10 Tips for Planning Your Perfect Vacation

How to Plan Your Perfect Vacation, Sailing

1. Pick your destination // 
The very vital first step for all vacations-- know where you want to go! I have a long list of places and I love to check them off when I can; it's also fun to write down some 'bucket list' items and make them your goal.

When picking your destination, know the amount of time you have-- is it a weekend trip? A week long one? Or more? Know your budget-- nearby? Across the states? Or across the ocean? And finally, know what you want to get out of the trip-- beach vacation? Big city, bright lights? Or cabin in the woods?

2. Pick your time frame //
Once we have an idea where we want to go, it's time to narrow down some dates. What I usually do is pick the amount of nights I want to go and then give myself a range of time to take the trip.

Say I want to take a four night vacation: I can either go beginning of week, mid week or plan around a holiday and go late week into the next week. Being more flexible on days to travel (and nights you want to stay) are really helpful in finding the best prices for your trip!

3. Research prices //
Like I quickly mentioned above, if you're flexible you can find the best prices (for airfare specifically). You all know I love me some Google Flights and I use it exclusively when I book airfare.

It has this great tool that tells you cheaper options if you leave a day earlier or later. It's complicated to explain in a short paragraph, but you can see my full post on Google Flights here!

4. Research the city //
I love researching the city and finding things to do. My go to is TripAdvisor-- it's so easy to just type in where you want to go, then "things to do" and review! I usually sort by rating because I love to hear what other people think is the best part of their city. You can also narrow your look by landmarks, parks, tours, museums and so on.

I usually end up finding some great places that I've never even heard of. It also makes a check list of places you want to do and see really easy. And it's helpful seeing photos so I know what I'm getting myself into.

5. Ask for recommendations //
Friends, family and co-workers are great resources for recommendations to a new city. You know these people and trust their advice so why not ask what their favorite place to go or thing to do is? While I usually use TripAdvisor for things to do, I usually ask people for places to eat.

With so many options for food all over, it's fun to hear exact places people like to eat. I also know they come with high standards because when have you ever told someone an eh place to eat in your city? This is your reputation for recommendations we're talking about-- don't want to mess that up!
6. Plan your activities //
After I've complied a list of things I want to do (I usually go overboard) I start planning out the trip. It's easy to map things out so you can hit a lot of places that are near each other in a shorter amount of time. A tool I found a while back that I actually love to use is Tripomatic.

It basically does all the work for you and maps out your list of things to do. Then you can pick places and add them to your itinerary and use them on the go! It gives you a time frame for how close/far one thing is from another. It's a fun thing to play around with! 
7. Be flexible //
While I like to plan things out, I know that my plans are always flexible for the most part. Maybe I'll stay longer at a restaurant that I love and skip the book store I had planned for later. Maybe it rains on the day I want to hike... things happen. Be flexible and remember you're on vacation! No stress, just go with it. 
8. Book in advance //
Booking in advance kind of goes for a lot of things like flights, hotels, cars, reservations... you name it! If you can book it ahead of time, it's usually a lot cheaper and more hassle free. You also secure your spot so something doesn't sell out or get booked up.

9. Know your budget //
It's really easy to spend spend spend on vacation. Before you go on your trip, make a budget for how much you want to spend. I usually try and withdraw some cash and realize that once that's gone I should be a little more cautious about my spending.

You should budget before and during your trip-- so don't forget! Budgeting before is for the big expenses like hotel and flight while budgeting during is for food and transportation or any miscellaneous things that might pop up!
10. Enjoy! // 
This one is pretty easy but ENJOY YOUR VACATION! Get out and DO things. Turn off your emails and turn on the camera. It's called vacation for a reason #duh.

Any other tips you'd like to add? I'm sure I'm missing some-- let me know in the comments below!

PS-- Check out one of my most read posts to date: How I Afford to Travel!

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