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How to Plan a Great Getaway

Hello all! Instead of doing an update this week, I thought I’d talk a bit about vacation planning! I am leaving for a European vacation next week and figured I’d share some tips!

Since my mom had close family in Europe, I grew up traveling there for our regular vacations. We would go every year when I was younger, and my family did a great job of taking us to see family and sightseeing in new places. I am so thankful I had that experience growing up because it really solidified my love of traveling. Being able to see what the world has to offer is one of the greatest joys I have in life. So, I am very excited to share with you some of the things I have learned that I hope will help you in your future journeys! - Kristen

1) Pack light

When you’re traveling through an airport, train station, or bus station, the last thing you want to do is be hauling tons of luggage. It is not fun to have all of that extra weight holding you down, and you really don’t need those three pairs of black sandals to choose between.

The key to packing well is to layer. Jeans can be reworn while traveling and wearing undershirts allows you to get an extra day out of outfits. This significantly cuts down on how much you need to bring. Layering is key because you don’t need to bring an outfit for every weather combination. You pick a few key pieces that go together and mix and match based on the weather.

2) Have a vacation emergency fund

You can budget for travel all you want, but make sure you allow a little something extra for when things don’t go as planned. You never know if your layover will get delayed and you are stuck in a new city for an extra day, or if your food selection is tight and you have to eat what is available (regardless of the price point). It is always good to have some of that baked into your budget so you don’t feel guilty when you need to use it. It will make your trip more enjoyable.

3) Don’t rush

While we all want to see everything your new city has to offer, there is really no way to see it all. In my experience, you are better off skipping that museum tour and spending some extra time at breakfast. No one feels rushed and you’ll feel more relaxed on your trip if you don’t try to cram everything in.

This tip took me a while to live by and I still struggle with it. It is hard when you spend so much money on flights to somewhere far away to accept that you’ll only see a sliver of what is out there, but my trips have been much more enjoyable once I accepted that.

4) Have an idea of what you want to do, but don’t plan your trip to the day.

It is always good to do some research ahead of time. Know the areas of town you want to see (and which ones to avoid) and any key museums or sightseeing attractions you want to see during your trip, but understand you won’t be able to see it all. You are better off planning the night before when you know what the weather will be or if there’s major streets in town closed.

5) Make as many memories as you can

At Plan + Simple, we always talk about celebrating life’s little moments and making memories. Traveling is another great way to do this. I still remember the little crepe place on the Île de la Cité in Paris my grandparents took me to when I was 13, taking a walk on my honeymoon in Quebec City and stumbling across the most beautiful section of town, the “Jeep Tour” through the Jamaican jungle Liam and I took with Courtney and Christian. These are some of my fondest memories.

Traveling, by its very nature, creates memories. You will learn about the world and about yourself and your loved ones through these shared experiences. The best piece of advice that I can give is to just enjoy every minute of it. I guarantee in a year or two, you will look back on anything that seems like a tragedy in the moment and laugh about “that time when…” In summation, enjoy yourself… and happy traveling!

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