Me, I’m a planner. I love searching out great deals, hunting down inspirational things to do on trips and then coordinating how it all comes together. Some people (like my boyfriend) are terrible at planning and never know where to start on trips. No matter where you are on that scale, there are always 5 things I do while planning any trip and I wanted to share my tips + secrets with you.
- Start at Cheapflights.com: start your search here and just start poking around at flights to gauge how much your trip is on average and how your dates compare to other dates. Maybe you’ll notice right off the bat that the dates you picked are much higher than others, so you need to change your dates. You should also set price alerts with Cheap Flights to know when prices drop and pounce on a flight right away.
- Sign up for the rewards club: Once you book your ticket, signup for the airline’s reward club and start collecting points on that flight. I’m part of Delta, Virgin America and Southwest’s reward clubs simply because I’ve flown with them recently. When booking flights, I’ll give preference to one of these airlines unless there is a ticket drastically cheaper on another line. I won’t be able to cash in my miles anytime soon, but I’d much rather slowly collect them than just throwing those miles away by not claiming them.
- Plan your route via Roadtrippers: If you’re roadtripping instead of flying, use Roadtrippers, a great site that you can make a whole route on. You can find things to do along the way based on your interests, calculate gas costs and see reviews by others. I used it to craft the perfect roadtrip from Wisconsin to San Francisco when moving out here. It’s awesome and I highly recommend it for USA adventures!
- Check out Trip Advisor, Yelp and Pinterest for ideas. I usually always come into a trip planning session with some knowledge about what to see and do, but always feel really inspired (and excited!) once I start poking around. You’ll start to figure out what’s the “touristy” stuff and what’s more authentic to the area. After getting a better idea of what you’ll want to do/see, start planning out which days to do which activities – sometimes you’ll have to buy tickets in advance. For instance, here in San Francisco, tickets to Alcatraz usually are all booked up a month in advance, so you’ll have to plan early.
- Keep digital copies of everything in one place: Use a Dropbox or Google Drive folder to keep all your important documents in one place. Include copies of your passport, emergency contact list, vaccinations forms, travel insurance, flight confirmations, hotel confirmations, etc. You never know if you’ll need to use them during your trip and you’ll thank yourself later when you can quickly pull something up.
I could go on and on about travel tips, but I’ll save that for future posts! Now, start planning your next trip! And leave a comment below with where you are going.