5 Tips for Creative Travel Planning

The truth is, as much as I love diving in to something new, almost everything about the planning process makes me anxious. When planning a huge road trip through the UK and Ireland in 2013, I started getting overwhelmed.  I was afraid of missing out on something important, or planning an activity while we needed to be driving to our next hotel.  So I reached for a spare Smash Book and started creating.

I've just returned from the second dream trip that I planned using my Vacation Dream Book.  Using my creativity to plan big trips has helped me have fun, reduce anxiety, and have amazing experiences I will never forget.  Here are five things that I do during my travel planning that make it tons of fun:

1. Use Pinterest Boards

If you're doing a lot of research online, collect it in one central place. I like Pinterest because it's so visual.  A few Pinterest tips:

  • Use different boards for different categories. If you're on a five-city tour, it's easier to have a board for each city when it comes time to make more specific plans. 
  • Because Pinterest doesn't display things in any particular order, use the descriptions to help you organize!  Make the first line location and category (for example, Edinburgh Restaurant).  You can also copy and paste key information you want to save from the website into the description.

2. Keep two lists (must-do and wish list)

This is one of the best things I've done to help me feel more at ease while on vacation.  I don't worry about missing out on anything important and I don't worry about piling on more than I can accomplish in one trip.  My Must-Do list includes anything I would seriously regret missing out on. If it's something I'd love to do, but could live without, it goes on the wish list. 

In my most recent trip to Scotland, my friend and I did everything on our must-do lists except for a couple places that just weren't a good choice in the weather we had (totally expected for Scotland in autumn).  But we also did almost everything on our wish lists!  The way that we planned left room for fitting those in, and it paid off.  

3. Keep a Journal

To truly bring your creativity into your planning and make your trip meaningful, writing in a journal before you ever leave can help you stay motivated, understand what you want to get out of your experience, and write through any challenges you're having.  A few prompts:

  • Write about why something is on your must-do list and not your wish list.
  • Reflect on why you chose your destination
  • What one experience would make the whole trip worthwhile?

4. Find things that spark your creativity

While you're planning your dream vacation, make sure you remember to find events, attractions, and activities that spark your creativity.  Do you do your best writing surrounded by untouched nature?  Do you love the inspiration of an art museum?  If you plan them into your travels, you might find that you're inspired before you even get there.

5. Make a Vacation Dream Book

I created the Vacation Dream Book as the ultimate creative travel planner and guide book.  You can get a free checklist to help you get started with your own, and a regular newsletter where I share more details about the vacation dream book with my readers.  Sign up here.