How I Plan Travel
So much thought goes into planning an epic vacation, but where do you start? How do you get and stay organized with so many must-see places in one destination?
James and I do a lot of what I categorize as "adventure traveling." To me, this means not staying in one place, taking on excursions and researching an area to find meals and sites versus staying somewhere all inclusive. My goal is always to maximize the cultural experience to the fullest extent possible for our time and budget. Figuring all this out could easily turn a vacation into a panic attack, so here is what has been working for me over the past few years.
Like most activities these days, I begin my planning on Pinterest. I've created a travel board where I store lots of travel tips and fun facts about a place I'm planning to go. Pinterest makes it easy to return to websites containing valuable information, whether I'm home on my computer or tooling around on my phone. I can also review this information once I've reached my destination, if WiFi is available.
I read an article recently that suggested basing a vacation destination on flight sales versus choosing a destination first and then looking for flights. I admit I have yet to follow this advice. Much of our travels are a result of an idea popping up in my head and me pulling the trigger before either James or I can second guess it. I would, however, like to put this method into practice. With so many places on our "must see" list, why not try an economical means of visiting as many as possible?
Once a destination is determined and Pinterest has outlined a number of hot spots, I take it over to Google Maps. I LOVE this tool for organizing our trips. I create special icons for varying sites like restaurants, look out points, nightlife, sleeping accommodations, etc. With the layers tool I am able to break our trip into days and even use the navigation tool to estimate our travel time to each spot. This organizational approach was especially useful for Iceland, where we were on-the-go the entire trip and wanted to make the most of each day we had in the country.
Google Maps allows you to download an offline version of your map so you can access it even without WiFi.
Here is the link to our Iceland map for anyone who wants to play around with the tool or take on our exact Icelandic adventure!
I actually really enjoy planning vacations, for myself and for people who ask me for advice. In fact, if anyone is interested in my services, I'd be happy to help you plan something wonderful that meets your own personal travel goals and desires.