I promise this is the final stage of planning, as I know I have dragged this out over three different blog posts at this point. Hopefully you have been enjoying the process so far.
Now that you have figured out what you want to do and where you would like to eat, it’s time to finish the puzzle by deciding where to stay. For this trip, I will turn to VRBO as we are going to want some space and to get a good feel for the area.
I start with a quick search, based on when we want to stay along with some basics on number of bedrooms and budget range for the trip. From there I will switch to the map view so I can compare where the rentals are located to the various “pins” on my travel map as ideally we want to at least be close to some of the the areas we want to explore, and of course be close to some of the amazing places we want to eat.
This step can definitely take some time, as you need to look at each property to find the ones that match what you are looking for and then compare their location to the “plan” map. However, it is also generally a lot of fun, as you get to see some amazing properties and you get to figure out what are the specific features that mean the most to you for the specific trip. In this case, I’m torn between some great places that are near the beach and then some good looking properties that are closer to some of the colleges and places we want to visit.
At this point I have not made a final decision yet, as this year we will be waiting a bit before finalizing this trip due to the uncertainty in timing of when travel will make sense again. However, I did highlight eight places that are on the final list that we will then have discussions and some rounds of “voting” to eventually decide on the place to stay. I can almost guarantee it will be one of the places by the beach, as that always seems to be our choice at the end of the day.
From this point up until the week we leave for the trip I will continue to tinker with the map, adding more things to see and definitely more places to eat. Vacation planning is certainly something I enjoy doing, so whenever I have some spare time I will continue to do more research. At any given time I can have three to five of these maps under construction as I like to plan at least a few months out. This year, as we look to catch up from not really traveling in 2002 and adding in college tours, it’s more likely I will have seven to ten of these plans in various stages of preparation. Like I said, I love the planning process, and am always happy to lend a hand to friends and family when they ask.
So that’s my system, it’s certainly not complicated, but hopefully you found some useful tidbits that will help you as you plan your future travels. Feel free to send me a note if you have specific questions, or if you are looking for recommendations in any city that I have a “map” for.