Whether it’s planning a meal, what to clean in the house or my personal favourite..a trip, my whole life is revolved around plans. I’ve made 1, 3 and 5 year plans, our entire wedding had a weekly plan (it was a destination to be fair) but being honest, planning is what keeps me sane. Now I’m not going to toot my own horn but each of our big trips, we’ve had people actually tell us that our routes were very clean and organized and made sense. To me, that was the ultimate compliment. I can spend hours deciding what to do and where to go, bec
ause it makes sense looking at a map but in real life, knowing that it actually works is the ultimate goal!
How to Start
Figure out a timeframe. Only have a weekend? Pick a city to explore. Got a week, maybe do a resort trip. A month, a couple of countries that are close together. You never want to rush a trip so be realistic. Do you really want to spend up to 25 hours of travel time each way to only have 4 days? Or would you rather go somewhere closer and enjoy those extra days? In the end the decision is based upon your schedule and budget.
Once you figure out your time frame, pick the destination. You finally have a long weekend free to go check out New York City! Or you are able to convince your boss to let you take a month off and so you can jet over to South East Asia. Keep in mind, it doesn’t matter where you go, it will never be long enough!
Next up: Research. Google. Instagram. Blogs. Get an idea of the major sights you want to check out. But be open to allowing some change along the way. You can have a perfect itinerary planned out and the weather can end up being shitty, you could get an unexpected sickness or your friends you just met could tell you about this awesome place you must to check out. You literally never know what can happen. So have a general idea of what you want to do, but keep an open mind and have fun with exploring new options.
This is my favourite part. I’ll use the example of our honeymoon trip we did. We booked flights into Hong Kong and knew we wanted to go to Ha Long Bay in Vietnam and Angkor Wat in Cambodia. From there we spent countless hours on Instagram and reading travel blogs finding other neat places to go to. Once we found a place we knew we wanted to go to, on google maps we searched where it was and saved it to “Starred Places” the map. Below is an example.
From there, the map showed all the places we for sure. It ended up being a circle because we bought a round trip flight from Hong Kong because it saved us a ton of money. We chose to fly from Hong Kong into Hanoi, go down the coast of Vietnam, head from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh in Cambodia and fly back to Hong Kong from Siem Reap. Within the areas we wanted to go to, we also star the attractions we want to check out. Here’s our example in New York City.
After we created this map we could see that we wanted to spend one day in Lower Manhattan, another around Midtown and lastly Central Park.
By developing a general route on where you want to go, I find that it saves you from the guessing game. It eliminates the possibility of forgetting about something that you actually wanted to do or see. It also cuts down on transportation costs. I can’t imagine if we wanted to go to the Statue of Liberty the same day as a walk in Central Park. I mean it is absolutely do-able but in the end costs more on transportation which also takes up time. One thing that everybody agrees on – being stuck in traffic is the absolute worst!
Well that’s the ins and outs of how we like to plan our holidays! Right from the timeframe, where to and what to do. Take the time to do some research so you aren’t spending time trying to find stuff to do while you are there, but don’t do too much that you aren’t even excited to do it anymore. Sometimes we get so caught up in the internet we forget to live in the moment and just enjoy it.
If you have any other suggestions on your planning process, I would love to hear them! Leave a comment below!