everyday inspiration

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

Now that our party is over, I can focus on our next big thing. We’re heading to Seattle and Canada in T minus 8 days – eek! I love traveling, but I also love planning the trips almost as much. The excitement and anticipation is sometimes better than the actual trip.

One of my dream jobs is to be a travel planner (not a party planner as I learned this weekend). I absolutely love exploring new cities, researching where to stay, what restaurants to eat at, the hottest bars, the trendiest boutiques. Of course, the downside to planning other people’s trips is you wouldn’t actually get to experience any of the things you planned, which would definitely be hard for me.

As I’ve been planning our trip to Seattle and Canada, I thought I’d share with you some of my top tips for travel planning. {First, you should read my post from several years ago about how to dress while traveling: Travel Chic.}

And if you ever want any help planning (or need a trip buddy) I’m your girl.

Enjoy! xo

1. Set up price notifications to places you’re planning on visiting, or want to visit, so you can see how and when the prices change to ensure you get the best deal. (I currently use the Kayak iPhone app to do so.) However, be prepared to book quickly if you see a dramatic decrease in price because they go fast.

2. Decide if you really need a rental car. If you’re staying in a big city, it might be cheaper to use public transportation and/or walk. Don’t forget to take into account overnight parking rates at your hotel and public parking costs. For people like us in small towns like Bentonville, we don’t think about these things.

3. Crowdsource. Crowdsource. Crowdsource. The best recommendations are from other people. Post a status on Facebook and Twitter asking for recommendations. Ask your co-workers. You will most likely get inundated with tons of reccos, which is where the fourth tip comes in.

4. After getting recommendations, do your own homework. Don’t assume everyone likes the same things you do or eats at the same types of restaurants you like. Visit the website, look at the menu and look at reviews on Yelp.

5. When looking up reviews (for a restaurant, hotel, museum, etc.) always read the worst rated reviews. You can see if the bad things people are saying are legitimately bad, or just nonsense that’s dragging the ratings down.

6. Make your list of a couple things you must-do on the vacation (like for us in Seattle – visit the first Starbucks location, duh) but also leave time for wiggle room, whether for a nap or for that cute boutique you saw down the corner.

7. Once you get to your location, ask the locals their favorite places to go. We did this in New York last year and found the most amazing bar ever (Beauty & Essex) that we might not have ever found otherwise.

8. Eat local. I’m a huge proponent of no chain restaurants while on vacation. A huge part of a city’s culture is it’s food, so you need to get a true taste!

9. Pack comfortable shoes and basics you can accessorize with. Overpacking is never a good thing. It’s stressful because you can’t find what you need. It doesn’t really matter what you wear on vacation anyway (who’s going to know if you wore the same thing twice?!) AND you can fill your bag with stuff you buy shopping!

10. If at all possible, only pack a carry-on. You’ll save money and time. If you have to check a bag and you’re traveling with others, pack one big back and put several people’s stuff in it, then each pack small carry-ons too.

11. Lastly, plan things that you want to do. It’s your vacation! If you don’t normally like to go to museums, don’t assume you’ll enjoy museums just because you’re in another city.

One response

  1. indeed! traveling makes you a better person!

    December 16, 2013 at 8:25 pm

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