"How exactly do you plan a trip?" Some of you have asked me how I do so much in such a short period of time when I travel so today I want to share you with my process for planning my trips!
1. Points of interest. Figure out what you want to see… Go to Pinterest, TripAdvisor, and even google to search for the “Hidden Gems” or “Must do-s” in the city you are traveling in. Start a list of all the places that YOU must see! Then do the same for restaurants, coffee shops, etc.
2. Study the area. Try to find maps of the city (google), figure out what side of the city you should stay on based on your list in Step 1. Try to familiarize yourself with some street names so you can get a general idea of the area and hopefully won’t get lost!
3. Transportation is important. How are you getting there? Are you flying or driving? What rental car or airline offers the best deal? Are you driving everywhere? How much is parking? Is the city busy? Do you have easy access to public transportation? Is the public transportation system easy to understand? Should you just Uber and walk everywhere?
4. Airbnb or hotel? Hotel reviews can sometimes be fake or misleading… Do your research and make sure you are getting the best deal for your money. Do they offer breakfast or free parking? Airport shuttles? Also keep in mind that you are going to be adventuring from sunrise to sunset so all you need is a clean safe place to lay your head at night.
5. Look for deals! Head to Groupon and see what is being offered in the area. Is a CityPass available? Are they any packages of tours or museums that would be worth purchasing?
6. Make your itinerary. Go to Google Maps to” get directions”, start with where you are staying and then add all the places you want to go including food, coffee shops, stores, etc. Click “Prioritize” and it will automatically sort all your places of interest by location from your hotel. Write the order down either in your phone or on paper to carry with you. You won’t waste anytime backtracking from one place to the next and most importantly you won’t forget anything because you will be working down your list!
7. Pack, grab your camera, and GO!
Need an example? Let’s use my San Francisco trip!
1. Point of interest list complete.
2. Map of city to study, printed out and marked with hotel location and point of interests.
3. Transportation will be challenging. Flight booked. Rental car booked. Bought pass for public transportation to explore San Francisco. Downloaded an app to help understand the public transportation routes.
4. Hotel booked third party with Expedia. Hotel does not offer parking or any breakfast. Basic room for a decent price but has the best location for my trip.
5. Found a Groupon for bike rentals. Avoiding tours and museums this trip to maximum time exploring.
6. After using Google Maps, I typed my itinerary and emailed it to myself to have in my phone while exploring the city.
7. Packed by using my packing routine. Grabbed my DSLR 5300 camera and selfie stick and headed to the airport!
* I always follow these steps because they work for me. Figure out what works best for you and tell me about how you plan your trip!