Tips, Travel

10 Steps to Make Planning Your Next Trip EASY!

You’re thinking about planning a big trip this year, but let me guess you have no idea where to even start? I get asked these questions a lot. “How can you travel so much” or “how to plan all these trips” or “do you work with a travel agent?” The answer isn’t by any means simple I have just learned over the past few years a few tips and tricks to help me get the best deals! I also have learned how I like to enjoy my vacations and that comes in handy when building out an itinerary..

In this guide you will learn 10 steps to make planning your next trip EASY!

Before you book your Plane Tickets

  1. LIST IT OUT: We talk about this a lot in our house, but we like to sit down and rank the top places we want to see this year. I make a running list that I add to/ delete of all the cities I want to travel to in this world. If I see something cool I mark it down. Then Anj and I collaboratively sit down and decide which places are most important for us to visit first.
  2. CALENDAR: calendar out your year or at least the next six months. Think about the places that you want to go. Does it make sense to go in the spring, summer, fall or winter? Is there a special occasion you want to travel during? OR what I do is strategically place my PTO over major holidays. This way I usually can squeeze a few extra days into my trip because if it overlaps a holiday, i already get that day off.
  3. HOPPER & GOOGLE FLIGHTS: Here is where I get really savvy. Plug in different airports and destinations across a variety of dates that you are available for the places you want to travel to. Then select to set up a google alert, or “watch this trip” on hopper. Then any time the flight prices drop you will be armed and ready to book. This is how I get AMAZING flight deals.
    1. EXPERT Tip: Think about flying in one city and out of a different city by purchasing one way airline tickets. This helps you save money + see more cities/countries

After you have booked your Outbound/Inbound Flights

  1. SPREADSHEETS: Create a google spreadsheet of all your different travel options. For example we are headed to europe this may and we are planning on seeing 4-5 different cities. I created an excel sheet to price out the different city travel options. This gave us a great idea how much time we want to spend in each city, how much we want to spend in each city, etc.
    1. Looking for a similar template?! DOWNLOAD mine for FREE here.
  2. SET UP PINTEREST BOARDS: I usually make these secret to not annoy anyone with the mass amount of similar pins I will be pinning. But I use these board for each of the different cities I will be visiting. Pin items that peek your interest. A photo that looks really cool,  place you may want to visit, or travel guides that other internet guru’s have put together. This helps gather your ideas all in one place
  3. AIRBNB: I always check airbnb before checking hotel prices, this keeps me feeling like a local when I travel and helps me really get immersed with the city. I set up special boards here as well for each of the cities, “hearting” any apartment that I think looks wonderful. Then I narrow down the apartments based on price, location to city center, and security deposit. If I can’t find any cheap enough in my price range that is when I will head over to a hotel site and see what I can find.
  4. PLAN ITINERARY (part 1) : This is by far the hardest part. I’m completely anal and like to write out every single detail, so do this however you please. BUT I like to organize my days by location. So first I map everything out with google.
    1. Go to your google drive and hit the “new” button.
    2. Hover over where it says “more” on the drop down
    3. Select “google My Maps”
    4. Name your map and place pins on everything you want to do while in that city.
      1. This gives you a really good idea of where everything is located so that you can narrow down activities that you can actually accomplish in one day.
  5. PLAN ITINERARY (part 2): Once you have your different maps for each city, start planning out each day. Don’t forget to factor in travel time. Just a tip: I never put times on my itinerary unless I have a specific reservation. It’s more fun leaving things open and shifting plans throughout the trip! Like I said plan out your days based on the location of your activities. You will be able to maximize more of your time this way. Then head back to that map you created and color code the attractions a different color for each day you will be there. You may have to leave things out, and that is OKAY!!
  6. PREPARE: If you are traveling out of the country you most likely will not have wifi when you get there. So be prepared to know where you are going when you hop off that airplane, or train! Have the address handy, phone numbers, as well as access codes for gates that you may need if staying in an airbnb.
  7. HAVE FUN!: yes it’s good to plan, but don’t forget to deviate from the itinerary. That is half the fun we have on our vacations! Be able to go with the flow. Have your one MUST DO per day, and make everything else flexible!

I know this was a TON of information, but these are the exact 10 steps that I take when planning out vacations for us! Let me know if you have any other questions! Too see more travel post check out how to travel to Europe under $900, free travel itinerary, and my complete city guides!!

Xo, Jas