Written by: Leah Grubb, APSU Junior, Corporate Communication
Flight bookings. Car rentals. Accommodations. Restaurant reservations. Attraction tickets.
These are just a few of the hundred, little details that go into planning the PERFECT trip. Sure, the Instagram pictures make it look easy. They show the gorgeous mountain range or exotic city but don’t depict all the work it took to get there! The best travel experiences require quite a bit of planning aka a lot of work. Planning a trip can be overwhelming but it is actually similar to planning a typical event.
The first thing you need to do is set a budget. Ask yourself, ‘how much money am I willing to spend overall?’ It is important to set financial boundaries before looking booking anything. It is helpful to break down your budget even further and delegate how much you can spend on tickets, accommodations, activities, etc. This will differ from person to person because everyone has different preferences. For example, some people splurge on fancy hotels while others save money for activities by staying at campgrounds.
Now it is time to research, research, and research some more! I typically start by looking for the cheapest plane tickets. Farecompare.com is a great website for searching flights. It compares the cheapest flights from different airlines. Be sure to research and account for various fees some airlines may charge!
I’ve learned that fabulous accommodations can truly make a travel experience. Hotels are traditionally the go-to for vacations, but that precedent is starting to change with the rise of Airbnb. There are all types of other options including hostels, typical Bed and Breakfasts, cabins, campgrounds, etc. Use your budget and preferences to decide which type of accommodations best fit you. You should also take location and centrality into consideration. Before making a decision, conclude your research with lots of public reviews! I use tripadvisor.com to find genuine reviews.
The next step is to begin researching attractions and things to do. Most cities have a tourism website with links to local activities. I typically start looking on those websites and then branch out. If you’re having trouble staying within budget, just google ‘free things to do in _____.’ I did this for NYC and had lots of fun doing free things like the Staten Island ferry. While doing your research, be sure to note which activities need reservations. Make a list of your top choices and a list of back-ups in case plans fall through!
These are just a few of the things that it takes to plan a great trip! Once you have these three bases covered, you can begin delving into other details. My personal favorite is researching restaurants and finding a city’s best local eats! (I could seriously and just might write an entire blog post on that topic….)
It is never too early to start planning your next trip. Don’t let the thought of planning a trip keep you going back to the same beach year after year. Step away from your comfort zone and start researching your dream vacation! On that note, I think I’ll hop on over to Pinterest for a little travel inspiration.