How to Plan a Vacation, Minus the Information Overload

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Ready to plan a well-earned vacation, but overwhelmed by the countless options and information available? Don’t worry — you’re not alone. With all sorts of data and advice available at your fingertips at all times (aka Google), it’s easy to suffer from information overload when reviewing vacation ideas and itineraries. But it doesn’t have to be that hard. Use the tips below, and planning your next vacation will be almost as fun as the trip itself.

Find inspiration

One of our favorite ways to get an inside look at the sights, sounds and culture of various destinations is to get lost in the Travel Channel. Not only do the shows on the Travel Channel serve as a virtual vacation of their own, but they also provide a unique look at the details of a destination.

In addition to using the Travel Channel shows and website to get inspired and excited, try perusing travel books and memoirs. These aren’t necessarily destination guides, but stories set in locations that ignite your wanderlust.

Sort through the details

Once you have an idea of where you would like to go, it’s time to start working through the nitty-gritty. For more in-depth information about the climate, the culture and the best time to visit a destination, you can’t go wrong with Lonely Planet. The renowned books and website offer comprehensive information on places near and far. Destination guides also provide an excellent snapshot of bucket list-worthy things to see and do.

For additional information and ideas, visit the tourism websites for the destination you are researching. No one knows a place quite like the locals who call it home; a local tourism board can give you an inside look at attractions you might otherwise miss out on. You’ll also find important notes such as the daily weather, the latest events and upcoming attractions.

Go social

Although social media and travel blogs can be overwhelming sources of information when you are just beginning your trip research, they are fantastic resources once you have a general idea of where you want to go and what you want to do.

Ask your connections on social media for trip-planning advice. You might be surprised by what hidden gems and first-hand travel tips they can offer. Whether it’s the best barbecue in Texas or a family-run winery in Oregon, often the most memorable travel experiences aren’t the ones published in the guide books.

There are also thousands of travel blogs with one-of-a-kind stories and photos that will help you research and plan your trip. Bloggers might even respond to your questions and comments, providing next-level personalization in the research process.

Stay flexible

With so much to discover — and limited time to see and do it all in — it’s tempting to micromanage your vacation itinerary. However, no matter how much research you do, you often won’t discover the best area attractions until you arrive. Do enough planning that you have a solid grasp of trip essentials such as what to pack, the need-to-know cultural norms and highlights of a region. But then, leave room for a bit of the unknown to sweep you off your feet.