Travel Planning | Planning for a Trip Using Your Planner + Other Travel Tips

Happy Monday, Planner People!

I have spent my whole weekend planning for a romantic getaway to Niagara Falls with Adam and I thought I'd share with you some of the ways I use my personal planner to plan my trips and stay organized during vacations. At the end, I also add some tips I like to use to get the most out of a trip of vacation that aren't necessarily planner related.

The weekly kit I am using for that week is the Summer Carnival Kit by LaceAndLogos on Etsy. This is a printable kit to fit the Erin Condren Life Planner, but fits (width wise) within the Happy Planner boxes. Personally, I kind of prefer using Erin Condren sized stickers for my Happy Planner because it provides me with more space for functional stickers or writing space. 

I chose this kit because of how adorable it was and it matched perfectly with the theme of my trip. While I'm not technically going to a carnival, Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls is basically like a street-long carnival with rides, mini putting, a giant ferris-wheel, ice cream shops, funnel cakes, and all the carnival goodies + a bunch of other awesome attractions. We are staying in a Hotel that is walking distance from Clifton Hill so I just thought this kit would go so well with that week's adventure. Plus, it was a super inexpensive printable with minimal functional stickers and lots of decorative stickers, so I could focus more on writing down my plans than jotting lists and tasks while making the week look super cute. 

An absolute must-have in my planner for vacations or trips is a "Vacation Washi" sticker to mark down the days I am away. I make these myself, but you could obviously use washi you have on hand or scrapbook paper to do this, as well. I just love doing this to remind myself how long I was away, if I ever look back at that spread, later on, for memory sake. I also sell a Stay-cation washi sheet in my shop.

I also track my hydration and work-outs. Even if I'm on vacation, that doesn't give me an excuse to slack on progress. Especially since I am away for four days, stopping my workouts for half a week will throw me off my workout daily routine. Hydration, no matter where you are, is very important. If anything, I try to drink more water than usual on trips, because of how much exploring in the sun I will be doing during this trip. 

For each day I am away, I like to use a Half Box to write a brief summary of that day's plans. That way, it is a quick reference to what I am doing, how I should dress, or what I should bring when I leave the hotel suite. 

On little page flags, I like to write plans for that specific day. I know sometimes plans change, so it is an essential to me--especially while planning this far ahead of time--to just mark them on page flags and later mark them permanently into my planner when plans are finalized. For the flags that say "Tubbing", it is just a reminder to myself that we have a Jacuzzi Tub in our hotel room and we could end the night like that if we do not find plans to do on the town that evening. 

At the top (sorry, I know the trackers are so faint--it is just the lighting of the photo), I also like to use meal trackers. Even though I am not cooking dinner, I like to use meal trackers to remind myself where/what I had (for) dinner that night. It is more for memorabilia, I'd say, but while I'm on trips, my inner-foodie goes wild. These could also be used to write down reservations you've made at restaurants. 

For plans that do not necessarily have a date specific to them--like attractions I want to see, but have not bought tickets for yet--I write them on page flags and keep them in the side bar. Some of these are also attractions that come with our couples package (like the wine tour, the chocolate tasting and the casino credits) that can be used at anytime during our trip.

The very top of my planner spread I reserved space for important notes to self or finalized plans. Check-in/out times, for example, are something important that you'd want to see immediately as you open your spread. Finalized plans, especially plans that have a time frame, are also things you'd want to see immediately when you first open that week's spread. 

Finally, keep your important documents in your planner. This includes travel accommodations information, maps, attraction tickets, travel tickets, etc. Anything you don't want to lose. They way I see it, if you were ever robbed, a person would go for your wallet--a place where most people keep this important information. I don't think a person would try to rob you of your planner--unless they really wanted your planner--but even so, you've probably already used a good chunk out of it. This way, you won't lose this information. If you are travelling by plane, your planner is probably with you on your carry on, anyways, so you won't lose it that way, either. 

In addition to all of these planner tips, here are some general travel planning tips, I have picked up, that do not necessarily involve a planner: 
  • Consider an Airbnb. Sometimes, Airbnb's are cheaper and provide you with more space/freedom. When I go away for events for my University, for example, I always travel with an airbnb because it usually provides me with a kitchen and usually costs far less than I would have paid if I used a hotel. I always share my Airbnb referral code, at the end of every post, if you'd like $26 off your first travel. 
  • Travel with Groupon. If you can't find an Airbnb, I'd suggest trying a website like Groupon. You can book your travel dates right on the website, you get a pretty good deal for accommodations, and much of the time your accommodations come with vouchers for attractions or dining in the area. You can also get discounted travel deals with websites such as Wagjag and Living Social
  • If you end up traveling with Groupon, don't forget to use Ebates. Ebates is a website that gives you cash-back for online purchases. When you purchase with Groupon, you get 15% cash back. I know websites like this are kind of sketchy, but in my personal experience, it has worked. I have gotten "Big Fat Checks' from them before and the money does deposit into my bank account. It is important to note though, that if you are Canadian, the money you accumulate is in USD. That being said, you probably want to consider either opening up a US Checking Account with your bank (I know CIBC and TD do it) or else you will have to pay a conversion fee. If you are interested in joining Ebates, I also share my referral link for this website at the end of every post.
  • Grocery Shop. Before you leave, take note of any grocery shops located near your hotel. If you know your accommodations have a fridge, take advantage of this. This will save you a lot of money--instead of buying take-out every meal--and you will know (somewhat) what goes into what you are eating. If you have a stove, even better, because you can cook yourself healthy meals at half (or more) the restaurant costs.
  • Pharmacies and Convenience Stores. Before you leave, also take note of any pharmacies and convenience stores near your hotel, as well. If you forgot anything (shampoo, soap, razors, Advil, bug spray, sunscreen, etc.) it will be much cheaper to get them at a pharmacy or convenience store than at the little shop downstairs of your hotel.
  • Research free local events. If you're looking for something fun to do while away, go on the tourism website and you're bound to find free events in the area.

This is overall how I use my planner to assist me in planning a trip or vacation. How do you use your planner to plan getaways? Also, for anyone who has been to Niagara Falls (Canadian Side), do you have any suggestions of places Adam and I should check out that I do not have listed in my planner? I'd love to hear them down below in the comments! 

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