March 18th 2019
The foundation to a good trip is some great planning. Here are a few tips and tricks to getting the most of your time when you travel!
In recent years, I have been putting a lot more energy into upping my travel portfolio. Planning a good trip is something I am incredibly passionate about because, as a 24 year old girl, I don’t exactly have the most disposable income which means I need to budget time and money while still making sure I get around to seeing the top things on my list.
Similarly to my blogging plan, I like to make trip plans on Google Sheets. Google Sheets are similar to Excel but more easily shareable. Google Sheets are collaborative which means you can edit with people you’ve shared it with in real time! This is great, especially if the trip is with more than 1 other person because, that way, everyone gets their voice heard without things slipping through the cracks in a group message.
When I went to Toronto at the end of last month with 2 of my close friends, we decided to build a comprehensive spreadsheet to help us get the most of the 3 day trip we had planned.
The first sheet was our hotel options and information. Before deciding on a hotel, we did a search and found out which hotels were in the area we wanted to stay in, how much they cost per night, and any additional amenities worth mentioning. Then from that list, we narrowed it down and booked our top choice. So we deleted all the other hotel options from the sheet and just kept up the information for the hotel we were staying. We were sure to include the hotel name, phone number, address, confirmation number, website link, and check in/out times. This really made the hotel process stress free and easy.
The next sheet we made was a list of attractions! We searched online and saw everything fun that the area had to offer and, once we found a few attractions we felt were worth the time, we made columns for the name of the attraction, the address, the hours of operation, the cost, the website, and lastly, the distance from the hotel which was a huge help because we were walking or taking an Uber everywhere.
The next sheet we made were our dining options and the sheet resembled the attractions sheet because we sort of just listed all of the possibilities and narrowed it down from there. We tried to find cost efficient options and places with menus online. However, we went sort of rogue from this list because we would pass things that look cool and hop on in. But it was great to have options on the fly.
The thing we did that helped the most on the attraction and dining sheets was that we color coded the different attractions and restaurants based on the day we wanted to go. This helped make sure we were staying in the same areas throughout the day instead of just wandering back and forth and wasting time.
The next sheet was our itinerary which we honestly didn’t use much but it was nice to have. It just helped give us an idea of time tables and made it easier to plan our travel time with our time spent at attractions.
After that, we had a shopping and packing list where we listed all the things we needed to bring or buy in preparation for the trip. Everything from emergency items to snacks were listed.
Lastly, the most important sheet in my opinion was what we called “The Payment Sheet” which listed all of the things that were purchased by one person on the trip. For example, I paid the tolls because I had a toll pass. So in the section for tolls, I put the amount spent, how much that is per person and a big SPENT under my column so we knew it was my money. When someone paid back, we would put PAID in their column so we would be able to keep track. That was, money was moving smoothly and without confusion.
Overall, I think that planning a trip out really helps you make the best use of your time. No matter your preferred method, having a good plan of attack for a trip really gives you the most room for good memories!