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There are three aspects of travel I enjoy:  planning and looking forward to a trip, the trip, the lasting memories. 

Here are some tips based on what I've learned planning my own travel:
  • Decide where you want to go or when you will be able to travel.  The time of year can make a big difference in what the weather will be like and what you will be able to do.
  • Visit a library to obtain travel guides and research visitor's information on the internet.  You will often be able to order travel planning brochures or download information on-line.
  • Learn the three letter designation for your local airport and your destination.  This will make it easier to use online resources to check flights.  For example, Chicago O'Hare is ORD.
  • Use on-line tools to research the cost of flights.  By using flexible date options, you might find that moving your travel dates by a day or two will save you a lot of money.
  • Consider other nearby airports as the flights to those may be less expensive.
  • You may want to use fare alerts to send you e-mails advising of low fares.
  • Using the information from your travel guides and visitors info, make a list of the things you want to see and do and on what days.  It helps to put this in an electronic document.  That way, you can edit and move things around more easily.
  • If traveling with others, make certain to get their input and include something for everyone.
  • If your travel includes a Monday, check to see if the attractions and restaurants will be open.  Many places are closed on Monday's.
  • Once you have an idea of what you want to do, you can select hotels near those things.
  • Use online resources such as Trip Advisor to help select hotels.  Flights and rental cars are all about the same, but hotels are more unique in their cleanliness, service, location, amenities, etc.  Reading reviews and ratings from other people is a really good way to find out about different hotels and help you decide.
  • Book your air travel and hotels as early as possible.  In general, prices go up as you get closer to the travel date.
  • Tickets for some shows and attractions can only be purchased in advance, if you wait until you arrive they will be sold out for those days. 
  • Once you reach your destination, you don't have to stick to the plan you've built.  Often something will happen that will cause you to change plans.  The information you have prepared will help in making quick adjustments.

Here are some helpful links:

Cheap Tickets

Expedia

Funjet

Gayot

Hotels.com

Kayak

Priceline

Roadfood

Southwest Airlines

Travelocity

Trip Advisor

Zomato

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John Ishee