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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:



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!



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.



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!



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.


Sponsored by American Express


  1. November 20, 2017 / 11:39 am

    I love modern technology. Using Instagram is a great way to check out possible trip locations. We’d never be able to do that a few years ago.

  2. November 20, 2017 / 11:41 am

    It pays to hit up your friends when you’re planning a trip, especially if they’re into the same kinds of things that you are. They’re one of the best ways to figure out some great travel destinations.

  3. November 20, 2017 / 11:53 am

    It sounds like you had a great trip. Love the outfit and it is good to know you relied on Instagram to plan your trip. I look forward to more travel photos.

  4. robin rue
    November 20, 2017 / 1:36 pm

    Oh yes, I always check Instagram to scout out locations. I find so much good stuff on there.

  5. Catherine Sargent
    November 20, 2017 / 2:00 pm

    Thanks for the great tips. I always try to pre-pay as much as I can when I travel. That way I don’t have to worry about it and stress about money.

  6. November 20, 2017 / 2:05 pm

    These are all great travel planning tips and I love that outfit on you! Beautiful.

  7. November 20, 2017 / 3:08 pm

    That’s really good advice for people who would like to travel more. I think it’s really nice to take some time off and take that trip that you’ve always wanted. Travel sites are helpful but it’s better to listen to friends for their travel experience!

  8. Monica
    November 20, 2017 / 3:14 pm

    Beautiful photos and great tips too! Where are you going next?

  9. Our Family World
    November 20, 2017 / 4:04 pm

    These are all great advice. I like what you wrote, “Life is short, buy the shoes. And the skirt. And the hat. And the bag!” I need to do some self-loving and treat myself to some pretty stuff, even if travel is far from our plans right now. 🙂

  10. November 20, 2017 / 4:43 pm

    These are such good ideas. I do tend to see some good travel pictures on Instagram that I could be writing down!

  11. brianne
    November 20, 2017 / 5:00 pm

    These are great tips for traveling. I too look at Instagram photos to see popular places!

  12. November 20, 2017 / 5:11 pm

    These travel tips are really awesome! I love traveling with my family and I make sure that we get the most out of our experience! That pay it or plan it sounds convenient.

  13. November 20, 2017 / 5:12 pm

    Great tips for travelers! The husband and I travel often and I agree with you about wearing comfy shoes especially for trips in Europe where there’ll be a lot of walking!

  14. Pam
    November 20, 2017 / 5:27 pm

    It is so important to ask friends for recommendations. They usually have great tips and know where is good to go and where isn’t.

  15. November 20, 2017 / 7:05 pm

    That’s actually a smart idea to use Instagram in that way. I don’t blame you! Get all the good spots!

  16. November 20, 2017 / 7:06 pm

    I would love to go visit again. It’s just a memorable place.

  17. November 20, 2017 / 7:18 pm

    Great tips! I always use Instagram to scope out locations when I travel. Usually it works out nicely, and I get to see some amazing stuff. Love your wardrobe! I love creating fun outfits for when I travel.

  18. November 20, 2017 / 7:27 pm

    Oh my word, those glasses are amazing. I really love that top too.

  19. November 20, 2017 / 7:28 pm

    This is such an adorable look. The whole outfit just meshes.

  20. November 20, 2017 / 9:11 pm

    I agree with all these! I love planning everything ahead whenever we travel. I also try not to look at advertisements of the hotel online, friends’ opinions are the best!

  21. November 21, 2017 / 7:11 am

    I am a stickler for looking up the Instagram Location and scouting the photos for ideas. Especially for food spots and to see whats on the menu it helps a lot.

  22. November 24, 2017 / 8:28 am

    Friend’s opinions to me, are the most accurate when it comes to selecting a hotel. Thank you for the tips!

  23. Stephanie Z
    May 7, 2018 / 2:19 pm

    Using Instagram to scope out locations is such a great idea!

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