5 Simple Steps to Planning an Awesome Vacation

Over the past ten years, Laura and I have been able to travel to a lot of cool places. Through those experiences, we have developed a huge passion for travel. As a result, we’ve tried to develop systems and processes to ensure that when we travel somewhere, we experience everything we possible can!

I thought I’d share our process for planning our trips with you in hopes that you can learn to be more intentional with your travel.  We would also love to learn from you. Please leave comments below with your best travel tips. We’re always looking to grow and develop in the area of travel!

That being said, here are 5 things we do to plan awesome trips:

1.) Have a Travel Savings Account – If you want to travel, you have to make it a priority with every paycheck. Every time we get paid, Laura and I put $X aside to go toward travel. This account ends up paying for all of our travel and everything we do on the trip.

2.) Decide Where You Want to Go – I’d encourage you to have a bucket list of places you would like to travel to. Once you have a master list, select 3-5 trips you would like to go on the following year. Then, start researching each place. Research flight costs and then estimate the total cost of each trip. That will usually narrow down your choices. Once you determine the 1-2 trips that are most realistic, decide which one looks the coolest!

3.) Research, Research, Research – When we know we are going to go somewhere, we want to make sure we experience everything we can. Therefore, we do a ton of research prior to our trip. While researching what to do, we take notes in Evernote. We write down a list of everything we want to do or see. Here are some of our favorite resources:

  • Word of Mouth – I try to find people who have been where I am going and ask them what they would recommend.
  • Trip Advisor – I am obsessed with Trip Advisor! I use it to help me find excellent places to eat as well as things to do. I use rankings and reviews to make my decisions.
  • Books – One of our favorite things to do when we are planning a trip is to go to Barnes & Noble’s and go through guide books of the places we’re going.
  • Google – Often times, I’ll google “Best things to do in___” “Best places to eat in ___” etc.

4.) Planning Your Itinerary –  Once I have a list of everything we want to do, I open Google Maps and find every place we want to go on the map and favorite it. See the picture below? These were all the paces we wanted to go in San Francisco.


Once I do that, I start mapping out each day’s itinerary. Questions I’ll ask myself when I’m planning are:

  • What excursions do we want to do that require a reservation? – I always make these reservations first. For instance, in San Francisco, Laura and I booked a sunset cruise, a tour of Alcatraz, and all of our dinners first. Then we planned around those things.
  • What’s the best way to get to all the places we need to go? 
  • How long will each thing take us? 
  • What would be the best way to maximize our time with the things we want to do? 

Finally, we’ll write out everything we’re going to do each day.

5.) Execute – Once we have the plan, all we have to do is execute while we’re on our trip!

This simple process has helped us create some unbelievable memories while traveling. Tomorrow, I’ll write some of our other favorite traveling tips. I’m curious:

  • What do you do to plan your trips?
  • What are some of your favorite resources to help you plan your trip? 


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