We are fortunate though to have some pretty cool towns to visit in Texas and even more fortunate to have great friends and family who let us stay at their places for vacays. This summer, we are planning to go to St. Louis to visit my aunts, uncles, and cousins, so we'll rely on their expertise of the city for most of our trip plans. (And please share your expertise too- it's been years since I was in STL, so throw all of your suggestions my way please!)
If we were going to a city where we were not staying with friends and family, then this is how I would usually prep for our trip:
1) Ask friends and family
Facebook, Instagram, and the blog are a great starting point when planning a trip to a new town. People that you're "friends" with but haven't actually spoken to in years sometimes come out of the woodwork with tips because they've been there, lived there, etc. I like to start planning a vacation around the activities first. Once we've figured out where we want to go, picking a hotel and restaurants is a lot easier.
2) Use Trip Advisor
When I've narrowed down what attractions we want to visit based on recommendations and research, I hop onto Trip Advisor and start searching for hotels. I don't book through them because I can usually get a better rate by calling, but I like to read the reviews since I'm a hotel snob with champagne taste but a reusable water tumbler budget! I also like Trip Advisor for the restaurant recommendations.
3) Yelp those restaurants
As a back-up to Trip Advisor, I like to go onto Yelp to make sure that our restaurant choices are really places we're going to enjoy. Nobody wants to go on vacation and eat crummy food!
4) Outline to pack
I'm not a dictator about being anywhere on vacation at a certain time, but I do like to have a rough outline of what we're doing each day so that I can make a list for each kid and myself of clothing that is needed. Once I make the lists, I go through closets and try to pick versatile pieces to limit the heftiness of our luggage, and I most definitely try to pack as few pairs of shoes as possible since they take up so much space. No, I don't mean wear your sneakers out to dinner, but limit your sandals to one pair that will go with every dinner outfit!
5) Pack snacks for the hotel
Kids (and adults!) get whiny and tired when they're not on their regular schedules. Build in some down time at your hotel between activities so everyone can refuel and re-energize. Having a bag of snacks on hand will save you money (Hotel snack prices are crazy!) and it'll save you some sanity when your kids are complaining that they're hungry and you still have 2 hours 'til your dinner reservation!
What are some of YOUR tips for planning a vacation? Share in the comments below, and take note that our Ladies Who Link party in July will focus on travel tips and vacation recommendations! I can't wait to hear where you all have been and where I need to go! Join us next week to share how you're kicking off summer and/or celebrating Memorial Day!
To read my previous Workin' It Wednesday posts:
I'll be back tomorrow with a new recipe for Try It Thursday! Make sure you link-up with me to share your favorite recipe of the week! See you soon!