I have this secret travel weapon, and I’m about to let you in on it. As a professional traveler, I’m always planning three or four upcoming trips, plus saving trip inspiration for my future travels as well. How do I keep it all straight?
Trip Advisor! This is not sponsored, and you know I’m 100% honest on this blog with my opinions and real-life experiences. And honestly, Trip Advisor is the best travel planning tool out there. Here’s how to use it to plan your best travels every time!
Creating Your Trip
As soon as you know where you want to go, create your trip in Trip Advisor!
Create a Trip Advisor Account
If you don’t have one already, create one. It’s free, and every trip you create is private by default. You can make your trips public as you like, but you won’t have to worry about everyone knowing your itinerary unless you want them to!
More here: How to Get the Most Out of Every Trip
Click “Trips,” and then “Create a Trip”
All your trips will be in the same place, no matter how many you’re planning at one time. Once you’ve created a trip, that’s the place where all the things you want to do, places you want to see, accommodations you want to book, and places you want to eat will “live.”
Keep reading: 5 Trips for Positive Vibes
Choosing Your Activities
This is the fun part! This is where you dream, so save everything you want to your trip, and watch it come together!
Search for the Location You Want to Visit
I mocked up a trip to Egypt for this post. This is not a trip I currently have planned, but I went through my usual process of saving everything I want to do when I eventually visit the country.
More here: 10 Trips Every Traveler Should Take
Click the Heart to Save the Things You Want to Do
Once you’ve looked up the country or city you plan to visit, start saving! Look through lists of restaurants, attractions, museums, hotels, vacation rentals, etc. Whatever sounds good to you, click or tap on the heart in the white circle, and save it to your trip. Don’t worry about weeding out the things you think may not work out; you can do that later. For now, just save everything you want, or might want, to add to your trip.
Keep reading: The Top 5 Essentials for International Travel
Create Your Itinerary
Now that you’ve saved everything you want, you can start organizing. This is the time to see what’s too far away, what’s not worth it, what to save for your next trip, and what you can’t leave without doing. Trip Advisor has made creating your itinerary easy and intuitive!
Go to Your Trip
Click on “Trips” and then tap on the trip you just created. You’ll see a list of all the things you’ve saved to the trip, as well as–and this is the best part–a map! I love to see where things are located in relation to everything else, and I find it extremely helpful in knowing what to do on what day. For instance, I’m not going to try and see the Great Pyramids and the Luxor Temples on the same day–they’re hundreds of miles apart!
Keep reading: The World’s Most Underrated Destinations
Make Notes as Needed
This is one of my favorite features! I like to make note of opening times and days of the week, entry cost if applicable, or why it’s worth visiting. This is helpful so you’ll have a quick reference to see at a glance. You can even edit your notes later as well.
Click “Add Trip Dates”
Add your dates so you can start creating an itinerary for each day. You can use calendar dates (4/27, 4/28, or 4/29) or number of days (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3). I usually like to use number of days, but it’s up to you!
More info: How to Plan a Trip (Your Step-by-step Guide)
Click “Organize Your Trip”
This is the magic. Here, you can click “Add item” on each day and add the things you want to do on the same day, or, you can drag and drop each item to whatever day you want. This is where the map and notes are so handy: What’s close together? What’s open at the same time? What’s close to my hotel?
More here: How to Be Your Own Travel Advocate
On the App
View by Day
This is a feature of the app that does not seem to be available on the desktop version of the website, but it’s one of the things I use most! I’m a very visual traveler, so I like to see a map-style snapshot of my activities for the day. It’s very helpful for planning and general logistical purposes. Check it out!
Head to the Trip Advisor app and tap on “Plan” at the bottom. Tap on your trip, then tap on the map at the top of the screen. That will show you all your activities for the trip. Now, tap on one of the days of your trip. For instance, I tapped on “Day 1,” and I was able to see all of my activities for that day only! You can also move the map with your fingers, and tap on any green marker to see more information.
Essential info: The Best Apps for Travelers
Bring Your Friends!
You know I’m always happy to travel solo, but sometimes friends or family want to come along, too!
Add a Fellow Traveler
One of the best capabilities Trip Advisor has is to add fellow travelers. You can add anyone to your trip as long as they also have a Trip Advisor account, making it easy for everyone to know what the plan is. You can even choose whether or not others have the capability to make edits to the trip or simply see the trip without making edits. This is useful so that you and your travel buddy have the same information, or if your mom just wants to see what you’ll be up to on your trip.
Want more? Check out my dedicated Travel Planning Page for all the best tips to make all your future trips the best yet!
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