurant across town from the movie theater you’re going to. It just doesn’t make sense.
When we went on our anniversary trip to Florida’s Gulf, we biked several miles on highway 30A, visiting the different coastal towns. I used Google Maps ahead of time to plan our route and some of the places we wanted to stop at along the way. It made our bike ride efficient and enjoyable!
These three things have made our vacations even better than before! It takes a little more time and effort before the trip but, if you follow my advice, you won’t have to worry about anything while you’re gone. No more searching the web in the hotel room, looking for a decent breakfast spot. No more asking, “What do you want to do?” only to get, “I don’t know. What do you want to do?” in return. Now, you’ll have a list of choices to choose from and you’ll know what’s close-by, without having to ask Siri!
And you don’t have to create an itinerary to follow. (Remember what I said about taking advice from the locals and finding adventure off the beaten path!) These tips are simply a way to ensure that 100% of your vacation time is spent relaxing and making memories with the ones you love! They’ve certainly done that for us!
What about you? Do you incorporate any of these things into your vacation planning? Leave me a note in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!