There’s nothing more exciting than having a chance to explore a new place. Whether the trip be spontaneous or a lifelong dream, sometimes actually preparing can be daunting. Be it the constant travel as a flight attendant or long-term organizational tendencies, I have created a methodical way for preparing for your next trip!
When I first start getting ready to travel, I begin with a trusty Google search. Simply typing “things to do in ______” will bring up tons of articles, blogs, videos, etc. about the place you’re visiting. I begin by sorting through some of my favorite sites (like Lonely Planet and TimeOut) to compile a list. Generally these articles include short descriptions, which I also jot down to remember details, as well as help me to prioritize.
It’s always wise to reach out to your friends to see if anyone has insight. Sometimes hidden away gems have been discovered by loved ones, and they’re eager to share! I may be biased, but definitely make a point to ask your flight attendants too. More often than not, they’ve been there many times and have lots of advice!
Once I’ve got my list scribbled down, I pull open the Google Maps application on my phone. It’s got a great feature where you can search a location, press the name bar and star or “save” the item. After the locations are saved, you can see where everything is relative to each other. This is especially helpful too when you’re looking for lodging, so that you can find a spot not too far from the sights!
Another extremely useful thing about this feature is that it can be used with and without phone data. My phone stays on airplane mode when I’m abroad to avoid increased roaming charges. When I open Google Maps however, I can still see the saved and my current location, so I’m able to still get around without a paper map or using data!
Now it’s time to put order to this madness! To make the most out of all the research and planning, you must put together an itinerary. No I’m not talking a moment-by-moment detailed guide, there’s no room for discovery in that. It is important to create a general plan though, so that you can accomplish everything you set out to do.
Use your list and map to come up with a loose daily guide that still allows for extra-curricular exploring. It’s always a good idea to keep transportation and the relative locations of activities in mind, with time allotted for adequate resting and eating. You can write this itinerary on paper, type it into your phone, jot it down on your arm, whatever! Just make sure to keep it handy so that you can experience your destination without the stress of figuring out what to do next.
With a family or larger group, an itinerary becomes even more important. Having a plan helps everyone know what to expect, and keeps things from being pulled multiple directions. I personally lose track of everything when I become enveloped in a new surrounding, so even when I’m alone, I keep to my trusty guide.
I hope you found my planning methods useful, what other things do you do to prepare for your trips? There’s always room to discover more ways to wander! Now I’m off to Spain with my latest travel itinerary, see you next time!