This content is sponsored by American Express
I’ve been home from my European travels for almost a month now, but it still feels like I just got home. It was such an amazing experience to disconnect from my office life for practically an entire month and travel around all of the amazing cities. I have TONS of travel guide content in the works for you, but first I wanted to share some of my favorite tips for how I go about starting to plan my trips–way before the travel guides and picking the best things to do. These are the tips that helped me plan my recent trip to Spain, Portugal and France:
USE INSTAGRAM TO SCOPE OUT LOCATIONS
I would be lying if I didn’t admit that Instagram helps me choose my destinations. For me, a vacation is less about seeing a specific tourist spot and more about evoking an emotion. Specifically for this trip, I wanted to pick locations that could take me away from my email and phone notifications where I could get lost in a city and wander through it all day long. Leading up to the trip, I would stumble upon photos on Instagram that would pique my interest for locations and I would save them into a folder titled “Travel Inspo” for me to refer back to. Once I had settled on a location I would dig deeper into certain hashtags and find more recommendations for hotels, things to do and restaurants to visit. I also loved doing research on Instagram because it helped me see a different perspective from some of the travel sites that focus mainly on the more touristy stuff. I actually was able to find an amazing local art gallery with the help of Instagram!
BOOK IT AND PAY IT OFF
Maybe it’s the planner in me, but I like having all of my hotels, rental cars, trains, etc. figured out before I leave for a trip so that I can stay organized and know what to expect when I get there. I like to pre-pay for my trains and hotels before traveling so that it’s one less thing for me to think about so that I can focus my energy on exploring, speaking Spanglish, and taking a million photos. I love using my American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card’s Pay It Plan It payment option as part of my vacation planning process, because it allows me select to pay for some purchases immediately with ‘Pay It’ or over time with ‘Plan It.’ What do I use Pay It for? Train and museum tickets. What do I use Plan It for? That pricey penthouse hotel I splurged on because…vacation! Terms apply. And of course I get so many of the rewards I’m used to on eligible purchases while I’m traveling with my Blue Cash Everyday Card.
LIFE IS SHORT, BUY THE SHOES
And the skirt. And the hat. And the bag! I love planning a vacation wardrobe as much as the vacation itself because you can dress up and celebrate the city you’re in! I wore these flats non-stop in Europe and easily put 20,000 steps on them each day. I loved the excitement of putting together travel outfits that would become part of my trip memories, and when I reach for this pink velvet top or brocade skirt again, it will remind me of the adventures I had on my trip!
TAKE YOUR FRIENDS’ ADVICE
I remember a trip that I had planned where I booked everything based off of a certain travel site’s recommendations for places to stay and see–and I remember going to the first hotel and thinking “ehhh this place isn’t what it was described as”. Since then, I’ve made sure to reach out into my network of friends and family who have traveled to these same locations to hear from their experiences and favorite things to help get a better idea of what we would best enjoy.