TRAVEL TIPS; PLANNING & PACKING FOR A THREE WEEK TRIP.
I’m writing this post amidst notebooks filled with scribbled travel plans, the Skyscanner app up on my phone and a pile of books I’m trying to decide between taking with me on our three week trip to America. I thought it’d be quite nice to write this while I’m still actually planning things for the trip rather than at some other time, I wanted to share just some of things that I’ve discovered while planning and booking a longer trip and although I know I’m not an expert yet, if you’re looking for some inspiration for your next adventure or need some tips for setting itineraries and researching what to do once you’ve picked your destination, I hope that you might find at least some of this useful!
We’re off to the US tomorrow and we will be there three weeks starting out in Phoenix, Arizona and then heading over to LA and San Fransisco, California and I’m very excited to tick some things off of my bucket list! I’m travelling with my mum and my sister (my favourite traveling companions ) and none of us have planned and booked a trip with multiple destinations and for this length of time completely from scratch before. We’ve done longer trips before but most of them have been booked through travel agencies when all of the details are booked for you apart from maybe having a few days free to explore, so it’s been a bit of a goal of mine to go on a trip like this one. I’m a planner at heart so that part of me has loved organising things and writing lists but there’s definitely a part of me that finds to process stressful and overwhelming at times too so here are just some of the tips that have made things a bit easier and a little more stress free…
Start planning as soon as possible;
One of things I’ve found with planning this trip is the sooner you can start the better, it’s definitely meant that the last few weeks have been quite chill and I’ve been able to focus more on the fun things like researching places to go and things to do. Because the cheaper flights can get booked up quickly it’s always a good idea to get searching for the best prices as one of the first things you do. I love using Skyscanner to find flights and we ended up booking a non direct flight, with stops in Iceland and Seattle, to save quite a bit of money– I know that if we tried to book a similar flight now we’d be paying around £1000 more!
Finding good accommodation;
If you’re planning travelling between various locations like we are for this trip then finding good and especially affordable accommodation is definitely an important part of planning. My best tip is to compare and shop around as much as possible, I usually head straight to Airbnb to find something more homely and more unique than a hotel room and we have a beautiful one booked for when we’re in LA– when we were looking for San Fransisco though we found things to be so much more expensive so went for the hotel option instead. It’s always a good idea to research which places are more expensive and whether a hotel or Airbnb or similar would be the best option. I find it useful to use sites like Booking.com to compare prices and Trip Advisor for reviews.
Once the flights are booked and the general dates are set then you can start setting an itinerary and planning things to do while you’re travelling, which is the part of planning I always enjoy the most. But it can getting overwhelming when there is so much to do and see and usually not enough time to fit it all in! My favourite thing for setting itineraries is making lists, I have one for each of the places we’re travelling to and every time I see a somewhere I might want to visit I write it down– and my favourite things for research are blogs and Instagram– there’s nothing like getting recommendations from people who’s feeds and photos you already love– so far I haven’t had the need to do much research anywhere else. If I did though, I’d probably check Trip Advisor again. We have a couple of things planned so far– day trips to the Grand Canyon & Sedona and hopefully a trip to Yosemite too when we’re in California– and with the lists I’ve made plenty of things to do, markets and museums and of course coffee shops to visit! I think they’ll definitely save me precious exploring time when it comes to deciding what to do each day!
Packing and deciding what to take away;
My LEAST favourite thing every time is packing, it often brings a lot of anxiety and I get very panicky when I feel like I’ve forgotten things. Instead of procrastinating this time around though, I’ve tried to get on with the packing ASAP. As you might rightly think my best friend when it comes to packing is a list or two– I love this free download from Anna (The Anna Edit) and have printed the list to use when I start packing.
I’ve been trying to pack as light as possible so I’ve spent quite a bit of time deciding what I need to take with me– we’ll hopefully get the chance to do at least one clothes wash along the way but I’ve packed outfits that are very interchangeable, quite a few skirts, trousers and different top half options. My essentials are always a light waterproof jacket (which is so handy & can fold up small into whichever bag I’m using) and a good size backpack option to throw all of my bits and pieces in when I’m exploring. I know that checking the weather forecasts is a pretty obvious tip but as I know that there is quite a big difference in weather between Arizona and San Fransisco I’ve tried to check as thoroughly as possible so hopefully I’m as prepared as I can be for desert heat and the cooler days in San Fran too!
When it comes to deciding which books I want to take with me, I find this a lot more difficult! I like to have a couple of reads on the go, usually one fiction and one non-fiction so I’m likely to take at least a couple. I love that the long plane journey is a perfect reading opportunity so I’m making sure to pack something I really want to read so I can get stuck in as soon as we board!
See you all soon!
And that’s it, we’re off on our USA adventure! I’m hoping to share some America blog posts and city guides as soon as possible but until then you can keep up with where we are and what we’re doing over on my Instagram! I hope you’ll find this post useful, especially if you’re heading out on any trips anytime soon & if you like seeing this kind of thing from me then let me know. Also feel free to leave your favourite planning and packing tips below, I’d love to hear them!