Every time I take a trip, I follow the same general steps to plan the trip. It doesn’t matter if it’s a weekend trip or a two week road trip, I plan them pretty similarly. One just takes a lot more time than the other. I’ve included those steps as well as a few other tips below! If you have tips of your own when traveling, I’d love to hear them!
Step 1: What type of trip do you want to take?
Where do you want to go and how long do you plan to go for?
Step 2: Will anyone will be joining you?
Is this a trip you plan to take alone or will there be others along for the ride? Traveling alone or traveling with others each have their own purpose. Figure out what yours is prior to booking anything.
Step 3: When do you plan to go?
Some locations are better visited in the summer while others are better during the winter. For example, are you looking to visit Vermont in the fall to see the changing of the leaves or Florida in the winter to escape the cold of the north? Check out the best times to visit your destination prior to booking. Make sure to keep in mind seasons, weather, and economic conditions.
Step 4: What do you want to do while you’re there?
I use a combination of Instagram locations, Yelp, maps, Pinterest, and travel blogs to give me some pointers as to where to go. They’re all great resources. I’d recommend starting with main points of interest first, and then narrowing down the details of the trip from there.
Step 5. How much do you want to spend?
I give myself a tentative budget on trips so I know about how much I will spend. Depending on where I’m going, the budget may be altered slightly but here’s a tentative budget I used for my last road trip below.
Hotels / AirBnb – $70- $200 / night
Food / Drinks- $40 – $60 per day per person
Gas – $40 – $70per 300 miles
Rental Car / Flights – This varies. Check multiple airports ahead of time as well as rental car companies. I normally pay $250-$450 per flight and about $150 – $500 for a rectal car.
Gifts / Souvenirs – Up to you.
Step 6. When should you book the flights / rental / hotels ?
Flights – 3-5 months out for domestic, earlier for International
Rental Cars – 2 Weeks – 3 months out
Hotels – Chains – at least 1-2 weeks out. Boutique hotels and Airbnb – 3 months +
Step 7. What should you pack?
Try to avoid checking a bag. It saves you money and time. My favorite luggage is the Bigger Carry On from Away. It fits so much and is easy to haul around through the airport, and up and down stairs of hotels.
Other Travel Tips:
- Parking a car at an airport will always add time to checking in. Know where to park ahead of time. And if you need to shuttle / train / walk to the check in.
- Most airlines will let you check in using an app and you don’t have to wait in the check in line.
- Put your liquids in a bag. Don’t be the annoying person in the security line that has 10 tubs of liquids.
- Arrive about 2 hours before your domestic flight and about 3 hours before your international flight if you really don’t want to miss it.
- If you have to change planes or have a layover, I’d avoid any less than an hour. Or wear your running shoes.
- Planes are usually very cold after take off. Bring socks and pack a layer that’s easily accessible for the flight.
- Bring a book or bring headphones to entertain you on the flight.
- Make sure your phone is charged if you have all of your reservations on it.