Ready for your upcoming vacation?  I know I’m ready for ours!!!

Do you plan your vacation down to the specific details?  Or just wing it?

Through our years of traveling, I’ve done both, and I’ve discovered that the most successful trips are in-between the extremes.  Too much planning and you’re setting yourself up for disappointment when something doesn’t go exactly as planned (which WILL happen).  Too little planning and you waste time trying to figure out what to do – and who wants to waste vacation time?  Not me.

Here are my top 5 tips for planning the perfect summer trip:

  1. Research.  Spend a few minutes Googling the locations you are visiting.  Then request visitor’s guides a few weeks before you leave.  This gives you a good start on understanding your options.
  2. Involve everyone.  Once the guides arrive, ask each family member to pick at least one thing they definitely want to do on vacation.  Not only is it a good starting point for planning, it also ensures everyone is invested and excited about the upcoming trip.
  3. Look at the trip dates.  Once you have a simple list of things to do (from #1 and #2) take a look at when you will be there.  If it’s a Sunday or Monday, make sure shops are open if you plan on checking out a small town.  Look for museum or other attraction hours.  Think about what would fit best on each day – this doesn’t have to be set in stone, but it’s nice to know “on Thursday we’ll probably go to the amusement park.”  Consider leaving a day or so free to hang out at the resort.
  4. Have a list of alternative ideas.  That way if something doesn’t work out, or you’re not in the mood for the plan for the day you have something to fall back on – saves tons of time scrambling the day of.
  5. Think about the journey.  If you are driving, look for fun stops along the way.  Instead of stopping for fast-food, how about touring a dairy factory?  Or check out the world’s largest windchime?  These stops are memorable and help you feel like vacation starts before you even arrive at your destination.

If you don’t get to everything, be okay with it.  Something interesting comes along, no reason why you can’t check it out!  However, having a loose plan like this, and a feel for what is available where you are going ensures you won’t waste time each morning researching things to do.

How do you plan vacations?  To the minute?  Or fly by the seat of your pants?  Any more suggestions?  I’d love to hear them in the comments!

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