Travel Thoughts: Trip Planning
Justin and I are in the middle stages of planning our biggest adventures for the year, so I thought we would share with you our adventure-planning process. There are usually some tweaks along the way and we are definitely still far from experts. But, if you are getting ready to embark on your first forays into the big wide world, or even just dreaming and want to know what your trip of a lifetime is going to cost so you can save for it without compromising, here's how we go about it:
How long do we have?
Where do we want to go? What do we want to do?
The amount of time inevitably dictates your options (if you are reading this as a rookie, you probably don't want to fly all the way to Paris for a weekend). Here is where dreaming and bucket lists come in. Justin & I have a list of our lifetime must-do's. In addition, we have brainstormed or stumbled across many more would-be-awesome's that we fit in whenever we can. Generally, though, since we try not to spend more than 1 weekend in a row at home, a lot of our adventures come about by googling things that are within a few hours of our home. Side bar: this is also why we don't post frequently. Too busy adventuring and working the ol' 9-5 to pay for it!
For our summer trip, we dreamed up an Epic Beach Crawl after talking about how little of our beloved Sunshine State we’ve seen and randomly wondering how long it would take to drive along the entire coast of Florida (according to Google Maps, 24 hours, give or take). After a deeper research dive, we soon realized that with only 10 days off, we would only have time to make it down the east coast to Key West and work our way back without leaving too much undone. So we have since split the Beach Crawl to End All Beach Crawls into Epic Beach Crawls part 1 & tbd part 2, possibly 3.
Where are we staying?
Now, we start getting into logistics. Invariably, while researching an area and things to do, we stumble across cool places to stay. If we haven’t already, this is also when we start mapping the trip out. Generally, we try to minimize driving/transportation, focusing on staying near attractions or the most convenient location.
For example, this summer, we are staying at a variety of places ranging from cheap and functional hotels to the height of affordable-luxury resorts. Why? Some nights we know we are only going to be there long enough to catch some winks, but the next place we might be staying in for a couple of days and 'must' have oceanfront and amenities. Plus, variety is the spice of life. We have more than a handful of interesting (or harrowing) stories based solely on where we stayed!
Even if you opt for a cruise, as we frequently do, you'll have to decide where you want your cabin and what kind you are willing to pay for! If you are prone to motion sickness (as Justin is) or don't yet know, we have researched and found to be true that mid to rear deck is the best spot to minimize. Our personal preference is for a window, although we have also gone windowless and splurged for a balcony. We will never book another cruise below deck 5, but that’s for another story.
Don’t book anything just yet! Justin, silly man, did just that before we had finished these first three steps, creating an immovable – or at least too-much-of-a-hassle-to-move – booking smack-dab in the middle of our vacation. Spend some time dreaming up adventures. (Notice, we haven’t said anything about budgets yet, either). Just writing this post has me daydreaming, although, to be honest it doesn’t take much to inspire me to take a vacation in my head.
Check back soon for Adventure Planning part 2, making the adventure we’ve dreamed up into a reality.
Where are you dreaming about? Tell us in the comments!
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Some of Our Favorite Photos to Inspire You: