Sunday, June 16, 2013

Travel Planning Has Never Been Easier

We've been planning for our next vacation for the past two or three months now.  For the past 26 years our vacations have centered around the beach, a theme-park or an exotic locale.  But this time, since I haven't been on the east coast much, we thought we'd take a whirl-wind east coast vacation.

The plan is to fly into Washington, D.C. and spend two-and-a-half days there, jump on the Amtrak and jump off at Philly for just the afternoon and night.  The next morning we get up bright and early and get back on Amtrak and go to New York City.  We'll spend three days sightseeing in NYC before we jump back on Amtrak to Boston for two days.  The trip ends when we fly back home from Boston.

Whew!  Sounds exhausting doesn't it?  A normal person would probably turn our 9 day whirlwind trip into four separate trips spending four or five days at each city...mulling around museums and taking tours at each place, but that's just not in our DNA.

My husband doesn't really enjoy historical tours or vacations and he's really doing this for me. So, I've been trying my best to plan our itineraries via the internet so that we monopolize every minute we are gone.

What I've found is that there's a wealth of websites to help you plan your vacation.  There's the websites that you probably are quite familiar with like Fodders and Frommers that provide one, two and three day itineraries that suggest sites you won't want to miss.

Then there's TripAdvisor and Yelp that provides reviews from people who have already experienced a hotel, museum or attraction.

You can also find a wealth of information by just "googling" the place you plan to visit.  People have written about their experiences on blogs or you will find other independent websites.

Finding good restaurants to eat at while on your trip is a snap with Urban Spoon or even Yelp.  And there's a plethora of cell phone apps available that offer tour information in cities.

But here's an idea that you may not have thought about.  Try pulling up Google Maps and entering the hotel in the city you plan to visit.  Now click on directions and type in a restaurant or an attraction you plan to visit.  Keep adding destinations (restaurants, museums, whatever...) and click "get directions." Your trip is now mapped out.  You'll probably, at that point, find that you want to re-route certain destinations, which is as simple as clicking and holding a letter and moving it up or down the route and clicking on "get directions" again.  Print it out and you have a mapped itinerary.  You can even select the car, walking, public transportation or bus route.

Or you can do like I do and map out each day which includes restaurant options along the way.  Or do one map for each day and maybe have a separate map of restaurants you'd like to consider along the way or one just for museums, one for parks.  The options are really endless.

No comments:

Post a Comment