How to Plan for a Trip Using Technology

Written by
Julie Nelson

In May I purchased tickets for my partner and I to go on a vacation to the Pacific Northwest for a weeklong trip. I decided that we’d plan on hopping from state to state hitting up Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, BC. Since we were going to multiple states and countries we knew it was important to become well organized before our adventures began and we missed out on seeing things that were must-sees! Since technology surrounds my day to day activities at NEXTFLY, it was the first option I turned too.

Step 1
My first step was searching for flights. I decided I wanted to start in Portland and end our trip in Vancouver. My first stop was the Google machine to see what flights were available and the pricing around the dates I choose. I quickly found that Southwest.com had the best times for flights as well as pricing, but since Southwest doesn’t fly out of Vancouver, I’d have to find a different airline to take me home. Delta was my choice for the way back and their website was awesome because you were able to select the seat you wanted to be on, even if you had a layover. I chose aisle seats towards the front (I like being one of the first ones off the plane!)

Step 2
Knowing that I had to get from one city to another, I knew I either needed to get a rental car or find a bus or train to get me to my next destination. With the ease of traveling place to place with the help of Uber and Lyft, I knew that I’d be able to able to survive once getting to the city. Trains were also a relatively easy and inexpensive way of getting from place to place.

I looked toward Amtrak’s website to help me with next steps. I was told by an old Amtrak employee that I should sign up for their rewards emails, so I did that a few months in advance. They sent me emails saying that there were deals up to 25% off train rides to the Pacific Northwest for the train I was going on, so I was really excited to book my trip. That excitement quickly subsided when working with the Amtrak website. I went back and forth trying to make sure I wrote down all of the train details correctly because, each time the website would reset my trips and make me enter my information all over again. It took me about an hour to book my train ride AND I didn’t even get my discount, even though my ride had everything “needed” to meet the qualifications of the promotion. It was extremely frustrating.

Step 3
After figuring out transportation, I needed to book some hotels!…not. I’m a HUGE advocate of Airbnb since having a good experience with it on vacation in September of last year, so I booked all three of our places with via Airbnb. I based the location of things to do, cost, guest ratings, and if they were close to the train station/airport. All Airbnb hosts have been very nice up until this point, here’s to hoping our stay goes well!

Step 4
Time to discuss things to do! The best way for me to get started with this was Pinterest. I put a board together called “Pacific Northwest” and started adding all the things I wanted to do. As time went by, I started summarizing all the stuff I wanted to do on an Excel spreadsheet.

Step 5
As time went by, I realized that I wasn’t a huge fan of the Excel itinerary. It wasn’t as well organized as I was hoping, so I went to the one thing I knew I’d be carrying all trip, right by my side….my cell phone. I looked up “itinerary apps” and searched through a few. From Tripverse to Google Trips and even TripIt, I tried them all. I STILL haven’t found one that does all of the things I want so stay tuned for the result of this search. I’ll make sure to do a follow up blog on my experience with a itinerary app and if it was an epic fail or supreme success.

Right now, I feel like I’m at a good place, I have a week to go and lots of things coming together. I’m trying to stay as optimistic as possible but, internally, I’m kind of freaking out. This is the first big trip I’ve ever planned and am hoping that technology won’t let me down.

Wish me luck!

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