5 Musts When It Comes To Vacation Planning

It's no secret that I love love love to travel. The second we get home from a trip, I'm already planning our next vacation (incase you're curious, New York City - my favorite place in the whole world - is up next!). I feel like we've really nailed down a good planning system and I wanted to share it with ya'll!


Cole and I have a travel savings account that we both contribute to each month. It allows us to enjoy vacation to the fullest. We don't have to think twice about going to a nice restaurant and ordering the most expensive thing on the menu (think: $89 chicken at The Nomad in NYC....worth EVERY penny). When nothing is coming out of pocket, it makes vacation so much more stress-free. You can really live it up which, let's be honest, that's what vacation is all about.

Plan In Advance

I'm a little bit type-A when it comes to planning. I really like lists, but I like itineraries even more. Go ahead and laugh..... But seriously, planning out every day of your trip in advance is the best thing ever. It means you 1) won't waste time trying to make decisions on the go 2) can pack your outfits accordingly and 3) make the absolute most of every. single. minute of your trip.

My Google Doc spreadsheet columns start like this:

  • Must Do 
  • Maybe Do 
  • Must Eat 
  • Maybe Eat
  • Shopping

I always make sure to share them with Cole so we can both contribute. Then, we sit down together, sift through all of our options, and decide what items go on the "must" lists. After that, I put together an itinerary based on the neighborhoods of our "musts." It ensures that we never waste time going back and fourth between different areas. It also is really great when something is closed, has way too long of a wait or just doesn't work out...we still have a whole list of other places we'd like to try in the area that we can substitute, instead! It's so easy to rearrange your Google spreadsheet with the click of a finger.

Don't Overplan

I'm preaching to the choir here..... Coming from experience, you need a little time to rest and recoup each day. Vacation is supposed to be relaxing! It's not near as fun when you're exhausted and cranky. Scheduling a little down time at your hotel is a MUST. When in New York, we like to nap and shower before we go out for dinner and drinks each night. 

Also, always give yourself more time to do things than you think is necessary. This allows for you to take your time, not worry about long lines, and never feel rushed to get to your next activity. If you end up with a little extra time to spare, check that Google doc and see what else is close by. Or, just walk around and explore! Some of our favorite parts of vacation were merely spent getting lost with no place to go. 

Do Your Research

Before filling up our Google spreadsheet, we spend a LOT of time researching. We look at "best of" lists, we read blogs, we read menus, we [I] search Pinterest, we ask friends and family, we read reviews, we read and read and read until we know the best time to arrive, the best location to visit and the best item to order. It sounds really time consuming, but I love doing it because it gets me so excited for the trip and it ensures we'll get to experience the best!

Fit Some Normalcy In

There is nothing worse than being on vacation and not even wanting to touch the donut sitting in front of you. Been there, done that. If you're like us, your body is used to working out and eating healthy on the reg. When you throw in five days of indulging and not exercising, your body will go into shock and revolt! Scheduling a workout or two, as well as a few light/healthy meals, is a game changer. Whether you visit a local gym or simply go for a run through a cute neighborhood or park, it allows you to get to know the area on a whole new level. A light meal will help your digestive system balance out the multiple indulgences and not totally hate you. It might not be the best meal of the trip, but it lets you enjoy the fun meals that much more! 

So, there you have it. How to travel like The Martins. And seriously ya'll, don't knock the itinerary until you try it! 

Note: this post is not sponsored by Google. 

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