Confession (unless you already know me), I plan trips in my spare time. I’m talking, trips I have no intention of taking anytime soon. I like to research different locations and save ideas for the future. My husband jokes that he could pick a destination and I would likely already have a trip planned for any given season/occasion…
So you can imagine how thorough I am when we actually do have a destination picked and are planning a trip. I of course do my research and get ideas of sites to see, places to eat, and things to do, etc. But there are a few “extra” things I do that take my preparedness to the next level.
I am pretty sure almost everyone uses google maps at some point while planning their trip. Usually to calculate the distance between a hotel and site/restaurant but I use it for so much more.
Choosing a Hotel: Location is always a top priority when choosing a hotel. I want to make sure it is easily accessible and within close proximity to at least a few of our top activities and destinations. In addition to scoping out the location of various places I like to explore the neighborhood of the hotel we are interest in. The hotel may look great based on the photos on the website but don’t let that fool you. I like to go into the street view feature of Google Maps and “walk around” the neighborhood of the hotel. Get an idea of what it looks like on the outside and if the area seems like it would make for a pleasant stay.
Getting to Know The Area: Again, Google Maps can tell you that its only a 17 minute walk from your hotel to the restaurant you are going for dinner. That seems doable. But enter street view and you are able to see if that requires any major hills or walking through any neighborhoods that aren’t very “friendly” after dark.
I study Google Maps like crazy before I go somewhere. I am very directionally challenged so being familiar with street names, distances, and neighborhoods ahead of time is a great way to get your bearings straight before you head out in the wrong direction.
Instagram is great for location scouting for trips. You can search for accounts of hotels, restaurants, and sites. But better yet, you can see photos that other people have posted of those same spots! Businesses will obviously only feature the best and most flattering photos on their accounts. Getting the perspective of other guests and visitors is a great way to determine just how fabulous a hotel or restaurant actually is.
“Packing” Ahead of Time
Packing can be stressful, overwhelming and messy. Trying to figure out what goes together and if you have everything you need for each day/outfit. I like to make a PDF of what I’m packing for each trip. I know that may seem a little extreme. If you don’t have the time or patience to make a PDF, simply plan out your outfits ahead of time and take pictures of each one before leaving. Another option is to create a Pinterest board of the outfits (or similar outfits) you want to pack. Either way, when you go to pack you will have a reference of everything you need to pack and it is beyond helpful to see it all together.
In addition to the PDF I always have a list of “Items for Every Trip”. You know, the obvious items like chargers, toiletries, delicates, etc. Having a list and photos to reference helps make sure that you aren’t leaving anything out.
I am someone who is easily stressed, especially while traveling, so anything I can do to be more prepared and make it easy I surely will. These are just a few of the things that help me feel more comfortable and prepared while traveling. What are a few of the extra things you do to prepare?