My Thought Process on Planning a Trip
So I go to some seemingly random places, but I promise there’s a process behind it all. As much as I’d like to say I am a spontaneous, free-spirited person, I am not. I am a huge planner, so this is how I decide where to “randomly” go.
- I look at a flight map for United (or other airlines) and pick out my top destinations based on:
- Time it takes to fly there
- How many flights it takes to get there (preferably one)
- Weather it will be
- Likelihood of being stuck in the airport due to bad weather
- what the city has to offer
- how many nights I will want to stay in the city
- Once I have made a list of destinations, I look at flight availability if I plan on trying to fly standby, or I look at flight prices if I plan on buying a ticket. This will determine my destination. I try not to get too dead-set on one certain place because it might end up being very expensive. I tend to let price determine where I will travel (from my list of desired destinations). Every place tends to have an off-season travel time in which it will be less crowded and more affordable to travel to.
- After determining where I will be going, I look up things to do.
-I use Travelocity, trip advisor, local recommendations if I know someone there, or blog post recommendations. Honestly, Google is super helpful in determining things to do. I try not to find things to do that only cost money because I don’t want to spend tons of money on a few days. I like to get a mixture of outdoors activities and attractions, shopping, restaurants, and local attractions. Most of the time, just walking around the main portion of the city provides lots of free entertainment. I also feel like this allows me to truly take in the destination versus just taking a car to a few highlight touristy spots.
- Then hotel based off of where I want to go and what I want to see:
-I try to find either a hotel or a VRBO close by to the attractions I want to visit during my stay. For example, when I went to Charleston I stayed right on the edge of downtown. It was not as expensive as a hotel right on the waterfront, but it was still close enough to walk there after catching an Uber to the place. Or, if I have an early flight out or a late flight in, I will try to find a hotel nearby to the airport to minimize transportation time at odd hours.
-If I am going to be somewhere that is not largely a walking city, I look into the methods of transportation. Do they have a reliable bus or subway system? How much will it cost? How much would an Uber cost from the airport to my lodging? Since I am currently under the age of 25, getting a rental car is almost always more expensive but this might change in a year.
I’ll have a list at the ready of cities I want to go to, along with details like transportation, possible lodging accommodations, and things that I would like to do. With almost every trip I’ve done, especially when solo, I see what I want to see much quicker than I expect. One of my favorite things to do is just walk. As always, make sure to know where you’re going, be aware of your surroundings (not absorbed in your phone), and snap pictures quickly.
Traveling to seemingly random places has been such a great adventure thus far. Getting to semi-plan covers the Type A in me, while determining whether I’ll make it onto a flight a mere three hours prior forces me to be more flexible. Maybe some day somebody will buy a plane ticket to me and I’ll find out where I’m going when I show up at the airport. For today though, I’ll keep planning.