Home Forums Vacation and Travel Vacation Planner

This topic contains 25 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  Jackthetiger 8 years ago.

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  • #159178

    juliarose
    Member

    My friend and I just decided that we will go to Mexico next year and see some Mayan ruins. I’ve started doing some preliminary research and I’m already getting a little overwhelmed. The biggest vacation I’ve ever taken was 3 days in Vegas. Did’t put much thought into that one (and didn’t have much fun either).

    Anyway, I remembered my sister’s wedding planner notebook that she bought when she got engaged. It was a BIG comprehensive to-do list for planning her wedding, and it helped her a lot. I’m wondering I can find such a comprehensive list for vacation planning. Some people do this every year, I shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel to start mine.

    Does anybody know where to get such a list?

  • #182544

    bandicoot
    Member

    Vacation Planner

    i travel a lot and i use a few digital tools to help with planning.
    evernote is great for packing lists and general notes as you collect them. there is a free version with generous storage.
    tripit is free and perfect for recording all of your trip details…..flights, accom, cars, trains, meals, everything.
    tripit syncs with google calender too.

    you just need to work out roughly when you’d like to go, then what you’d like to do when you get there.
    then start looking for flight and accom deals.
    don’t attempt to do every single thing….it isn’t possible and you’ll start to hate your trip if you don’t have time and space to enjoy and experience.

    some of the best places i have ever been have been well off the beaten track, far from the sights.
    it is nice if you can get to some of those places, as well as the obvious fabulous things that must be seen!

    i would love to go to mexico one day…such a colourful delicious sunny culture.
    i can hear the soundtrack to frida in my head right now!

  • #182552

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Vacation Planner

    Here is one in a spreadsheet format. You don’t need Excel, it opened fine for me in Open Office.
    http://www.buzzle.com/articles/travel-planner-templates.html

    Here’s a nice packing list
    http://www.frommers.com/tips/packing_tips/travel_planner.pdf

    Here is another printable list
    http://www.lookingforadventure.com/travelchecklist.htm

  • #182553

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Vacation Planner

    This might be a good site.
    http://www.triporama.com/

    Yahoo has a trip planner
    travel.yahoo.com/trip

    More printable lists
    http://listplanit.com/eplanners/travel-eplanner/

  • #182554

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Vacation Planner

    Have you seen this site?

    http://www.travelyucatan.com/cancun_packing_list.php

  • #182562

    juliarose
    Member

    Vacation Planner

    Sweet! Thanks!

  • #182569

    djk
    Member

    Vacation Planner

    juliarose, you might also want to check out:

    http://www.journeywoman.com/ is a wonderful for-women travel ideas website, where women share their travel tips

    http://www.onebag.com/ is ideal for the minimalist traveler

    and a personal hero, Rick Steves, who is better known for European travel but whose website offers general travel tips http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/tips_menu.htm
    I listen to his podcasts (free on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/travel-with-rick-steves/id79063354) which go far beyond the guidebooks. Just listened to his interview of Greg Mortenson (writer of Three Cups of Tea). Great stuff for knowledge, thoughtful insight, and interest. Can you tell I am a fan:)

    Mexico is a wonderful place to visit, and I advise not worrying too much about trying to overplan. Planning is great when it enhances your comfort and security, but overplanning removes all joy and serendipity from your trip. I have been travelling alone since the age of 18 and have had the very best times when I have said, I am on holiday, and if I want to sleep in then wander over to a cafe for two hours to watch the world go by, then I will.

    also important when travelling with others: before you go determine that you will spend at least one full morning and one full afternoon apart, with an agreed meeting time and place afterwards. Trust me on this one.

  • #182579

    pkilmain
    Member

    Vacation Planner

    We had another couple with us in Hawaii for 9 days. We sent them off by themselves one day, but could have done with another. They’re good friends and are coming to visit us here in Alaska this summer, but I agree, you need time apart from your traveling companions. And that goes for spouses, too – at least for me! πŸ™‚

  • #182584

    Anonymous

    Vacation Planner

    I was just about to send up my own cry for help about this very topic! I am headed to the British Isles for 4 weeks and have never done any overseas travel at all. This post is getting devoured! Thanks!

  • #182591

    Shortbird
    Member

    Vacation Planner

    Hi, Another Deb!
    Donna Freedman at Surviving and Thriving made a trip to the UK and had an entertaining time…

    As I’m in the middle of England, I can probably give some assistance on some topics and the odd bargain idea here and there.

  • #182594

    irishbell
    Member

    Vacation Planner

    i loved planning our last couple vacations-from booking flights/hotels/transportation, things to do, places to eat, etc. luckily we had friends or family living in both places and got their ideas of fun too!
    dad is taking sis and I birding in texas next year, and i was volunteered by dad to be the total planner! yay!!!!
    i don’t really have any set lists- i just start with paper and pen- book flights and then go from there. i do keep detailed lists and receipts(from anything i book/pay for online) as i go along, however-very important. i only do touristy things if they look interesting, but also leave some unplanned time for whatever strikes your fancy that day, or for taking a siesta!
    the internet is invaluable for researching your vacation spots! planning should be fun, if it starts to be a drudge- take a break for awhile. planning as much in advance as you can was helpful for me.

  • #182608

    pkilmain
    Member

    Vacation Planner

    @irishbell – I love planning vacations as well. We went to the UK in 2005 and I was able to do everything online. We had a wonderful time – both doing the regular touristy things, and the spontaneous things that happened when I had left free time. I had to laugh at one B&B we stayed at. I had inquired about it’s closeness to the train station (we traveled exclusively by train), and was told walking distance – which it was, but in addition, the train actually ran UNDER the house!! Too funny, and fortunately didn’t run at night.

  • #182611

    djk
    Member

    Vacation Planner

    oh I love travel talk! keep it coming!

    ps Pkilmain, I agree about the spousal space. We split up regularly in order to explore our own interests, then meet for dinner and chat about all the things we have seen and done. Sometimes we go on short holidays separately, usually no more than a weekend. However, last summer I did leave DH at home for over a week while I gallivanted around the Amalfi coast with a girlfriend from home.

  • #182613

    javamonster
    Member

    Vacation Planner

    My experience with travel has been to buy a guidebook for the area I’m traveling to (doesn’t matter if it’s country sized, or a city, or a region), and then bookmark the sights that interest me. I will also trace out possible routes on the maps supplied in the guidebook (although googlemaps might do a good job at doing that too, now). When I traveled through Asia and Southeast Asia, I used the Lonely Planet guides, but these days, I favor Fodor’s. A good guidebook will clue you in on what to bring for what seasons.

    The main point isn’t to stress out about seeing everything. Hit your highlights, and the rest will follow. If you’re traveling as a single woman, I do recommend that you do some research on men’s behaviors and expectations at your destinations, and if there are any woman oriented travel groups, etc. (this is more general advice) The best offense is a good defence. πŸ™‚

  • #182619

    pkilmain
    Member

    Vacation Planner

    djk – we have taken a number of separate vacations over the years. Sometimes I’ll go with girlfriends, or he’ll go off hunting or hiking, etc. with a group. This summer, for instance, I’m going to Seattle for a week with a girl friend to the wedding of the son of another friend. But, since we’re springing for plane tickets, we’re staying for a full week. πŸ™‚ DH, meanwhile has both a hunting trip with 2 guys, and a week long canoe trip with another group. Fine with me, I don’t enjoy either! But for the next two weeks (starting Monday) we’ll be traveling together to visit our families, who fortunately live close enough together to see in one trip.

  • #182620

    Janis
    Member

    Vacation Planner

    Fun topic! When my husband and I plan a trip, we make a list of “must do” items and “wanna do” items. To keep from stressing out, we try not to plan on more than one big “must do” a day and then we fill in with more spontaneous activities. We also keep a list of activities by context: outdoors activities that are best suited for good weather (biking, kayaking, hanging out at the beach) vs. things we can do when it’s raining (museums, restaurant/pub), events that are only available at certain dates/times and so on.

  • #182672

    Anonymous

    Vacation Planner

    Irishbelle, I went to see the whooping cranes in 1981 ended up living in Texas for 15 years because of the birds. I might be able to help you with some of your ideas. What time of year are you going?

  • #182826

    chacha1
    Member

    Vacation Planner

    Excellent advice from the group as usual, but I might add: don’t forget you need a passport to visit Mexico. (If your biggest previous trip was to Las Vegas, I thought you might not *have* a passport!)

    The way I always start with vacation planning is decide WHEN I want to go (based on weather, mostly, but we prefer to travel in the “off” seasons), then WHERE I want to go.

    Then I find and buy (or print out) a bunch of maps and, if it’s someplace new, a guidebook. Then I decide WHERE I want to stay, then WHAT I want to do at my destination.

    Then I look at local organizers for tours, activities, etc.

    If you are traveling with someone who may have their own ideas, of course, it’s best this is all a team effort – and makes for a series of entertaining coffee dates.

  • #182837

    irishbell
    Member

    Vacation Planner

    Another deb- I didn’t see your reply, I apologize!
    We are going mid-February, for one week-and dad wants to foot the bill!
    He’s been there several times with mom, so he’s fairly familiar with where we’re going. brownsville, mccallen, (excuse my spelling).
    Possibly south padre. it will be practically all life birds for sis and I. if you have any ideas I’d love to hear them.I wish it were sooner, but we are going to pt.peelee,Ontario next month for spring migration. that will have to hold me for awhile!
    suitable footwear/clothing, a good hat, bugspray/sunbloc and binocs and fieldguide and we are good to go!

  • #182852

    Anonymous

    Vacation Planner

    Irishbelle,

    Pt. Peleee! That’s a good one as well. Both Brownsville (the dump for Mexican Crows) and McAllen (Santa Anna Wildlife refuge) for lots of Mexican and neo-tropical species.

    I was in the area north of Corpus Christi (Rockport) where you jump off to the Aransas Wildlife refuge for driving tours or get on a 2-3 hour boat trip (in Rockport Harbor) for a Whooping Crane trip. The guides point out everything, a must-see! The Whooping Cranes are still there until mid-March, then they migrate to Canada.

    http://www.camacdonald.com/birding/ustexas.htm

    This link is for Texas birding, including specific places in Corpus Christi’s 80 mile radius. Corpus is about 4 hours north of McAllen, but you can bird “hawk alley” all the way up.

    I was so excited last week. A brown pelican flew over my car in the middle of Tempe, Arizona! We’re going to the UK and hope to see some new birds this summer ourselves. Where are you located now?

  • #182854

    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Vacation Planner

    Irishbell and Another Deb, I am a birder too, but in Australia. You inspired my post about uncluttered hobbies. I would love to go to the southern USA to see a few new species. I really like birds that survive in deserts.

  • #182861

    Anonymous

    Vacation Planner

    Hi Jack,

    The birds in SE Arizona are a worldwide destination, and so are the birds of coastal Texas. Both places cater to the birder. I sure hope you can visit! I hope to see Australia as well. It sounds amazing!

    You are right, collecting lifelists is clutter-minimal. Maps and gadgets is about it.

  • #182874

    irishbell
    Member

    Vacation Planner

    I live in sw lower michigan, which may sound fairly boring in the birding world- but while we have only 30 some bird in our area that stay throughout the winter, we have some 130 species that pass through during migration.warblers,vireos,sparrows,finches,phoebes,flycatchers, thrushes, and great waterfowl, owls, hawks,plovers etc. etc.
    I’ve only birded in california, seattle,s. fla, s. arizona and then pt. pelee, so any new place i get to go is fab! Australia- would love it!
    the pelagic trips sound fun- but alas i get so seasick,i’ve tried all the remedies to no avail, not that i wouldn’t do it for something really super special.
    maybe we should start our own birding thread…..a life list is one thing i would LOVE to have all cluttered up!

  • #182882

    djk
    Member

    Vacation Planner

    I am not a birder at all (through ignorance, not disinclination!) but today I happened to be reading about the lyre bird, then just watched some video of one in full voice. Then I read this thread! Hmmm. A message? πŸ™‚

  • #182901

    Anonymous

    Vacation Planner

    Irishbell, You can still see the Whoopers from the Aransas Refuge. Also alligators! I used to do the Christmas Count at that site and we’d get 120 species some years! The pelagic trips are bay boats. I understand about seasick. My MIL didn’t tell me until it was too late but the steamboat my hubby and I got married on was making her seasick while still at the dock!

    DJK, anyone can bird. You can buddy up to those in the local clubs. Often they announce open hikes and walks. Our botanical gardens host those kinds of things. Great way to learn a little at a time.

    An aside: I consider my relatively good health to be a type of unclutteredness. My folks are continually at doctors and drugstores. That would drive me nuts!

  • #182906

    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Vacation Planner

    Another Deb and Irishbell, @ The pelagic trips in Australia go out to the continental shelf where it drops away to very deep water. It is very rich in nutrients and aquatic life so the birds gather as well. I have never been on one of these ocean trips either because of the seasickness. Maybe I need to investigate the sea sick pills and give it a go. I have had great birding trips in bays and rivers including Yellow Waters at Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory and the Daintree River in Northern Queensland.

    I have learnt a little about American birds by looking at the Cornell University website:

    http://www.allaboutbirds.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=1189

    Go for it djk. It just opens your eyes to the diversity in the great outdoors!

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