Summary: There are few things we don’t use the internet for these days. But when it comes to planning your next getaway, we’d hedge a bet that you’re not using the web to its full potential. We’ve got 5 easy ways to build a better vacation, all from the comfort of your own home. Plus: it’ll help you get 30% more enjoyment from your trip. Ready to find out how?
It’s officially summer and for many of us, that means vacation time. After a few years of restricted travel, we can confirm we’ve got cabin fever. If you’re looking for a change of scenery — but don’t know where to start — may we suggest: the internet. Pro tip: make sure you have reliable, high-speed home internet so it’s easier to, ahem, leave your home.
Skip the drive to AAA or the guidebook orders. Save some money and time and get our best tips. Then enjoy scheduling your OOO message.
Find a Travel Blogger
If you’re not subscribed to a travel magazine, find a travel blogger instead. If you have a specific destination in mind, do a quick search of “Destination name + blog” and you’re sure to come up with a variety of reviews, suggested itineraries, and more.
If your destination idea is more along the lines of “Anywhere but here!” simply search “Best Travel Blogs.” You’ll even be able to find blogger recommendations for other travel outlets. So you can officially get lost in the research.
Many bloggers also have a social media presence (Instagram tends to be a favorite), so check their profiles there, too. Which brings us to our next tip…
Hit “Follow” on Social Media
Whatever your social media platform of choice, there’s a travel account. Whether you’re going for name-brand luxe, like Conde Nast Traveler, or a more budget-friendly vibe, there’s something for everyone.
If there’s not a specific account that speaks to you, try following a hashtag. Some popular options are:
Even if you’re not actively planning a trip, you can always save ideas for later. Instagram has a “save” feature (tap the bookmark icon on the bottom right of a post and save it to a general or specific folder). Favorites are all dumped into one massive folder, but bookmarks can be organized into collections (think: recipes, tutorials, travel, and products). Twitter Blue has a bookmark and folder feature as well, but there are other suggestions of free apps to use if you don’t want to subscribe. In the Facebook app, click the three dots on the top of a post to save it (this also works for videos). TikTok functions similarly: when you want to save a video, you can either tap the heart (favorite) or the bookmark icon on the right-hand side. Pinterest also allows you to drag and drop posts onto your boards. While most pins will take you to a different site, it can be a more visual way to organize interesting pages instead of your browser’s “favorites” bar.
Compare Travel Prices
Depending on how much time you have (and where you’re heading), the “Should we drive or should we fly?” debate may already be decided. But if you’re weighing your options, start comparing prices.
- How much gas will you need?
- What’s the average price of gas?
- How much is a flight?
- Are your days at all flexible so you can take advantage of cheaper airfare opportunities?
Some of our favorite ways to compare flights are Google Flights, Tripadvisor, and Skyscanner. Of course, you can also book directly through the airline if you’re brand loyal. And if you’re interested in flying Southwest? You’ll have to look on their site. They don’t allow their information to be sold to any aggregators or third-party websites.
Of course, if you have a credit card with travel rewards, that’s always a good place to start.
If you’re not sure how much gas you’ll be using, turn to Roadtrippers. Roadtrippers lets you build your route, offers stops along the way, and give estimates of gas cost (you can specify auto vs. RV), mileage, and time. If you’re not sure where you’d like to go, they also have a variety of guides. Plus, you can download their app for when you’re on the go.
Get to Your Destination Faster with Streaming
If you’re more a visual or auditory learner, consider streaming new information about your destination. Whether it’s watching a documentary on your favorite streaming service or listening to a podcast, you’re sure to learn something new.
Even if it’s a news-oriented show instead of travel recommendations, you’re sure to have a better time understanding more of the context while on your adventure.
Get Ready to Go Offline
Once you’ve done all your research and set up your itinerary, it’s time to go offline. If you’re traveling internationally, downloading materials in advance can help save money on expensive international mobile data. But even if you’re driving through the states, there will probably be areas that your cell service disappears.
Consider downloading the materials you know you’ll need so you don’t have to panic if you hit a dead zone.
- Offline Maps: regardless of what map service you prefer, you can download routes to be available offline. This can be a lifesaver if you’re without service and don’t want to miss your turn. (Of course, you can also take a paper map — but this is easier.)
- Download podcasts and shows: download your favorite shows, movies, and podcasts for some extra entertainment on the way. You’ll thank us when the in-flight entertainment won’t work or you just can’t fall asleep at the roadside hotel.
- Load up your ereader: We love a backpack full of books as much as the next person. But loading your ereader with new books (whether they’re about your destination, guidebooks, or just a fun beach read) will save you tons of space — and potentially money if that hardback was going to put your suitcase over the weight limit.
- Your schedule: However you’re organizing your plans, make them available without an internet connection. Microsoft Office and Google Docs both have options to make a document available offline. This goes for any reservations you have, too. Either download confirmation emails or take a screenshot — just make sure it includes your confirmation number and reservation times.
Having all of these materials downloaded lets you skip printing at FedEx but keeps you covered in case the internet is spotty or just unavailable.
Did you know that 30% of your happiness from an experience comes from anticipating it? And another 30% comes from remembering it? Don’t get in the way of your own happiness! Lean into the planning and anticipation, and don’t be afraid to document that trip. Even if you keep the photos and videos to yourself or a few close friends, instead of your whole social media network, it will result in a happiness boost.
To squeeze all the benefits out of your adventures, make sure your internet connection can keep up. EarthLink offers fiber internet speeds up to 5 Gigs with no data caps, so there’s no limit to what you can do or the trips you can plan.