How I Plan Vacations in 3 Steps

Hi guys! Welcome back! Today I’m walking you through the simple steps I use while planning a trip. I try to travel as often as possible, so I’ve gotten pretty comfortable with the process of planning. Just as an FYI - this won’t include anything about budgeting since I usually won’t start planning a trip until I know I can afford it! If you’d like to know more about my budgeting when it comes to travel, I would be happy to do a blog post about that as well. I hope this post isn’t an overload of information for you and if you have any questions, I can definitely answer them in the comments! And don’t forget to let me know where you’ll be headed on your next trip down below as well.


1. Research

This first step seems pretty obvious and that’s just doing a bit of research for your trip. This might include researching different locations that you may want to visit and the best times to go to those places.

And of course, researching your flights is important as well. The google flight tracker is an awesome tool when you want to look at all the different flight options for specific dates you have in mind. If your dates are a bit more flexible, you can put them into the Hopper app and let it calculate what dates would be best for you to travel on. Remember, unfortunately, airlines track how often you’re looking at flights, and if you look too often they may bump up your prices (so rude). So I definitely recommend doing all your travel research on incognito mode (all browsers have it, just google how to access it if you don’t know). This will help to keep you anonymous while you’re browsing all of your different options.

If you’ve chosen your location and trip dates, you can dive into where to stay! Choosing a hotel is half the fun. I usually dig through tons of pages of hotels on trip advisor, taking note of my favorite ones. Obviously, a lot of factors come into play here including your budget, the area you want to stay in, and what sort of accommodations you want. If you’re choosing to stay in an all-inclusive, the area it’s in probably matters less since you’ll be spending most of your time at the hotel vs staying at a normal hotel/airbnb where you’ll be out exploring every day. Take all of those favorites into account while you’re doing your research.


2. Booking

Time to follow through and book your trip! You’ve done all your research, weighed all your options, and made your final decisions about where you’ll be going, staying, and when you’ll be visiting. So obviously, time to put your money where your mouth is (or research is in this context). This step should go pretty smoothly since you’ve already done all the hard work while researching! Oh, and don’t forget to rent a car if you’ll need one to get around! Last time I rented a car I used and it was super convenient and affordable. You can click here and get $25 off your first car rental from Turo (totally not sponsored, just trying to help).

3. Planning

This is the most fun step by far. And definitely interchangeable with step 2. I usually do my activity planning after my trip is booked, but if you want to take the location of activities you’re interested in into account when you’re deciding where to stay, you might want to do this before booking. Totally up to you!

The two main resources I use while planning activities/locations for my trip are Instagram and Pinterest. I find Pinterest is probably the best place to start since you can type in things like “Travel Guide for ___” or “Best places to eat in ___” etc etc. And then once I’ve compiled a list of places I’m interested in, I like to type them into Instagram. Not only do you get more photos of what that location looks like, but you can also visit people’s accounts who have posted from there because they’ve probably posted more awesome locations on their page as well.

After you have a pretty solid list going of things you want to do, then comes the annoying part: mapping it out. This means googling the addresses for each place and then trying to figure out which locations are near each other and the best order to do them in to plan out each day of your trip. This is definitely tedious and probably best done with an extra set of eyes. However, I find this step to not only be totally necessary, but totally helpful for when you actually arrive on your vacation. All of the hard work will be done all you’ll need to do is refer back to your notes and see what the agenda is for each day! This is most definitely a more planned approach, so feel free to skip this part if you’re more of a laid back traveler who rather see what comes their way and relax most of their trip. However, if you’re looking to do a ton of activities/see a lot while you’re visiting, I highly recommend doing this before your trip.