Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Planning a Trip (When You're a Nutjob)

My love of lists is not something I have kept a secret here, so it should come as no surprise that preparing for a vacation is an incredibly obsessive task for me. Lists of restaurants, lists of sights to see, lists for packing, and lists for the house/cat sitter. The collecting of information is an integral part of a vacation for me. Some resources have been particularly helpful to me in getting ready for the trips we've taken.

  • Live Search Maps-I like to use this to create a personalized map of locations I want to remember. I find this most helpful for mapping out restaurants we'd like to try. It makes it easy to know what food we'll be close to when visiting certain attractions or parts of town.
  • Trip Advisor- Trip Advisor is great for hotel, restaurant and sightseeing ideas, and you can create trip profiles to save all the great info you find. Travelers post reviews and share photos from their trips, which can help you decide if that hotel's claims really are too good to be true.
  • Local online publications- In the case of our upcoming trip it's theWashingtonian. Local newspapers aren't written expressly for tourists, which is why they can really help you get a feel for where you are visiting. You can get restaurant reviews and the skinny on events that might be occurring while you'll be in town. But some do have tips expressly for visitor's, like the Washingtonian's Visitor's Guide. For our Santa Fe trip I utilized the local alternative publication, the Santa Fe Reporter.
  • National Park Services- Not just for Yosemite or Yellowstone. Although it did help us plan our outdoor excursions in New Mexico, it also helped us plan our visits to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island for our NYC trip. I think it's always worth a visit to see if there is anything amazing you might have overlooked.
Once I have a list of the stuff we want to do, and a general idea of maybe what day or at least what order we'll do it in I move on to the packing. Checking the weather is always a good idea, and I use the Weather Channel to see the averages and, once we're close enough, the 10-day forecast. Then I get really insane and plan not only what I will pack, but my outfits for every day. That way I know I am packing just what I need, and can get dressed and out the hotel quickly to start our adventures. Could there be anything more obsessive? Hmm, maybe a post with a list about ow I put together my lists, ha. Anyway, this is how I go about planning our trips. I try to be careful to not over-plan our actual time at our destination though. It is a vacation after all!

Photo from Real Simple


satori101 said...

As if you needed anything else to contribute to your information overload, but you should also check out Yelp.com. The Washington D.C. subsite is really active.

Miss C said...

I followed you here from Emily Style. Am bookmarking and will be back! I'm also an obsessive list maker, and I plan to follow most of this advice. The whole deciding what you're going to wear ahead of time by day before going on a trip idea is excellent and will save me my usual annoyance at having a suitcase full of clothes I don't want to wear. I'm going to DC/ Annapolis in two weeks, please post anything you'd recommend from your trip, esp. restaurants. :-)