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Travel Tips: How I plan and keep track of trips and travel plans

I love to travel! And I love to plan trips and find interesting things to do along the way. I use a lot of apps and sites to research and optimize travel planning. Hopefully these tips will help you take the plunge so you can plan your next trip...


“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.” ― Anita Desai


Are you ready to hit the road? Here are some ideas on how to get started!


Tip #1 - Get an overview of your destination


One of my main go-to apps is TripAdvisor. You can enter a destination and research hotels, restaurants, and things to do all in one easy app. They have a website, and they have an app for mobile use. Best of all - it's free! (Although they do have additional features for a fee)


I also tend to do a fair amount of web searching to read about the destination and get other opinions on what to do and how to make the most of your time at any given destination.



Tip #2 - Store your plans as they develop


My next go-to app is TripIt. TripIt is also free, but I pay the annual fee to use TripIt Pro (currently $49 annually). First, you register at the TripIt site. Then once you book a flight, hotel, rental car, tour, concert, or other activity, you can simply forward the confirmation to a specific email address and TripIt starts building your itinerary. TripIt builds individual trips and collects the related trip items together. Again, there is a web site and a mobile app that stay synchronized. TripIt can even synch with your email inbox and automatically pick up travel plans and add them to your trip. TripIt Pro helps keep you updated on flight changes/delays and has more automated reminders that help you stay on track during your trip.


Tip #3 - Plan your flights and rental car (if needed)


There are many good apps and websites for planning flights and rental cars. I use Kayak. Many people prefer Google Flights (google.com/flights). You can verify pricing and look for other good options directly at the various airline and rental car sites.



Tip #4 - Select your hotels


There are many good apps and websites for choosing hotels as well. I typically use TripAdvisor and verify pricing and ratings with some other sites like Google Maps. (google.com/maps). Kayak can help you identify hotels also. I prefer the Marriott chain, but there are many good options to choose. You can verify pricing and look for other good options directly at the various hotel chain websites and discounters like Expedia.com or hotels.com.


Tip #5 - Select activities and things to do


TripAdvisor has restaurant and Things to Do ratings and reviews. I use them extensively. The ratings have been pretty reliable around the globe, so I've learned to trust their information. Viator.com has many tour options available. Google maps also offers restaurant ratings and reviews. Identifying top attractions and places to eat is the icing on the cake for trip planning. Getting there is important, but being there and experiencing the sights and culture will either make or break the trip.


Bringing It All Together


Your flights, hotels, transportation, eating choice, and activities can all be stored in TripIt to give you one logical place to keep your itinerary. All that's left is to enjoy the trip!




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