Now that the airfare is confirmed it’s time to reserve hotels right? Not quite yet. At least that is not my order of planning. My next step is to spend a little time researching what sights I want to see and activities I may want to do. This allows me to find hotels closer to the places I want to spend time at helping eliminate transportation time and possibly costs. Also, if there is something that you want to accomplish while in your place of destination but require reservations in order to assure you get to do it such as a Red Sox game at Fenway or watch the Celtics in the TD Garden you have a little head start on others giving you a better chance to do that activity. In our case it was eating at the Union Oyster House. We probably could have made it in there without the reservations but we may have had to wait and spend more time to get in taking away from other sights.
Since Boston is such a historic city we definitely wanted to visit it’s past. A very quick web search brought up the Freedom Trail which included most of the places we wanted to see. Looking over each sight on the Freedom Trail we prioritized the list because there are so many stops on the trail and there wasn’t enough time to really see all of them and have time to do other things. One of my other high priority stops was the Bull & Finch pub used as the basis for the hit comedy Cheers. Now that I know what sights we wanted to see I searched for hotels closer to those destinations and figured out modes of transportation while in Boston. Boston has a pretty good train network allowing you to get around to many of the key places. Also, take it from me, driving in downtown Boston is quite stressful due to the traffic and narrow streets.
*Money Saving Tip: Many hotels will give you a reduced rate if you book them online and pay for them in advance. This can save up to 20% if you know that is where you will be staying. Be warned, once you pay in advance there is no canceling these reservations.
For us, we chose to stay in one hotel for a couple of days and on our last night move to a different hotel which provided a shuttle to the airport the next morning. Taking some time to plan what we wanted to do in Boston allowed us to see what we wanted and do what we wanted. Each hour was not planned but just a general idea of things to do that day. The exception was dinner reservations which had a finite time. Knowing your goals ahead of the adventure can help fulfill your needs for your vacation which does require a little bit of research and planning.
To Read further on exploring Boston check out these pages:
The Freedom Trail
Finally, our vacation has arrived. Better hurry and pack because the flight is early tomorrow and we need to get going in order to avoid missing the plane. Once you’ve arrived at your destination it’s time to find a hotel and check before deciding which sights to see. It seems that the fast pace at which our lives move, the trips we take have become shorter. How can you take in all of the sights with very little time? With only a few days to relax and see the sights a little planning will help.
It took a little time to make to flight arrangements or a driving plan to arrive at your destination. Doesn’t it make sense to spend a little bit of time to figure out what you want to do and where you want to stay once you’ve arrived at that destination? I understand that it’s no vacation if you have every hour of each day planned. That is not what I’m writing about here. Let me go through an example of planning our adventure to Boston.
Our very first objective was to look over transportation cost to Boston. Since we were leaving from Minnesota and time was a factor flying was determined to be our best choice of getting to Boston. After figuring out we would be flying, it was time to pick the dates.
*Money saving tip: flying on a Tuesday or Wednesday can save a significant amount of money. Often times we save enough money to stay an extra night in a hotel and then some.
I use sites like Expedia and Kayak to find which airlines and which dates are the most affordable. Sometimes I will go directly to the airlines website if I’m trying to use rewards to help reduce our overall flight costs. If you fly frequently enough, signing up for rewards programs either through credit cards and/or the airlines can really help keep costs down especially in these times of higher airfares. Yes, it does require some extra time to sign up for and earn these rewards as well as use these rewards but it can be worth it.
Let me provide and example: on our trip to Boston in 2011 we were able to get 4 airfares from Minneapolis for $500. Without our rewards programs it would have cost us almost $400 per airfare for a total of $1600. That’s over a $1,000 in savings! This required us to use 2 different rewards programs which can be a little tricky when booking the flights if you want to get everybody on the same flight. You need to first check each program and which flights are available through each to find which one match and then go through and book them selecting seats next to each other. This is some of the extra time required to use these programs. For those that are saying sure you could do that in 2011 but costs have gone up since then, We recently booked 4 fares from Minneapolis to Seattle for $500 this summer so it’s still possible.
To Continue Reading for more tips click here….
As one year ends and another begins I like to reflect on the events of the previous year. On what worked well, things that did not go so well, and maybe even pass briefly over those memories that are better off forgotten. Why do this? For me, I imagine myself much older and unable to do the things I can now. When I get to that point in life I want to have as few regrets as possible. Whether that be things I regret doing or things I would regret not doing. Reflecting on the past year helps to find things to improve upon or objectives I did not meet as well as those I did. Once I figure this out I can determine why I did or did not meet those goals and what I need to change for the next year. The ultimate goal is to end the year completing all of my objectives unable to improve upon them. Well, I’m sure we all can guess how many years go by that I can improve on nothing else. NEVER!
Last year was almost a blur if went by so fast. Every year one of my goals is always to take a beautiful summer day and watch the clouds float by enjoying a light breeze and the sounds around. I may have forgotten to do that in 2011. Fortunately there were some nights sitting by the campfire after everyone else had turned in for the night watching the fireflies and enjoying the peace of the moment. Watching the world go by for at least part of a summers day is yet again one of my goals for 2012. Along with that, a trip to California to explore Yosemite and a week in Northern Minnesota/Michigan camping in Isle Royale and possibly Voyageurs National Park are on the list of places to experience. Travel tends to be a fairly high priority in my house so many of our goals are centered around that. There are objectives to provide as many experiences for Lysa and Kristy without over doing it. They are still kids and need to spend some time being one.
There are home improvement goals, financial goals, and professional goals to go with the objectives decided on for travel. It is fun for me to look at what we accomplish in a year and sometimes there is disbelief that certain goals are met. I tried the New Years resolution for a couple of years and decided that setting goals was more encouraging and ultimately more successful.