Wow, did the weekend fly by or what?! Luckily, Monday did too, and we are already well into the week. Before you know it, it will be Thanksgiving then Christmas, and we'll be beginning a new year in no time! I'm not quite ready for the new year though, there is still so much to be done before our babies come, most important being getting moved into our new home. Patience is not my virtue right now, or anytime for that matter. But alas, I must wait. Thankfully, I have plenty to focus on between now & then, especially this little slice of my world. I have so many great posts planned for the blog, and I'm especially excited for today's— itinerary planning tips!
Planning an itinerary for your long awaited trip can seem to be a booger, but with my tips you can have it planned in a breeze. Now remember when you book with me, I do all of the work for you—no headache necessary! But if not or if you love the planning process yourself, here are some tips that can help you take the worry out of planning.
Make a List of Must See/Do
Start by making your list of must see and do places/attractions. Do you want to walk by and see a specific building? Do you want to spend time browsing a renowned museum? Do you want to spend the day seeing as many different beaches as you can? Write them all down!
Put Your List in Order of Importance
Here's where you have to be realistic. List your must see/do list in order of what is most important to you. Will you have enough time to see all of the places on your list? What is the most important to you—what will you regret not seeing? Put those at the top of the list, then work your way down to the "oh that would be nice to see, but I won't be devastated if I don'ts".
Determine Attractions Hours
What are the hours of operation for your must see places? I like to make special note of places that open very early or stay open later in the day. Is that museum you want to check out open later on specific days? I also try to look at what will be the most popular spots, i.e. Pearl Harbor Memorial on Oahu or the Empire State Building in New York, and make those the first stops of the day as they are less likely to be as crowded when they first open.
Arrange According to Location
This step is the most important to me in making sure I get the very most out of my time at a destination. I don't want to waste time walking by the same places more than once or doing too much back tracking. So, I use Google Maps to list my must see/dos in order by location. You can put in more than one destination in Google Maps, and move them around in location order.
Fine Tune & Finalize
From here, I break things down by days, and tweak & fine tune my itinerary. I begin by putting the most popular spots at the beginning of the day, then plan the remainder accordingly by location. Lastly, I fill in any items from the bottom of my must see list that I may happen to pass or might have extra time for.
Most importantly, when traveling enjoy your vacation & be flexible! While you're away, you may realize you didn't allow enough time at certain places or allotted too much time at others. This may result in some things being cut, some extra time for the things at the bottom of your list, OR time for things you hadn't planned at all. Even with itinerary in hand, it is important to keep an open mind, be flexible, and keep your focus on enjoying yourself & your destination!
Sample Itinerary for a Day in New York City
Explore Central Park
Go to Rockefeller Center
Shopping & Lunch in Rockefeller Center
Top of the Rock Observatory
Rockefeller Center Tour
Explore & Tour St. Patrick's Cathedral
Dinner at Rockefeller Center
View the Rockefeller Plaza Christmas Tree
Performance by the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall
Sample Itinerary for exploring beaches in Maui
Drive to Makena Beach (the farthest you can go by rental car)
Explore Makena Beach (Big Beach & Little Beach—if you are brave)
Drive to Wailea
Enjoy relaxing at Wailea Beach
Drive to Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge
Explore the refuge & Sugar Beach
Drive to Kehei
Shop & have lunch
Drive along highway, stopping at various beaches & look outs along the way
Stop in Lahaina to view the harbor and neighboring island
Arrive in Kaanapali & check out the beach
Shop & have dinner at Whaler's Village
Drive to Napili Bay
Relax & Snorkel
Drive to D.T. Fleming Beach for the last stop of the day
I can tell you my itineraries never go 100% as planned, but without them I would be wandering aimlessly wasting too much of my precious vacation time. Hopefully these tips will keep you from wasting time, and help you get the most out of your time on your next vacation!
Happy Sunday! I hope you are having a good weekend. Mine is going by way too fast, but I seem to be getting a lot accomplished. We are working on final touches in our new home, like flooring, door knobs, and hardware, so hopefully it won't be long before we are moving in. I hope once we get to move in I'll start feeling much better, more in control of "things", and have something concrete for my mind to focus on. Tiny house living is definitely not for me, plus all I want to do is nest and prepare a nursery, but that all must wait a few more weeks.
Anyway, I'm excited to start sharing my trip to Memphis, Tennessee from earlier this year, and today I'm starting with an itinerary for visiting this fun & unique city for a weekend trip. We spent 2 full days in Memphis, and though there was still so much more to see, we managed to hit most of our must haves. To make your quick trip to Memphis easy to plan, check out this sample itinerary for 48 hours in Memphis.
Day One in Memphis
Began your first morning bright and early to get a head start on the crowds at Graceland. We spent over half a day perusing the massive compound. We covered every nook & cranny from Graceland itself, the mansion's acreage, the new state of the art complex across the street that houses Elvis' cars, costumes, and more. We even enjoyed lunch at Gladys' Diner, hot PB & banana sandwich of course. After exploring Elvis Presley's Graceland, head downtown to catch the show at the Peabody Hotel. Every morning & afternoon, the famous Peabody ducks make their way from the roof top to the hotel lobby then back up again. Even adults are sure to love seeing the ducks swim in the fountain, then make their grand return to the elevator along their red carpet! Grab a drink at the posh lobby bar & take in all of the beautiful design & architecture while you wait on the show.
To top off the day, head to the alley adjacent to the Peabody, and enjoy charcoal ribs at Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous joint. The building itself is something to be admired, with memorabilia and signed photographs from everyone from the Rolling Stones to George W. Bush, not to mention the amazing architecture. The food itself is some of the best barbecue I've ever had. It is true Memphis style with dry rub so skip the sauce! I will warn you though, you might want to go back again it is so good. Trust me, it is worth the wait in line! Be sure to check their hours before you go. They aren't open everyday.
Close out the night with a stroll down Beale Street, not far from downtown. Enjoy shopping in the odd & end boutiques, delicious drinks, or just take in the various styles of music while you make your way down & back again. Memphis truly is a beautiful place for music. It is the birthplace of Rock & Roll after all!
Day Two in Memphis
After a good nights sleep in your comfy hotel, I recommend The Guesthouse at Graceland for its great location, be ready to hit the ground running for your last full day in town! Continue the Rock & Roll theme from the day before, and start your day at Sun Studio. This legit record studio is still up and running, but also offers tours to the public. Many famous names, including the Million Dollar Quartet made their start here. You'll hear rich history of those famous four, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins, and more during your tour through the studio. They also supposedly have the microphone that Elvis recorded his first song on. Who's to say I really believe it is the one though! At any rate, its fun to think so! I loved hearing stories of days gone by at Sun Records, and hearing how some artists still pop in to record from time to time. Sun Studios is a very fun place that is definitely worth checking out during your visit to Memphis!
After grabbing lunch, head on to the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel. I must say, I was apprehensive about visiting here, but I am so grateful I did! You'll see the very motel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot & killed, the Greyhound bus that was infamously lit on fire all in the name of racism, and Rosa Parks' very seat on the very bus where she changed the world. The photographs, the first hand accounts, the detailings & conspiracy theories of MLK Jr.'s assassination are all worth learning about. Though I cannot fathom what people of color have endured and continue to endure in our country, I walked out of that museum with a clearer understanding of the problems of our nation. I highly recommend taking the time to visit this incredible museum. You will not regret it!
For dinner, we actually made our way to Dale's in Southhaven, Mississippi. It was less than a 3o minute trek from Memphis, and we were so glad we made the journey! Dale's Restaurant is the epitome of southern cooking. Fried chicken, turkey & dressing that tastes like grandmas, and oh the incredible, just like Nana made it banana pudding! Dale's will be on my radar when I get the chance to return to Memphis!
To end the trip, check out what is showing at the Orpheum Theatre. We were luckily enough to catch the Broadway musical Beautiful: The Carole King Musical for the low price of $30 each during our visit! The show was a last minute, day of pick, and boy were we in for a treat! Concerts and Broadway shows are a regular occurrence at the theatre, so I recommend checking out their schedule for your visit. The theater itself is worth checking out. It boasts beautiful architecture, stunning chandeliers, and marquee signs to boot!
With this quick itinerary, you're sure to squeeze in all of the hot spots in Memphis. What else would I have loved to have done? Exploring historic cemeteries, a visit to St. Jude's Research Hospital, and a ride on the mighty Mississippi in a famous Memphis riverboat. Perhaps you can squeeze those into your visit, but, for me, they'll be waiting for that next trek to the birthplace of Rock & Roll!