The second post in a 6-part series about trip planning. For an overview of the complete series, please visit the Trip Planning 101 page.
So where do we start? Well, how do most trips start? If you're anything like me, it often happens when you're hanging out with your friends (maybe even while on a trip), and someone mentions that a friend of theirs went on a trip to [insert awesome place]. Or it happens when you're aimlessly Google-image-searching one national park after another. The first step in trip planning is the dreaming phase. This is where you and your travel buddies dream up what you want to do, dumping all your ideas in one place. Fun, right?
So what does this step look like in the Best Trip Planning Spreadsheet Ever? Read on...
It's a giant empty spreadsheet tab.
But that's the point! It's a blank slate where everyone who might join the trip can jot down ideas/wishes/thoughts. For example, my roommate and I used to sit in the living room with our laptops pasting all sorts of fun ideas/pictures/links here, in the early phases of trip planning (we called it the Pinterest phase). When the internet gives us so many options and too much information, having a centralized place where we can quickly edit/share/organize the relevant parts makes planning a bit less overwhelming. It's also useful if you're skyping with someone or don't have time to have a meeting/phone call. Everyone can check the sheet intermittently to see what other people are dreaming up. Once all potential travelers have dumped their brains on this tab, you can sit down and see how to piece it together in an affordable and logistically easy way - on the Itinerary tab (... to be described in the next post)!
Things that the dreaming page might include:
- Random awesome ideas
- Beautiful photos of places/things you want to see
- Link to a Google map that you update each time you add a new destination (handy for roadtrips)
- Activities you want to do
- Ways to get there (links to key public transportation websites, drive times)
- Rough cost estimates/comparisons (e.g. flights - one of my favorite tools is Kayak Explore)
- Fun accommodations (quirky Airbnbs, scenic campsites, hostels)
- Links to relevant blog posts/travel websites
- ... and anything else you want!