I take vacation planning VERY seriously. Mostly because when I arrive at my destination I want to make sure I am enjoying every minute. Who wants to deal with scrambling trying to get those last minute tickets, finding a place to eat or worrying you may miss out on something! I usually plan one day at a time with a full itinerary with times and exactly how long it will take to get to each location. I also incorporate restaurant reservations and a backup list of places we can go incase something doesn’t work out. Now I know this is a little excessive, but I’ve got that type A personality and am always planning life out. So lets make it a little simpler and I’ll give you the 6 apps I am always using and what I am using them for. This will help you more than you can imagine!
1st - Hotel App
If you travel often its important to have a hotel chain you like, even if you venture out from time to time. Staying more frequently with one hotel company will help you gain points for free stays, get room upgrades and occasionally extra benefits like dinner, drinks, and welcome amenities. I currently am a IHG user, primarily because I have been obsessed with Kimpton Hotels ever since me and the hubby stayed at one in Washington D.C. over 6 years ago. They went above and beyond for us and each hotel is so uniquely designed. There are many hotels to choose from, so I would pick the one you’ve had the best experience with and try and stick with it. You will benefit from this the most. Using your hotels app will help you find all the local hotels along with the amenities you want, pricing, location and much more!
2 - Pinterest
This is probably a no brainer! Let me tell you how I use it though, to give you an added boost! I search the location I am going( lets say Chicago for the time being). I will search traveling to Chicago and scroll through the hundreds of blog posts that are telling me all the great places to see, eat, and stay. I will start compiling a list of the places they each say are their favorites. As I go through each post you will start to see doubles, this is when I add stars on my little list next to each place that comes up. One star for each time I see it. Now you start to see trends of the most popular places and what are the must sees while you visit!
3 - Yelp
Next, I head over to Yelp. Here I will go from the top places to eat and see what lines up with A the places that all my Pinterest peeps are saying to go and B the locations near where I am sightseeing. I may read a review or two but I wont waste too much time on it. Someone will always have a bad experience, no matter the place, and if there are too many bad ones they will be near the end of Yelps list of hundreds of restaurants and I probably wont get that far anyway.
4 - Trip Advisor
Now I check Trip Advisor to cross reference my hotel choices, sightseeing places, and restaurants one more time. They will also have some articles you can read from local magazines, news papers and big travel companies.
5 - Instagram
Now that you have a huge list of restaurants and sightseeing activities along with hotel choices likely picked out, hit the Gram running (Pun totally intended). This is when I go through and really search the vibe of the place like looking at photos of the food along with upcoming events that may be coming up while I’m in town. I of course see if it will be a dressy location or if were okay to go to dinner dressed in the same clothes we just toured the whole town with. Also as a blogger I use this to see if I can find some great photo ops ;)!
6 - Maps
The last apps I use in my planning are MapQuest or Google Maps. I use these apps to look at the locations of where the restaurants, museums, event centers and everything else I am going to see is actually located. This helps me plan the restaurants I want to go to according to when we are in the area. One thing you never have enough of on vacation is time, so its always best to plan things geographically together, especially if its a really big city. You don’t want to see a museum uptown, head to lunch downtown, and then the next thing your seeing is back uptown. Planning one day all in the same location and the next day in the other helps save time so you can do more of what you love, seeing the beautiful places you are traveling.
I hope this list of tips of how I plan my travels helps you. My husband and I love to travel so much, and honestly planning before we go is one of my favorite parts. I love food, probably too much, so I always want to make sure we are having the most amazing dishes when we travel. I also try to see as much as we possibly can because who knows if we will ever go back. Let me know if you use these Apps the next time you plan a trip. As always I love to hear from you and get your feedback and ideas.
Much Love and Happy Travels,
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