I’m going to teach you how to plan a vacation in four easy steps. Yesterday, I planned a week-long vacation to New York City and was done planning, booked, and ready to go 48 hours later. It doesn’t have to take weeks, or months to plan a vacation. If you follow my 5 easy steps, you’ll save time, be better organized, and feel like a travel planning pro after. So whether you’re planning a family trip, group trip, or solo trip – just follow these steps and you’ll be booked and ready to go in days.
How to Plan a Vacation in 4 Easy Steps
Step 1: map out what you want to do
Once you decide on a destination for your vacation, the first thing to do is start researching things to do there. Tripadvisor is really helpful in finding ways to keep you entertained on your vacation. I also like Pinterest so I can read about things to do from bloggers. Sometimes they sprinkle in little insider tips which is super helpful if you don’t know how to plan a vacation. Pick out where you want to go or book a sightseeing tour with Big Bus Tours.
The bus will hit most of the area’s highlights and you can hop on or off at the different attractions. If you like to explore more on your own, save money and see the things you want at your own pace, try The Sightseeing Pass. Or Go City Pass, which is what we are using in New York. We saved over $400 to see all the attractions we planned on seeing.
After you have compiled a list of things you want to do, map them out. To see everything in one place I like to use Wanderlog for cities and longer trips, AllTrails for hikes, and Roadtrippers for… road trips obviously.
Now that all the things you want to do are on the map, move on to the next step!
Step 2: Find a centrally located Hotel
The map is your guide to planning where to stay. Choose somewhere centrally located around the things you want to do. I like to use Expedia / Hotels.com because they show the hotels in map form. For my NYC trip, we’re staying a few nights in Mott Haven because the event we’re attending is on Randall’s Island Park. Most of the things we want to do are south of central park down to the Financial District so we chose a hotel just east of Greenwich Village for the rest of our trip. Putting us at an equal distance from all the attractions we have planned, it’s in a good neighborhood, and around lots of restaurants.
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Step 3: Plan Your Transportation Route
Great! You know where you’re going, what to do, and where you’re going to stay! But how are you going to get to all those places? Start from home and make your way back. When we go to New York City, we’re driving our car to the Detroit airport, and leaving it parked there until we return home. I recommend using Airport Parking Reservations to save you time and money. Then we’re flying out of DTW to La Guardia Airport in NYC. Do you need a rental car when you arrive? We plan on using public transportation to get around the city – so I looked up the bus and subway routes in the city. Familiarizing myself with the area and which transit is faster.
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Step 4: booking Your Trip
Now comes the fun part… booking your vacation! There are tons of booking engines out there, so how do you know which one to use? Skyscanner. If your dates are flexible, it allows you to search by month so you can find the best rate. If you know your dates, enter them and Skyscanner will show you the best rates from the different airlines. You can do the same thing with the hotel tab, it will pull up the rates of hotels from all the booking engines in one place.