How to make the most out of your vacation

I'm doing a lot of traveling over the next few months, so I thought it would be fun to share my strategy for planning a trip. I like to avoid the chaos of trying to figure out a new city while I'm there and kind of in a rush, so looking at a few things ahead of time really helps me enjoy my time!

1. Location, Location
Since I'm usually traveling for business, I always start by figuring out where most of my meetings or events are, to know what part of town I'm going to be in a lot. It's not ideal to have to commute all over the city, especially if you're not familiar with where things are, so I try to keep that to a minimum.

2. Where To Stay
Based on that, I find a hotel or an AirBnb that gets good reviews. I usually prefer hotels, but lately I've been seeing a lot of really cute AirBnb's where you can actually rent out the whole place with friends for a great deal! Yelp usually has pretty reliable reviews, but I also like to check on Instagram under "Places" or location tags. If people are posting pictures of it, you know it'll be a cute choice!

3. Photo Ops
My next priority is finding the best photo ops. There are so many ways to find great photo inspiration for your trip, but my go-to's are Instagram and Pinterest. I typically start with a quick search on Pinterest, because those photos are going to be the ones that are circulating the web because a lot of people have liked them. Once I find a photo I like, a lot of times it will link to someone's Instagram where there's a whole bunch of photos from their trip and a ton of great inspo! You can also look at the "suggestions for you" under the follow button to find more bloggers with similar photos. To save the photos, I like to use the Bookmark feature on Instagram if I'm doing a quick browse, but then I put screenshots of everything in a photo album on my phone so that it's organized and easy to look through while I'm on the go. Last tip – as a last resort, I'll check out a few reliable online resources to see if they have a City Guide. My favorites are Cereal Mag and Trotter Mag.

plan a great trip

4. Great Food

I usually come across a few food places I definitely want to try when I'm browsing for photo ops, but food tends to be much more of a personal preference. I usually try to ask around on social media (or in real life) to find out what my friends have tried if I know anyone who has been there, or I look for food/travel blogs that have done reviews on restaurants. Google/Yelp are also perfect for reviews and figuring out price range.

Coffee Shop

5. Coffee

Let's be honest, I would not make it through any full trip without lots of coffee, so it's pretty important that I know where the good coffee shops are! Have you guys heard of the app, "Coffee by Trotter?" It has totally saved my life when it comes to finding good coffee. I think it's a couple of dollars through the app store, but it shows you where nearby coffee shops using your location, tells you how far away they are/how long it will take you to walk or drive there, and it also shows you photos from the top Instagrams taken in that location – so cool! I feel like this one is a must have if you're a coffee drinker and you like something more interesting than the local Starbucks.

6. Budget
Ok, this is so not the fun part, but it really helps to budget ahead of time! I always feel better if I have a certain amount of money set aside for my trip so that I don't have to worry about it while I'm away. Traveling can get really expensive since you're typically eating out a lot and spending on once-in-a-life-time opportunities that you can't do from home. But worry about what you're spending while you're on vacation can totally ruin the fun. It feels so good when you know you've already saved for it and you can relax!

I think I do everything else on the go for the most part! Do you guys have any travel strategies or specific ways you plan? I'd love to hear them!

The post HOW TO PLAN A GREAT TRIP appeared first on Take Aim.

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