Life Saving Hacks for Planning Your Next Trip

Growing up, my family vacations were always very organized. My mom was great at finding hotel deals and we always booked our flights months and months in advance. It amazes me how organized we were seeing as this was before iPhones and navigation apps and there was no such thing as Uber and AirBnB. We always had a blast and were able to fit so much into the time that we were on vacation.

life hacks for vacation planning

Now that I’m older and most of the trips I take are sans my organized family, things can get a little more stressful. This post is actually a little backwards for me because rather than taking a trip this summer, I am hosting my very best blog friend Rachel when she comes to visit me in two weeks! (I’m sure if you follow either of us on Twitter, that you’ve heard a ton about this already…and we’re sorry – kinda.)

So here’s the deal – itineraries can give you a headache and budgeting sometimes needs to get a little tricky. Whether you’re going on a trip or having someone come stay with you, these tips should do the trick!

vacation planning tips, easily plan your next trip with these life hacks

Skip the itinerary – make a master list 

For my trip to Boston last summer, my dad left the planning up to me. I think I spent 5 minutes trying to make a legitimate itinerary that was even color coded, but threw in the towel. When you’re visiting most new places, you really only know a slew of things to do and maybe where they’re located, but you don’t know if on Day 3 of your trip your feet are going to hurt and you won’t want to take that Freedom Trail tour.

I make a master list on my phone (you could use a cute notebook) of things I want to do and see. I also include the location of each of these activities so I can group them.

 

Check the weather for packing purposes

vacation planning tips, easily plan your next trip with these life hacks

this is seriously the comfiest swimsuit and it’s so fun for summer trips!

Before I even put a shirt in my suitcase, I make a packing list. I outfit plan (and this is the only time I do so) according to the weather. If Day 1 is going to be a low of 65 and a high of 82, then I know what outfit is going to work best for the weather. Since you have a master list rather than an itinerary, just make sure whatever you have packed is versatile – skip the wedges and opt for comfy flats or try the sneakers with a dress trend. Also, pack outfits (like this t-shirt dress or this romper) that can be dressed down for exploring and dressed up for dinner on the town.

life saving hacks for planning your next trip

Rachel and I in Boston

Consult with your hosts or your guests

Rachel and I have been chatting back and forth about what we want to do. I don’t think it’d be any fun for her if she showed up and I just took her around to do what I wanted to do without checking with her what she likes to see. In the same sense, if you’re staying with someone, you may pick their brain about the best things to do where they live. Often I find that the local places are the best treat, and only true locals will be able to point you towards those.

If you’re going somewhere where you don’t know anyone or have no one to ask about local spots, do a Pinterest search. Example: Boston local’s guide to travel. That’s how I find really neat places when I’m exploring a new place!

vacation planning tips, easily plan your next trip with these life hacks

Budget

When Cameron and I went on spring break together last year, we were lucky enough to be staying with some family and didn’t need to pay for a hotel or any Ubers. The only thing we had to purchase was food, so I made sure to set myself a budget of how much I should spend each day on meals. If you’re able to, it’s great to go to the grocery store to pick up a few things that you can keep in the hotel fridge or in your purse. I’m a snack girl, so I like to grab meal bars, nuts, and healthy on-the-go snacks to munch on when I’m out exploring. Scout out the nearest convienence or grocery store on your way in town and stock up!

I always check the prices online before I head to a new restaraunt. It’s totally ok to spend a little more than you would if you’re really wanting to try a special spot, but it’s also good to make sure you’re not going to be sad when you leave because you spent all your money! I’ll do a Yelp search, scan through the comments, and then visit the place’s website to view the menu.

live saving hacks for planning your next trip

Ask social media! 

Back to that trip to Boston – almost everything I ended up doing I can thank you guys for! I remember posting a picture on Instagram and asking in the caption if anyone had any Boston recommendations. I would wake up in the morning, get dressed, and then check my comments to see what fun thing I’d be doing next! Haha! So, make a Facebook status or send a tweet – I’m sure you’ll get some great reccos!

Where are you headed this summer? Hope these tips can help you plan a fun trip! 

X,

Cristina

 

  • How cute is that picture of you and Rachel! Great tips, great post as always. I’m SO excited to see you two together in a few weeks, I can just imagine the cute instagrams and great posts you’ll create!!

  • I agree with just making a master list. I’m going to Disney World in January with my boyfriend’s family and we’ve made a list of the things were are going to do. Of course, we will reserve fast passes and everything but we plan on just going with the flow. Aside from a couple of dinner reservations, we really don’t know what park we are going to which days and when we will ride a certain ride. We just have a list of what we know we want to do. 🙂
    Kiersten @ Autumn Country Girl

  • Love this post and I can relate so much to all these tips! Great advice!

  • I puke every time you post this photo – I look so so uncomfortable!!! HAHAH Love these tips, though!

    Rachel / http://www.seashellsandsparkles.com

  • How fun that you get to plan a trip with your friend! These are great tips!
    -Anna | http://www.fivefootandfabulous.com

  • I love the idea of making a master list. Such great tips!

  • Great tips, Cristina! Planning a trip can be a lot of work but it is so worth it in the end.

    xoxo, Jenny

  • These are all really great tips! When Ryan and I went to Cancun it was kinda stressful because I wanted to do a lot but we weren’t sure how to go about it. We ended up staying on the resort the whole time, which was fine, but next time we go I’m definitely making a master list and venturing outside the resort!

    Kayla | kaylablogs.com

  • Great tips! I love to plan (and sometimes over plan lol) That is such a great wall!

  • Ashley

    These are great tips, girl! Heading somewhere in a few weeks and going to look up restaurants and prices ahead of time!

    xo Ashley

  • Kait

    Making a master list can be so helpful in the long run! I know it helps to keep me better organized. My husband and I like to pack only one suitcase and share so checking the weather is always SUPER important. These are great tips 🙂

  • Elana

    These are such great tips! I love the idea of asking people on social media!

  • I agree with making the master list. I probably make 5 or 6 of those leading up to the trip! I went out west last summer and that was honestly the first time I hadn’t planned a SINGLE detail. At first, I was SO stressed, but it was actually pretty fun!

    http://thealwaysblog.com

  • I’m heading to Chicago and then Charleston 2 different times .. I am for sure pinning this post for reference!

    -Morgan
    How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.com

  • Chronicling Home

    Fabulous tips! I love to travel and this always helps!

    Nicole // Chronicling Home

  • These are great tips!!! I like the idea of asking for recommendations on social media!

  • Amy

    You seriously post the best and most helpful posts! Definitly taking notes for next trip (hopefully soon) planning!! (:
    xoxo
    Amy | Pastel N Pink

  • Great tips! I’m planning two trips currently for later in the summer so I could relate to a lot of this!

    xoxo A
    http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

  • Great tips! I think it’s so important to check the weather. I was in D.C. this past weekend and it was cold. I wasn’t prepared!

    LiveLifeWell,
    Allison

  • Great tips! We recently were in San Francisco for a very quick trip and instead of planning it to the minute, we just went with the flow and were still able to see quite a bit!

  • I love all of these tips! I’ve really gotten away from making detailed itineraries in the last year or so. Have a master plan of everything you want to do/ see if always so much better! I hope you and Rachel have a blast when she comes to visit!