This blog is meant to share my process behind traveling, from booking my stay to planning each daily adventure. The trips I plan are usually chosen amongst varieties of flights and housing options given at great prices. In this blog I’ll give you insight on how I plan my trips and since “MotivatioNel Works” is meant for creative inspiration, I hope this will inspire you to try out my method in planning your next getaway!
Since booking the vacation is clearly not the best part, understand that choosing a qualitative flight and a unique travel destination for a great price will make your trip ten times more memorable.
To start off with the trip planning, I like to research the desired location I’d like to visit. Once the place is decided upon and thoroughly examined, I figure out when the best time to visit would be.
Having an idea of a date in mind while investigating prices will help a ton, since airline tickets fluctuate throughout the year. More than most, the spring and summer time bookings are usually the time when prices greatly inflate, although locations vary dramatically. The prices could change from endless factors like the day of the week you leave, the time you depart or arrive, how long you stay, when you come back, or even the airline or seat you choose.
Before I spend any kind of money, my process is to gather up as much information as I can about my desired location, explore all options before booking any reservations, not to mention guarantee the date range set up to work out and be available to book.
Let’s say my desired location is Las Vegas, Nevada.
I start off by researching all I can about the best times to go to Las Vegas, the best areas to stay in Las Vegas, what to avoid in Las Vegas, Cool things to do in Las Vegas (I Usually Add In The Time I’m Going For More Specific Events), anything I can think of that will enhance my experience. I’ll also figure out when is a good time to take off work so I don’t miss too much while I’m gone.
After deciding upon a date,
I visit the site “Google.com/Flights”
With Google Flight’s search engine, I would set up the flight information for the getaway where my flight would depart from any Chicago airport and arrive at the McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. Right after choosing the flight destinations, you’ll be asked what dates you wish to depart and return from the trip.
One of the cool features about Google Flights is that it allows you to scan through different dates, with the lowest ticket prices for each date attached, to see what date would be best for you. If the date you want is too expensive, Google Flights will also allow you to see prices for alternate destinations that are nearby. This is to see if somewhere close is cheaper than the direct route you are trying to take. So I choose the dates that are the lowest and match it up with the time I’m taking off work. It’ll then give me multiple airline choices with different times amongst the airline chosen. I like to choose an early time if I have the whole day off to get the full day where ever I’m going but if I am leaving after work then I choose the latest possible.
Before finalizing my airfare purchase, I’ll begin my research on finding a location to stay at. I prefer to figure this out BEFORE I make my airline purchase because you may be able to alter the days of your flight to find better deals on the location you want to stay at.
*For Example – Finding a bigger place on Airbnb.com for a cheaper price only if you check in on a Sunday rather than when you originally planned to head over there that Saturday night.
The two sites I center my findings around are usually Airbnb.com and Hotwire.com. Both of these sites usually help with finding the cheapest deals with unique options. I have a deeper love for Airbnb.com because I feel that the idea of living in other people’s homes are more authentic and exhilarating. Airbnb.com is a site where people that own buildings and have extra rooms and space available rent them out for a couple days or as many months as you’d like. Hotwire.com is hotel based and does not tell you what location you will be booked with until after you make the purchase, not to mention hotel deposits and the tasteless layouts of hotel rooms. Although I still like hotwire.com because sometimes they offer cheaper deals for hotel rooms that can give you convenience with checking in unlike Airbnb.com where sometimes you meet with strange people to get your room or own place. Not to mention hotwire.com has hotels that offer cool amenities like breakfast buffets, gyms and pools.
Another cool thing about Airbnb.com is the flexibility it provides with your budget. You have an option whether to share a private room in someone’s place or even rent out an entire house! Every location is different and offers multiple amenities alongside various prices. You can also rent locations that do not require an approval by the host, those are called “instant book.” Once you get enough written reviews on your profile from hosts, it will be easier to tap into those more exclusive deals that require an approval before any booking can be placed. If not, they may need a background check. Airbnb.com also has convenient filters to keep your search within range of your budget and all the amenities that seem most important to you.
I, myself, like to search for locations that play central to everywhere I plan on going while I’m there. That way transportation isn’t as difficult or time consuming when it’s time to explore.
Once you find a great deal on the location and finalize the date for your round trip flight, then its time to research what you want to do during your stay!
I like to set up my day in advance with a bunch of options to check out. I give myself options because sometimes things are closed or the weather ruins it or even my mood doesn’t feel up to sticking to one specific plan. As I still play around with different things throughout the day, having that original layout for reference is usually something nice for me to start off with.
For finding out cool things to do where ever you head out to, make sure to check out apps like TripAdvisor, Like A Local, Yelp, Field Trip, Event Brite, and even Time To Enjoy to discover exciting new experiences while out exploring the world!
I appreciate you reading my process on trip planning; I hope this can help give you guidance on planning your next trip!