Planning Ahead To Make Your Trip More Enjoyable
I’m the kind of person who plans ahead. It’s a work in progress for me to be more spontaneous. In order for me to relax and enjoy myself, I need to know all the details. The way I see it is that I am spending my time and money to go on this trip so I want to be sure I get the most out of it.
Book Your Flight First
The first thing I always do is book my flight which is almost always done through Google Flights. That helps me establish the timeline of my trip. It might change depending on if I can get a better flight deal going on different days than originally anticipated, so that’s why it is always the first step for me.
Start a Trip Itinerary Using Google Docs
Once you have your timeline established, start a new document for your trip on Google Docs. If you are traveling with other people then you can share the document with them so they can add information as well. I’ll start by adding the flight information and overall timeline of my trip. At the end of my trip planning I will have a nice, full itinerary with all the information I need. Yay!
Utilize Google Maps To Help Plan
Obviously I use Google for pretty much all my planning because it is such a great resource! There are a few different ways you can use Google Maps to help plan your trip. Most of the time I like to travel around where I’m flying into/out of so I will search on the map and see what is reasonable for me to see. For example, Kyle and I will be going to California in October. We are flying into San Francisco. Napa Valley is not that far away (just north of San Francisco) but I also really want to go to Yosemite (about 4 hours away). I’ll make a somewhat jumbled outline for what I want to see and put in the planning itinerary until I can straighten out the details.
If you are staying in the same area for your trip then you can use Google Maps to help you find a hotel near where you’ll need to be. You’ll obviously need to book more hotels and do more research if you’re traveling to a few different locations but Google Maps can help you with that hotel planning as well.
If you are booking a trip then I’m sure there is already one major attraction or event to add to your itinerary. That’ll the be easiest thing to start off adding to your itinerary. You might not be sure of what else there is to do where you are going. I like to find inspiration from TripAdvisor, Pinterest, word of mouth, travel shows, and YouTube travel guides. Then I’ll make a list of possible things to see and do and research them. Some places offer free or discounted ticket prices on certain days. It’s also good to see what days of the week they are open as well. (Museums can have weird hours.)
Fill In The Details
Now that you’ve found everything you want to see you can start adding in the details. Utilizing Google Maps and the information you’ve gathered about potential attractions will help you see as much as possible and save money. If you purchase a ticket then you can add the date in time to your itinerary AND upload the ticket to Google Drive to have just in case. (A lot of places can just scan them from your phone now.) I like to structure a couple of things to definitely see per day and leave time open to explore.
Be Open To Things NOT Going As Planned
Shit happens. It’s to be expected that something might go wrong while traveling. Flights are delayed all the time, weather may cause an event to be cancelled, you may have planned poorly and end up sleeping in an airport one night… you name it. BUT being open to trying something you didn’t plan can be an awesome experience. Two years ago I happened to visit Amsterdam at the PERFECT time to see all the tulips bloom. I had no idea. So, we took a day trip out to see them and it was definitely a highlight of my time there.
Yay! I hope this helps you plan your next trip. I LOVE having all of my information for my trip in Google Drive. You can store your trip itinerary, hotel booking confirmation, flight tickets, attraction tickets, and any other important trip information all in one place. That way in case you misplace your printed copy you will have it all on your phone. If you misplace your phone then I guess you’ll just be out of luck.