Preparing for our vacation is one of my favorite things besides the vacation itself!! From the time we decide to go, the preparation begins whether it's two weeks away or two months away, my brain kicks in high gear. So I'm going to share my little secrets about what the early stages of planning look like for me!
The obvious things are choosing the destination, booking the flight, researching hotels or air b&b's and looking at transportation options. Superman is WAY better at this part!! We both generally decide on location and the overall plan, but then I leave it to him to find the best deals.
He scours the internet for days and sometimes weeks researching deals, reading reviews and planning this end of it which makes me SOOOO happy that I don't have to worry about it! This time around he booked the cruise first, then the flights. He ended up booking the flights as 2 one-way tickets as opposed to a round-trip ticket because it was less expensive that way! Who would've thought that would make a difference?! These are the kinds of things he thinks to check that I wouldn't have thought of!
He ended up finding the best deal on our cruise when he had stopped looking for nearly a week! When he randomly went to check again, the price had dropped to $333 per person for 4 people in a room! We knew there wasn't going to be a deal better than that and snagged it before it went up to over $700 per person a couple weeks later.
Before he even booked the cruise though, I started the outfit planning process! lol! Yes, this is a full on process for us and something I LOVE doing. ;-) It's going to sound like it takes a ton of time but really it's just a few minutes here and there as I'm going on with everyday life. Here's the breakdown!
1. Collect Outfit Inspiration. I start with getting some basic ideas of what to wear. Beach or caribbean vacation looks are pretty easy so I found a few idea photos on pinterest and broke down the looks to individual pieces (4 pairs of shorts, two colored, two neutral, 8 shirts, one dressy outfit, one travel, etc.) then I...
2. Start Browsing Online Shops. I usually start with my tried and true places for whichever category I'm searching for. If it's for the boys I have a handful of shops I already know and love for them. For me it's an entirely different group of boutiques and online stores I know I like. Once I find some pieces I'm looking for I take a screenshot that includes the website name, photo of item and price. There's no limit on window shopping! I literally screenshot SO many ideas because I know that we're going to narrow it down later. This is when I think outside the box and try some things I normally wouldn't buy just to see if the idea grows on me.
3. Create a Photo Album. For each vacation I create a separate photo album on my phone. All those screenshots get saved to that album so I can go back and sort through it later. Depending on how much time we have until the trip, this process could go on for a while.
4. Favorites. Once we're almost ready to actually shop, I get Superman to sit down with me and look through the album. He clicks the heart icon (favorites) on any outfit he really likes, which saves it to "favorites"! Now I can go through and favorite the ones I really love and that narrows it down a ton! If I still need to narrow it down from there, I just head into the favorites folder and un-heart anything I decided against.
5. COUPONS BABY!!! Then it's time to brainstorm or google search coupons for the shops we decided to buy from! Sometimes I get super lucky (like this last time) and they happen to be having a 50% off sale but usually even on full priced items you can find a 15% off coupon code somewhere. A lot of times a blogger I follow has posted a 25% off coupon code at some point and I just need to go look on their feed to get it. Those are easy to forget but can save a ton. Collect those coupons!
6. Shopping Time. Finally the easy part! Shopping!
I probably take shopping way more seriously than most. But I just don't want to end up with a bunch of stuff we don't need. I'd much rather take the time up front to make decisions than spend time on the back end returning items or dealing with customer service! We all know how that can go! lol!
Hope this helps!
In Part 2 I'll talk about planning activities on our trip, the actual packing process and planning travel activities for the kids!! ;-) Let me know if there's something else you'd like me to share in Part 2!
Thanks for reading!