The best vacations are a mix of adventurous and effortless. But even before the adventure begins, half the fun can be getting ready for a trip! While not everyone loves planning, travel planning is one of our favorite things to do. On top of creating itineraries and finalizing travel plans, we love preparing for a trip. There’s so much to do (in a good way), whether it’s buying destination-appropriate outfits, doing a little self-care, downloading books, or crafting perfect vacation playlists. Here are a few of our favorite ways to get ready for a trip. 

MAKE YOUR TRAVEL ITINERARY

Travel going according to plan must start with a plan! Start by taking your travel days and filling in the days’ activities with your top must-do’s for each destination. Instead of walking you through our step-by-step process here, we wrote another entire post about how to make a killer travel itinerary with methods we swear by for every trip. Don’t you love it when things go to plan? Time to build a good one! 

BUILD EXCITEMENT WITH THEMATIC BOOKS, TV SHOWS, AND MOVIES

So you booked the trip! Congratulations! As you’re busy making your travel itinerary, keep the excitement and anticipation alive by reading books or watching shows or movies filmed in, set near, or generally about your destination. If the content isn’t about your destination exactly, try to find things about the country around it, or at least ones that capture the vibe of the trip you’re going on.

Binge Bridgerton before a trip to the U.K, read The Paris Apartment before your trip to France or reminisce your Y2K Lizzie McGuire on a Vespa with Paolo dreams in Rome before your trip to Italy. There’s no better way to keep dreaming and getting inspired about your upcoming destination than to consume travel-related content. 

BOOK YOUR PET OR HOUSE SITTER

Remember your precious pets during the excitement! Because we have a habit of jumping on cheap flight deals and figuring out “the how” after we’ve booked the flights, we tend to figure out our pet care situation as we plan our trip. Thankfully, we’re always at peace about who will watch after our dog and cat, Annie and Sadie Cat, because we have a Trusted House Sitters membership.

This is our favorite pet-sitting platform that matches your home and pets with traveling sitters who are ready and excited to swap their pet-sitting services free of charge for your cozy home and lovable pets. So instead of paying a hefty fee for scary kennels, your fur kids get to stay home as you get to travel. We have an entire blog about why we love Trusted House Sitters and can’t recommend it enough. 

USE PINTEREST FOR DESTINATION & OUTFIT INSPO

But what are we wearing?? One of the most fun parts of travel planning before packing is gathering inspiration about the destination’s environment, what there is to do, and what the vibes could be or feel like. We love building Pinterest mood boards for collecting thoughts on how the vibe of our future vacation destination will feel and packing inspiration.

Before you go out and shop for things you don’t need or wouldn’t be a fit for the timeframe and location, curate your ideal mood board first. Then, shop your own closet to take inventory of what you have versus your absolute must-try pieces for vacation.

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT GEAR & GOODS

Do you have what you need now that you’ve shopped in your closet? If you need linen dresses for an August vacation to Italy or ski pants for a trip to northern Finland, it’s time to do a little retail shopping. Gear and goods include anything from suitable clothing for the destination to travel accessories like 3 oz liquids tubes to a properly functioning suitcase.

We are carry-on only travel people because we like to hop around locations often and travel light. Still, it’s essential to always ensure you have the best gear for an incredible vacation. Here our a few of our favorite carry-ons and backpacks for traveling light

Whenever we find we need a few more pieces before our vacation, we love to first shop at local thrift stores to see if we can find any gems. Depending on our luck there, we’ll often round out our needs with inevitable target runs or amazon orders. It also never hurts to allocate extra time and money to spend in your destination to shop for those essential pieces! What a souvenir, right?

GROOMING, MAINTENANCE, & A LITTLE SELF-CARE

Regardless of your typical maintenance level, everybody could use at least a little form of grooming before vacation!

  • For nails: try to go two to three days before you leave. This way, you leave time the day before to finish up your home prep and packing, but only a little time to where your nails will start to grow out before the trip. This rule also applies to any hair removal or self-tanning plans and appointments you might have. 
  • For hair: schedule an appointment a week before your trip. This way, you’ve grown comfortable with the change and know how to style it, but the look is fresh and new.
  • For skin: Take care of your skin by scheduling a facial at least three days before a trip so you’re glowing and ready to go.
  • Post-travel: preschedule a chiropractor appointment and/or massage for when you get back from your trip since you’ll inevitably need a readjustment after traveling. 

CREATE A PLAYLIST FOR THE JOURNEY

Okay, Kait here, and I have a confession…or is it more like an obsession? I make too many Spotify playlists. Before I leave for any trip, I make sure to have three playlists ready – one for taking off in the airplane, one for landing, and one for a while you’re in the destination.

  • My “taking off” playlists: typically consist of songs to keep me calm and level-headed after surviving the airport. From boarding until the first food or drink service, I play positive and calm tunes from Birdy, Bon Iver, Sleeping at Last, and the Lumineers playing on repeat.
  • My “landing” playlists: reflect the destination. They get me in the mood and right headspace for the adventure ahead. Mindset is everything! For example, suppose I’m on a flight to Canada to explore Montréal for the weekend as I’m planning for the trip. In that case, I’ll create a landing in Canada playlist that includes any songs that directly mention Canada or any Canadian city. This method works well with New York, New Orleans, Miami, and Italy. The landing playlist for some destinations can get…silly. Ha!
  • My “destination” playlists: when I’m in the actual destination. I create playlists based on what people in that place are listening to on repeat, bands from the area, and songs that sound like the vibe in the destination. I find it’s the perfect mood setter for getting ready in the morning, taking the trains, or simply relaxing on vacation. 

It’s just one more way to create passive memories and get a little more immersed in the destination and a great way to find musicians you might have never heard of before!

PRE-BOOK AIRPORT PARKING OR RIDE SHARE

If you’re flying out of town, this step will save you a lot of hassle and a little money. With the new ability to preschedule rides, there’s no need to stress yourself out by not knowing if any rides are available. Schedule your ride in advance, and a driver will pick you up at your allotted time. It’s kind of genius. If you’re driving yourself, most airports give discounts for pre-paying for parking at least 24 hours before you plan to arrive. 

And voila! Next thing you know, you’re heading to the airport or gassing up the car, and you’re on your way to your next great vacation. We encourage you to head out with a heart full of positive expectations and grace for yourself and your travel party, a curious mind ready to wander and learn, and a spirit of adventure with a dose of chill. We hope your big trip is full of plans that work out and spontaneous experiences that create memories you’ll smile back on for years to come. 

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