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Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Benefits of Pre-Trip Planning

Since I am a planner and I am very well organized, I tend to do a lot of research before any trip. Also, I prefer to have this type of thing out of the way beforehand, rather than doing it after we have left home! I am sharing a few suggestions that have served me well. Feel free to share your ideas, too, and let me know if you have any questions.

Take a look at the online Visitor's Bureau 
I always search for the visitor's bureau online for the area I will be visiting. I search by city, state, county, or any other keyword specific to the area we are traveling to. For example, when we visited the Gulf Coast in Florida, I searched for "Florida panhandle visitors" along with the names of the towns we were going to visit.

I then fill out the online form for any free brochures, maps, discounts, etc. for things we are interested in. I prefer to have items mailed because I am not a total smartphone user, and we sometimes make notes on printed maps of the area. Sometimes, I opt-in for email notifications, and sometimes not. I usually unsubscribe after our trip. I have found that doing this often makes us aware of things we did not know about, and you can find discounts, coupons, promotions, and information about special events.

Old Town Albuquerque, New Mexico
Before we visited Albuquerque, New Mexico, I submitted a request for a visitor's guide to be mailed to me (this always makes a good magazine for the plane ride, too). I found a coupon in the guide for Holiday Inn Express where we had planned to stay. The rate was $30 less than the AAA rate I had booked online! Amtrak often has coupons in their printed guides, which are not available online. Unfortunately, we have never found one for any of the routes we traveled, although I have seen them for other areas. We received many coupons when we visited Wisconsin Dells by subscribing to their emails and requesting a travel packet. These are just a few samples of things you can receive with a bit of research.