We have just entered the month of May and many kids may be bustling around with excitement as the school year draws to a close. Summer is usually the time when families take off somewhere for a relaxing vacation.
You might have already started planning for your vacation. I’m already getting ideas for a vacation that is months away. I love traveling and wanted to give you some tips that helped me on a recent vacation.
My most recent vacation was to Ireland with a friend from college. Almost all my past vacations, my parents have been with me. So they did all the planning, while I just got to go along for the fun.
Since it was just a friend and me for this past vacation, I knew I would be doing a lot of planning. Almost every spare minute I had, I was searching places to visit, restaurants to eat, how to get from point A to point B.
When we are super excited about a trip, the planning part will be fun, it might be overwhelming, but it will be fun – I promise!
If planning does sound daunting, here are a few tips that helped us with planning our trip to Ireland:
- Google Maps – this was a lifesaver (ok, not an actual life saver, that might be a bit dramatic) Since we knew where we were staying for every night of the trip, we went to Google Maps and put where we would be traveling from (point A) to where we would be going to (point B). If I knew we would be stopping at a castle or other attraction, I would put that stop in between point A & B. So, point B really could end up becoming point D or E depending on how many sites we had planned for the day. Google Maps states exactly where to go. There are many roundabouts in Ireland, with Google Maps, it told us which exit to take, which was super helpful, since there were several of those every day. I also purchased a road map of Ireland. Sometimes, a map might not always be up to date, so I wanted to have another map on hand if this happened. Thankfully, Google Maps came through and helped us make our way around Ireland with no trouble at all.
- Itinerary – Anyone can put together an itinerary, but I don’t think the itinerary is ever followed to the exact moment. Life happens and we may not end up having lunch at the cute café we put on the itinerary. I did put together an itinerary for our trip, although like I mentioned, it wasn’t exactly followed. A basic itinerary is really all that is needed. Knowing where we needed to end up for the night, that gave us an idea of where we could venture off to. Of course, we could have been adventurous and went were the road led us, but we would have become lost several times. I would love to try that someday, but on this trip everyday we needed to drive hours along the countryside of Ireland, which was beautiful, but if we had become lost I’m not sure if our reservation would have been held if we had decided to throw caution to the wind. I don’t think we ended up eating at any of the restaurants I had found, which was fine because every where we did end up delicious food was provided. You can either gather a simple idea of where you would like to go or you can throw caution to the wind, no matter what you decide you will be guaranteed a trip of a lifetime.
- Packing list – I’m sure we all know how to pack a suitcase, but certain destinations might require some other additions. You wouldn’t pack a pair of high heels if you were going on a safari or a winter coat for the Caribbean. Those fashion choices just don’t really make sense. Maybe it’s just a girl thing, but I find putting together outfits for a trip is a lot of fun. Pinterest can be so helpful with deciding what to pack. I didn’t follow any packing list to a T, but they were very helpful. You can check out my pins from this trip on my “Places & Things” board on my Pinterest page. Here are a few things to pack that may come in handy depending on your destination:
1) A copy of your passport, at the time of packing it may sound silly, but you never know when you might need this. Thankfully for my trip, I never needed to pull out a copy of my passport, but I was glad I was prepared for those just-in-cases.
2) The currency of your destination. Before our flight departed from the USA, I went to a currency exchange in the airport and quickly and easily had USA currency exchanged into Euros. I’m so glad I did. It made purchasing items so much easier!
**Side note: When preparing for a vacation, it’s a good idea to plan a vacation budget ahead of time, so you know you will have enough when you arrive at your destination.
3) Outlet adapters. Unfortunately, outlets are not the same when you travel. Years ago, I received some outlet adapters for various countries and thankfully I was able to put the one for Europe to good use. Having that adapter also saved us from having to try and find one to purchase upon arrival.
Congratulations if you’re still reading this! I had no idea this article was going to be this long, I do apologize for the length, but I also love traveling and hope these tips help as you plan your next vacation!
Where are you off to next? Have any other tips to share? I would love to hear them!
Photo cred: dochara.com