view of white airplane wing over the clouds

How-To: Plan a Vacation

I’ve been told that my planning skills are extraordinary! In a team meeting a couple of months ago, I shared my personal color-coded Google calendar, my sticker-filled, colorful, Happy Planner, & my personal Evernote notebooks for work, travel. Today, I’m going to share with you how-to: plan a vacation process, using my favorite planning tool, Evernote.

Choose a Destination & Research

Choosing my destination is usually the first step. I personally have a list of destinations on my phone that I use as a quick reference. I take into account the time of the year that I want to travel, the time it would take to reach my destination, as well as how much time I have to take off. For international travel, I like to have at least 10 days. When camping, glamping, taking road trips, or traveling to the Midwest or East Coast, I like to have a long, 3 or 4-Day weekend. And a short weekend is usually enough for vacations on the West Coast, since I live in California.

Once I choose my destination, I do my research, & I mean I do thorough research! I also look up everything I need to know, creating lists of must-dos, must-sees, & must-eats. I decide on the best days to travel & for how long to optimize everything I want to do. Lastly, I start budgeting & brainstorming how to save money during the planning process as well as set aside spending money during my adventures.

Add My Findings to a Travel Itinerary

Depending on how many days I have to travel, I create a flexible itinerary to outline my plans for my trip. I list my travel dates, flight info, & even the weather forecast to determine how to pack. I decide what I want to do & eat each day, but leave room for flexibility just in case the weather changes or we come across planning issues. Here’s an example template from my vacation in San Diego, California last Fall.

Finalize a Packing List

My last step is creating my packing list. In the example template above, I have a full Packing Checklist. Listing everything I can possibly need as well as choose specific outfits for certain days allows me to avoid forgetting anything & over-packing. I also created a travel essentials blog post a few weeks ago that has some of my favorite things to always ensure I travel with.

I hope sharing my how-to: plan a vacation process helps you plan your next vacation! Do you have any other tips & tricks that you’d like to share with me? Please do share them in a comment below.

XO Denise

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