Top 5 Trip-Planning Tips

I have planned two incredible trips in the past six months. One to New Zealand for 13 days (posts Coming Soon!) and one to Spain & Portugal for 10 days for a family friend. I started planning trips when I was studying abroad and I have since advanced in learning what works (and doesn’t work) when planning a trip. A lot of my family and friends always question how I know what to do and how overwhelmed they would be if they had to plan a trip. Now, I can’t give away all my secrets but let me give you a few tips to get you started.

  1. Know the general time frame you want to travel. The more flexibility you have, the more options that you will be presented with. If you have strict travel dates then you may be limited but it will take a lot of guess work out of your whereabouts.
  2. Determine your budget. You may have all these tours and activities you may want to complete but you need to make sure you are not going to break the bank. Once you have a budget, STICK TO IT. You do not want to find yourself in tons of debt when you get back. With this being said, keep an open mind because you do not want to give up something you were really looking forward to because you went $20 over. Track ever dollar you spend.
  3. Book your flights first. A lot people think this is obvious but you wouldn’t believe the number of people that book their hotels first. Once you book your flights, you know the dates of travel and can plan anything and everything from there. If you book something else first, you are confining yourself to that date, in that specific place. I recommend watching travel deal websites for flight deals (which will also help with your budget).
  4. Use Pinterest and travel blogs to research where you are traveling. You will get firsthand accounts of people who already traveled to this region or locals who may have some insider tips. The big travel tip companies are great but those tend to lead you towards the most touristy things possible. Thousands of people are reading the same thing which means you are not the only one to have this “idea”. Obviously visiting the major landmarks is part of a trip but you can still get into a local mindset and find hidden gems by avoiding these sites. Make a Pinterest board for each trip to keep everything in one place and allow you go back if you need to for more information.
  5. Plan the bare bones of your itinerary before booking hotels and activities. Make sure you are seeing the most important things before allocating your time to the next stop on your trip. You do not want to travel to a specific city or country and not see the one thing you went there for in the first place all due to bad planning (or lack of).

This is just a start to all the tips that go along with planning a trip. It can be as easy or as hard as you make it. Your trip can be as planned out or as bare boned as you make it. Traveling is a passion, a way of life. Everyone has a different way of preparing for a trip but knowing the steps to make the most of your time is extremely important.

Booking your next trip and still need help? Contact me here and I will be happy to assist. I can plan an entire tour start to finish or fill in the blanks and make sure nothing was missed.

A Day Trip to Portland, Maine

This past weekend I had the opportunity to take my first trip to Porland, Maine! You would think living only 2 hours away I would have made this trip long ago…wrong. 

Let me start by saying this: I can’t wait to go back. Being March, while it was the first day of Spring, it was cold. However, with the short amount of time I spent in the city (even with the colder temperatures), I fell in love with the capital of the Pine Tree State. 

Portland is that city you escape to. It’s cute, small, young…kinda perfect. I left Boston later than I wanted to (12pm to be exact) but I still got the taste of Portland I needed to write this post. 

There are 3 things you must do in Portland:

1. Eat a potato donut. I recommend going to Holy Donut on Park Ave as the donuts I had from there are delicious but they also are famous! Read this article by CNN Eatocracy: http://theholydonut.com/maine-residents-manic-for-potato-donuts/ and I promise the drooling will start.  If you love sweet and salty, the dark chocolate sea salt would be the perfect choice.

 Photo Credit: StarChefs 

2. Visit Portland Head Light Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth. This is pretty much a given considering it’s the most photographed lighthouse in the nation. They have a cliff walk so you can really get some great photographs and also get a little bit of exercise.

Fun Fact: I’m a NY Giants fan!
  
This is where most famous photographs of the lighthouse are taken
       

3. Walk around downtown Portland. You can find tons of small family-owned shops and boutiques. You can go cheese tasting at Cabot or grab a cup of coffee, hot chocolate, tea, a cappuccino, (you name it!) at Bard Coffee. I had a cappuccino and it was delicious!     

    Keep in mind I was super limited with my time in Portland but if you just want to roam around, this is the place to do it. I will be visiting again in the summer and can give you more ideas and tips on what to do when the weather is warmer! 

    Before I bring my first travel post to an end, let me make a couple more recommendations. 

    1. Find a way to fit The Green Elephant Restaurant into your time in Portland. It is a vegetarian restaurant and it was AMAZING. I’m not vegetarian, in fact I love meat but this place was incredible. I don’t like brusel sprouts but theirs were so delicious. For my main course I had the local mushroom bowl and I would eat this everyday. So many amazing flavors.

    Brusel Sprouts!
      
    Local Mushroom Bowl
     

    2. See a show/concert at the State Theatre. It’s an old fashioned venue with tons of character and an awesome atmosphere. Not to mention for being a venue that old; their light and sound technologies are really advanced. I went to see Mayday Parade and The Maine with some friends and had a blast.  

    The Maine…in Maine!
     

    3. Portland has a ton of breweries so if you are into beer, do some brewery-hoppying (pun intended)! 

    Short and sweet but this makes the perfect day trip in Portland. Great food. Great Beer. Great Shopping. Great Times.

    Xoxo,

    Amy

    I Finally Did It!

    Hello Everyone!

    I finally started a travel blog that will encompass all things travel-related. My posts will range from day trips in New England (where I currently live) to international trips all over the world.

    My goal is to share all my new adventures with all of you in hopes that I can inspire some of you to travel OR if you are like me and already have the travel bug, give you some insight to help you on your own journeys.

    But wait! There is more!

    I love planning my adventures from start to finish. I rarely rely on a tour operator to arrange everything for me as I like to make sure I am utilizing my time with things that I would like to do. I will be available to help you, your friends, your family  (or even a complete stranger) arrange your next adventure that will encompass everything that you want to do based on YOUR budget and YOUR vacation time.

    This blog has been a dream of mine for quite some time and now is as good a time as any to start!

    Stay tuned, my first post will be about my day trip to Porland, Maine this past weekend. I will also be incorporating some of my posts from studying abroad to give you some insight to a few countries in Europe.

    xoxo,

    Amy