I’m back in New York as of yesterday after a whirlwind trip to Miami and am literally bursting to share photos, outfits and must see spots from our travels. It was Adam and I’s first time visiting Miami and the city turned out to be sensory overload in the best possible way. Around every corner was some new explosion of color and flavor of local life. Naturally, I did my best to dress for the occasion.
Whether your New Year’s resolution was to travel more or you’re just hoping to get ahead of the game – January is always my favorite time to start to dream about and ultimately begin to plan travel for the coming months. Since I follow a pretty specific game plan when it comes to making my far-flung fantasies a reality, I thought it might be helpful to share.
Step One: I like to begin here – on my Pinterest board of bucket list destinations near and far. I try to start to pick out a few that seem fairly doable (based on distance, expense, etc.) and one or two ‘reach’ destinations (that will require more savings, travel and time off work). I call these top picks my “wander-list” for the year.
Step Two: Next I look to my calendar and hone in on any locked in dates (this could be a friend’s upcoming wedding or a business trip) and also any locked out dates (a month that will be particularly busy at the office for instance).
Step Three: Begin to make matches between your “wander-list” and your calendar. I always do this with Google Maps open. Is that wedding only a short driving distance from a new city you’ve been meaning to check out? If you’re taking a long international flight, is there a day trip you could make while you’re there? This is also a good time to think strategically about scoring off-season prices or overlapping your trip with major local events (like Jazz Fest in New Orleans or Oktoberfest in Amsterdam). Weather is also a huge factor here.. think New York in the Fall or Paris in the Spring. I always take the time to research things like average rainfall for my destination during the month I’m looking to visit. While rainy days don’t necessarily equal a bad trip, I like to know what I’m getting into ahead of time.
Step Four: Once I’ve made matches and decided on destinations, I use Google Docs to make a to-do list and Google Calendar to create a coordinating time frame. The Google Doc makes it easy to add names of accommodations and additional details such as transportation or activity reservations as I make them (and share them with your travel buddies). And the Calendar is helpful for setting reminders on when to actually pull the trigger and book. Is it an international flight? I’ve found between 3-4 months out to be the sweet spot for finding the best deals while I allow no less than 1 month for domestic flights. Plus, if I know I’ve got 6 more months to save before I need to book a flight it makes it so much easier for me to make a realistic plan for doing so.
Step Five: Book away. I like to use Google Flights for initial searches and then usually hop over to Expedia to compare actual flights/book. As far as accommodations, I’m a huge fan of AirBnB for access to a more ‘local’ vibe and you usually get more space for your buck. Plus things like a kitchen or washer/dryer (if you’re going to be gone for more than a week or are traveling with little ones) can really come make all the difference. However if a luxe resort at a tropical locale or a hip little boutique hotel downtown are the style you’re shooting for – I love searching Tablet for ideas first and then comparing prices and reading additional reviews at Trip Advisor.
A few more pictures from this weekend at the lake because by this point in the work week I could really use someplace zen to stare at. I mentioned yesterday but there was the slightest hint of Fall in the air and so I’ve been starting to reach for pieces like this lightweight, silky cargo jacket to make the seasonal transition.
While I’m not wishing away Summer (I’ve still got a mile long bucket list to cross off!) – last weekend at the lake there was the tiniest hint of crisp Fall air in the mornings and at night. And it felt kind of great. Not least of all because I love dressing for that weather. Long-sleeved tees, bare legs, a light scarf, suede ankle boots.. the good stuff.
Last weekend Adam and I thought outside the typical dinner and a movie date night box. We were still at the lake house in the Pocono Mountains of PA (big on lakeside relaxation, short on trendy hotspots) and Adam took me to explore this old building he had spotted earlier in the weekend. It turned out to be Hawley Silk Mill, a total local treasure.