The boyfriend and I have a trip to Italy planned out for September – I’m pumped! We’ve been discussing the possibility of an Italian adventure for about a year now and we’re a mere 60 days away! See some of my tips below on how to plan your next vacation!
1. Pick your destination (duh)
Arguably the hardest part about planning your next big trip is deciding where the heck you want to go. Are you craving tropical drinks on the beach, or museum tours in Paris? Writing out a list of your priorities (distance, budget, etc) can also help you brainstorm potential destinations!
2. Map out your route
KB and I used a trip planning website called Route Perfect to map out our trip to Italy. Route Perfect allowed for us to visually see which route made the most sense for us (did we want to start in the south and head north?). We were also able to note how many nights we intended to spend in each city, ensuring we utilized our entire budget of 16 days. Route Perfect earns more brownie points because you can also book your entire hotel package through their website, saving you loads of cash (saving money now = more gelato later).
For booking flights my favorite site to use is BookingBuddy because it allows you to select your destination & dates, and then compare prices across all the major airline sites from Expedia to Hipmunk! No need to open up tons of extra tabs, BookingBuddy consolidates all the comparisons right there for you on one site.
3. Create a Pinterest board for inspiration
Now you know where you want to go, you also know your route, but do you know exactly what hidden gems there are to see in those cities? Pinterest is the ultimate way to brainstorm sights to see along your travels (everything from the “best gelato in Rome” to “secret leather shops of Florence”). Pinterest is also a great source for brainstorming what to pack! I can’t tell you the number of times I searched for “Italian Vacation Outfits”).
4. Choose your hotels wisely
Route Perfect gave us access to a whole network of hotels in our chosen cities, but we took the extra time to read individual reviews on Trip Advisor. When booking a place to stay always take into account distance from transit venues (including where you will be coming into the city from and also where you will be departing from). Now that you’ve researched what sights within the city you wish to see (thanks, Pinterest!), you can also check the distance from each hotel to those parts of town! We wanted to stay in city centers for all of our Italian travels and mapped each Route Perfect suggested hotel from major landmarks like the Spanish Steps and the Duomo, ensuring we were within walking distance.
5. Early bird gets the worm – book your excursions early!!!
Tours and activities DO sell out! If you’re heading to Paris, grab your tickets to the top of the Eiffel Tower online months in advance. Avoid lines at the London Eye by purchasing your tickets on their website before you even take flight! Planning out and paying for your activities prior to your arrival will make your life a whole lot easier (and make you feel like a total celebrity skipping all those long lines).
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