Have you ever started to plan your next vacation and not known where to start? A few friends have asked me how we go about planning our vacations or time away. There’s always bucket lists that a lot of people have or just a plain list of places they would love to visit one day. For us, it’s not really a bucket list, I think our “bucket list” has gotten less and less ambitious as the years go by. As of now our travel list contains mostly the plan of traveling within the U.S. We have gotten the opportunity to visit a few european countries in the past, like Monaco, Switzerland, Spain (Several times) Florence, Rome, The leaning tower of Pisa, Mykonos, Greece, and other places, but we knew there just HAD to be more to the U.S than we know. Granted, we live in Northern, California which has SOO much to see and explore (and we have!) but after visiting Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC last year, we were left with this BIG desire to visit other U.S. States as well.
Our travel destinations I think have mostly ended up being based on friends who we have met or just places we have wanted to visit. Last year we hosted a couple of friends visiting from Montreal, Canada and we enjoyed hanging out with them so much, that we just HAD to make it a plan to FINALLY travel to Canada 🙂 So that brings me to point one as to how do we decide where to go. We meet friends, we host friends and then we visit friends, easy right? haha. The other way we decide on where to go is on the amount of time we have. For Europe travel we must have at least 8 full days, or else it just doesn’t make it worth the expense for us. Sadly, travel within the U.S is not as cheap as when you travel within Europe, but it can still be attainable at a decent airfare cost if booked with time and during off season. Here is what I normally do when planning vacations.
I just recently condensed my packing even more. I now keep the same toiletry bag with the essentials (maybe later I can share more of what I take with me) I have the SAME toiletry bag regardless of the amount of days we are away on vacation. As of now, I am still in search of the “perfect” carry-on 🙂
When we travel;
We always travel April/May or Sep/October. We have found these seasons to be the cheapest for us and weather pretty similar in many places.
For tracking or checking airfare we are NOT fans of long lay-overs, even of this means spending a little more on airfare. Some might not care about long lay-overs or changing planes a ton of times, but we do. We like to be as rested as possible when we arrive to our destination. I may use Expedia.com or Google ONLY to check flight cost and for comparing purposes, but I never purchase tickets through third party companies. I go straight to the airline.
Where to stay;
Depending on where we go, we may have friends that host us, but it really depends. We like spending time with the friends, but we also enjoy exploring on our own, so a balance between the two is always nice. I usually go to TripAdvisor, Airbnb or Booking.com. I’ve always managed to get decent prices and comfortable places to stay in.
What to do;
This is where I have the most fun. Planning what to do, most of the time involves Pinterest and TripAdvisor. You can find a lot of practical advise and great suggestions from other travelers, AND of course, Yelp! we are BIG Yelp fans #neverleavehomewithoutit! 🙂 As for planning what to do, we MUST have flexibility and we don’t plan EVERY.LITTLE.THING. to do. We like to explore and wander. There’s always something so nice about being surprised or finding something we like unexpectadly or completely on our own.
So, in a nutshell this is how our vacation planning goes! I would LOVE to hear how you go about planning your own or any links/suggestions you have or that we might find helpful.
U.S. Travel Bucket-list
- Nashville, TN
- Chicago, Ill
- New Orleans, LA
- Washington, DC
If you recommend another state, please tell me where and why 😀