Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Vacationing: Planning, Tips, Ideas

If we're being real - everyone knows how to plan a vacation
but with our spring vacation days away, I'm kind of in a vacation mindset already 
So today I have for you, my tips and ideas about vacation planning.

Starting Out: Narrow it Down
Some people can decide that they want to go on a vacation and know exactly where they want to go.
We aren't usually those people.  Our travel bucket list is never ending (Currently we're on a domestic only kick) so our goal is to get in one or two big vacations each year then a couple smaller ones.  We first decide WHEN we want to go away and next comes WHERE.  This works out pretty well, at least for us it does :)

Nothing Beats a Recommendation
Whether it's reading Trip Advisor reviews or asking around to your family and friends - people who have BEEN to your desired locations know best and that's usually how we find our best tips for the vacation ahead. 

Research: Top Two or Three 
Once we've narrowed down our favorites for the upcoming trip - we research our top two or three favorites and look for things like the weather during the season when we want to go, top attractions/ what there is to do, flight prices, hotel prices, etc.  We pick whichever is right for the time we're going.  (Again, if you know where you want to go right away - skip right over this).

Accommodations: Where to Stay
Once we've locked in on our location - next up is one of the hardest parts for us - where to stay! Some people go with the motto "it's just a hotel, just for sleeping" but I like to be comfortable in where I'm staying, enjoy the room and have a nice mix of eateries/activities to pick from too.  More times than none, I usually can barely pick (hence why we stayed at two hotels on the Bora Bora leg of our honeymoon - both had great and different things to offer).  Being able to walk to a lot of places is also a huge plus for us.

Now, it's Time to Plan: Must Dos + Itinerary
Right off the bat we check out activities and pick out our "must dos" and from that start to make an itinerary.  We never like to over book ourselves but at the same time we want to make the most out of our trip and get in all that we want to do.  We do our share of laying on the beach, lounging around the hotel, etc. but we like to stay active as well.  Starting out an itinerary from the beginning helps to make sure we get everything you want to do in but not over do it.

Leave Some Free Time:
Based off the length of the trip we always like to leave at least one day fully open.  (Some short trips don't levee time for this though) Once we arrive at your destination as we explore for yourselves, it gives us time to add in something we might have seen and/or just plain relax for a day.  We usually leave the first and last day pretty open to explore and then do or redo any last minute things we want to get in.

Take your Travel Folder:
We always take the important things like flight information, hotel information, any excursion activity with us in hard copy form because by the time the trip rolls around - I don't usually still have the confirmations on my phone and you never know what could go wrong.  Always better to be safe than sorry.

Once You Arrive:
Unplug: We usually disconnect ourselves from social media for the most part aside from posting a few instagrams of a couple photos on Facebook - there's plenty of time for all the details when you get back.  We still keep in contact with friends and family but phones aren't usually as frequent as when we are at home.

Enjoy: Make the most of your trip - we try to make sure to sleep in but not over sleep.  Make sense?  We like to refresh while we're away but don't want to miss out on maximizing our time.

Indulge: Whether it's treating ourselves to a special activity, enjoying delicious meals, relaxing at a spa treatment - we enjoy doing something to treat ourselves and make the vacation even sweeter.

Always Ask About an Upgrade: It never hurts to ask - and we've found that if the rooms are open, the hotel will sometimes be happy to complimentary give you the upgrade.

If You're Celebrating - Let Them Know: Hotels are in the hospitality business and they key to that is pleasing your customers.  Staff will usually go a little bit above to make sure your trip is memorable.  Honeymoons (especially), anniversaries, birthdays, bachelorette parties, etc. - let them know what you're there to celebrate!

What are some of your favorite travel planning tips?  Ideas?
What's your plan of attack once your trip begins?


  1. Unplugging is KEY on vacation. My husband and I pretty much put away all technology and just focus on each other and our time together and not posting to social media. We definitely kept the phones off on our honeymoon, that was our time not the time to post pictures for people at home. Glad we're of the same mindset ;)!

  2. We've never done the "ask for an upgrade" but you can better believe I will now.

    Our time away with kids is so precious now, we absolutely always "unplug" and just in the moment. Vacations are fun with the kids, but different. So savor all of these times with just you and the hubs! :) In fact, we're taking a little overnight trip tonite just us! I can't wait! NEed to finish packing,

  3. I think these are all great planning tips! We use TripAdvisor ALL the time and I always make sure to review the places we've been on there too. I think it's also SO nice to be able to unplug, but posting a few pictures here and there isn't a bad thing--we've done that before and the only people it bothered were the judgmental ones who had nothing better to do than talk about what we were doing rather than worrying about their own lives.
    I know you're going to be more and more excited as the weeks go by! Can't wait to hear more about your trip once you go!

  4. ugh I want to go on a vacation so badly but all my time off again this year is going toward weddings. Hopefully some day I'll be able to take a real vacation. Until then I will live through yours ha ha ha!

  5. Great tips! I think planning for vacations can be just as fun as being on one! Have a great trip! I can't wait to hear about it:)

  6. Such great tips! We have the hardest time narrowing down where we want to go - our list is a mile long, too! Because of Ryan's work schedule, we pretty much know we always are going to get our big vaca in the week of our anniversary in October, so picking when we want to go is pretty easy. :)

  7. Great tips! When thinking about a place I've never been to, I start to get overwhelmed with the options and things to do lol

  8. Aaaah now I really really want to go on vacation asap. Unfortunately, we don't have anything booked until next winter. These are great tips. Especially the one about asking for an upgrade. It works so often!

  9. Gosh dang it now you have me researching for a post-season vacuum.. in addition to the weddings we are going to lol!

  10. These are great tips. We are planning our honeymoon but besides that neither of us are huge travelers (aside from our yearly beach trips). I can always use travel tips & advice!

  11. We have a very similar approach, great advice! Xo, Stephanie