ultimate travel checklist
ultimate travel checklist

Taking an epic vacation can take a little planning. You will want to find the destination that is perfect for you, a safe place to stay and find a vacation that fits within your budget. This guide will give you the tips you need to plan the ultimate vacation with 10 steps. 

Pick the date

The first step to planning your vacation is to pick the date. For most people, especially families with kids you will have a date range to work with, spring break, winter break or summer break. Your date range will likely affect your decision on your destination. If you want to stay somewhere less crowded you will want to research the areas that might not be in peak season. But you will also want to make sure the weather is suitable for your vacation. 

Set your budget

Unless you hit the lottery, setting a realistic budget will be one of the big deciding factors for your vacation. Go into your travel planning knowing how much you can spend and make your plans from there. You might find out that you can afford to fly so an overseas trip might be out. Or you may find that it is cheaper to take a train and take a longer vacation. Just know your budget and be willing to do lots of research to be able to stretch that budget. 

Pick the destination

travel destination

Now here is where the fun begins. Picking the destination. Have a few places in mind and be willing to be flexible. Find the place that has the best weather for the time of year that you are traveling. Get specific when researching destinations. Pick out cities that you hope to visit and research the surrounding cities. You never know what hidden gems you will find. Be willing to think outside the box when choosing your destination. 

Book the flight (if needed)

Once you have your destination picked out you will want to start researching flights. Use Google Flights to find the cities with the cheapest rates to fly into. You can also set up alerts for Google Flights to let you know when there is a price drop. Give yourself a 30 day window to book the flight. You will be amazed at how much the prices on flights can vary from week to week. The Google Flights alerts might save you some major money.

Book the room

hotel room

Now that you have booked your flight it’s time to start thinking about where you want to stay. If you want to find a unique place Airbnb might be your best bet. If you want a standard hotel, check sites like Expedia, Travelocity and hotels.com for the best rates. If you are staying at a city with casinos this can be a good way to save some major money on hotel stays. Really dig in and have fun with this one. 

Make your wishlist

travel wishlist

Research the area where you are staying and start making a wish list of sites that you want to visit. If you are wanting to visit museums make sure you check their days and hours of operation to make sure you visit on days when they are open. When you are planning your wish list be flexible. You never know what sites you will find along the way. Don’t plan every hour of every day. Leave yourself some wiggle room.

Find places to eat

One of my favorite things about going on vacation is discovering some yummy places to eat. If you are adventurous find some local flavors. Do research and find the restaurants around you that have good ratings. Don’t be afraid to visit the little hole in the wall places. Try something new. 


Packing the essentials will keep your vacation on track. Pack all of the things you need like chargers, toiletries and comfortable shoes. Be sure to check the weather a week before you go to make sure you are packing clothes that are appropriate. And don’t over pack. You want to give yourself room to bring home some goodies. 

Saving money

If you are traveling within the United States go ahead and grab some gift cards to chain restaurants before you go. This will help you budget a little better and maybe even get some perks from buying the gift cards. If you have kids research where kids can eat free and plan your meals around those nights. Stop in at visitors center to grab some coupons. If you happen to have a 4th grader sign up for Every Kid Outdoors to get free admission to some of the amazing parks all around the United States. Do a Google search for free things to do in the area.

Have fun

The most important rule of travel is to have fun. Enjoy every moment of your vacation and be sure to laugh at the mistakes you make along the way. Take lots of pictures and videos. Be in the moment and have fun. 

travel checklist

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  1. We are hoping to do some traveling later this year and this list is so helpful! Thank you!

  2. Great checklist. I also love finding great places to eat while I’m on vacation. It’s probably one of the most fun parts for me. But obviously I travel to sightsee and not eat. Lol.

  3. I am totally going to utilize this checklist for our next family adventure. This is a great post.

  4. Planning travel is such a fun task for me. I hope to be able to do it again more later this year!

  5. As someone who often travels, this is a great checklist

  6. Definitely think it’s important to pick a place that fits your budget. Can make your trip much more enjoyable if you have the right funds to enjoy a trip! =)

  7. We are looking forward to planning our next vacation, especially in light of everything going on right now. It is good to be thorough and prepared.

  8. This is really helpful in travel planning. Since a lot of trips has been cancelled due to COVID-19, I am just so excited when these will all be over and we can travel once again. The tips that you shared come in handy. Thank you!

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