When it comes to planning a trip, many people feel overwhelmed. There are so many things to do and choices to make it’s hard to know where to start. Many people resort to a travel agent or purchase pre-planned travel packages, but those have extra fees associated and may not be custom to your wants and needs. I’m going to walk you through how to plan a trip so you can save money, customize your perfect trip and take your vacation into your own hands!

I know the planning process can be daunting, but don’t worry, I’m here to help! This blog post will show you how to plan a trip and break it into three simple steps: flights, hotel(s), and itinerary. I recommend splitting these steps into different planning sessions to avoid getting overwhelmed. And remember to only focus on one step at a time. So grab your laptop and a glass of wine, and let’s get to planning your dream trip!


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Step 1: Book Your Flights

This is the most important part of your trip. First, you need to have a general idea of your dates and how long you want to be gone. And if you visit more than one destination on your trip, you need to calculate how many flights you need. Once you know your dates and how many flights, you can research different flights and airlines for prices. Book all of your flights- round trip and if you are going between destinations.

Nowadays, there are so many deals out there that it’s hard not to find one that fits your budget and travel needs. There are a few different ways to search for flights (I will write a more detailed post soon on getting the best flight deals), but the easiest way to start is to use Google Flights. Just put in your departure city and your destination and it will give you a list of different airlines and prices for you to compare. Choose the amount of time you want to be gone (I always choose +/- three days), so the dates are flexible, so if there is just one day that’s a little more expensive, try moving your dates +/- one to two days. This is especially beneficial if your travel dates are flexible!

Step 2: Book Your Hotel(s)

This step takes time and research, but I love how many options are available, from budget to luxury. Since you have already booked your flights, look at the dates and how long you will be visiting each city or place and book accordingly.

Hotels.com or Booking.com are both great for searching for hotels (I use them all the time!) You can see how much it will cost you to stay in your desired location and how many stars the hotel has. I also recommend TripAdvisor to look at reviews of hotels and places to stay. You can read other people’s experiences, view pictures, and check out how close or far away the hotel is from attractions and things to do.

Don’t forget to check out Airbnb, which you can often find at a great price. Plus, if you book a “place to yourself,” you will likely have a kitchen/cooking area, refrigerator, laundry, and other amenities, as well as a host that you can ask questions and usually more than happy to give you local suggestions. Again, you can read all the reviews and approximate locations, and nearest attractions. Airbnb’s are always my favorite stays!

Last but not least hostels can also be a great budget option, especially if you are a solo traveler. Hostels are significantly cheaper than most hotels you will find and a great way to meet other travelers! I think that hostels are highly under utlized in the US. The best place to find hostels is Hostel World.

Step 3: Plan Your Itinerary

This is the step that I have the most fun with! Once you have booked your flights and hotels, then it’s time to start planning how you’re going to spend each day of your trip! There are so many online resources and blogs (like me!) for making a great travel itinerary (and I plan to write a future blog post with more details on planning the perfect itinerary!) Also, Pinterest has some fantastic ideas for how to plan a trip. I also really like using TripAdvisor for this step because, on their website, you can search for different things that you want to do in each city, and it gives you reviews and pictures! You also have the option of booking right then and there if they offer your desired activity or attraction.

I hope these tips help you reduce your anxiety and plan your perfect trip! I really emphasize breaking each step up to help prevent overwhelm! If you need any more help or have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me by email on my contact page, or the best way is to DM me on Instagram! I always love hearing from my readers!

Happy trip planning! 🙂

Destinations to Explore!

A weekend in Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach
New Orleans
Mirror Lake - Yosemite

More Travel Tips

  • Best Tips for Packing Just a Carry-On (coming soon!)
  • How to Take Incredible Travel Photos with Your iPhone (coming soon!)