First off, I'm still so amazed that we have come so far since the beginning of our marriage in that we are able to have this vacation in the first place! For Corey and I, a REAL vacation seemed completely out of reach when we first got married, although we always dreamed of traveling the world together! Sometimes following your dreams requires putting your wants and needs into perspective. You don't by any means need to be "rich" to travel. Corey and I discovered this when we budgeted our income this year to see how we could maximize our savings for travel. Putting away a little at a time can definitely go a long way! Deciding how much you are able to put away is different for everyone. No matter if it is a few dollars, or a few hundred dollars, anything is helpful in making your travel dreams come true!
Yosemite was not an easy trip to plan for. I am always amazed when I see those people who just wake up and decide one day to take off and see the world. They throw a couple of t-shirts in their backpack, grab their camera, and MAYBE remember to grab the necessary hygiene products.
Okay...so not all of us are able to be adventurous in the sense of just going on a whim. I am definitely not one to tough it out in the wild with a tent and a dehydrated food (props to those who do!). For the rest of us "regular folk" who still want to be seen as free-spirited adventurers now and then, we need to find the perfect place to stay at our desired location, hopefully by using the almighty AirBNB!
So with that being said, here are a few tips for planning an awesome road trip for those of you who are planning a first-time "real" vacation!
1. START BOOKING EARLY
Unless you're doing that "roughing it" camping I was talking about earlier, you're going to want to book your stay with plenty of time ahead. Especially if you ever plan on going to a national park during the summer due to the high demands of tourists, you will probably need to begin looking into your perfect place about 5 months in advance (at the very least). I don't just say this hypothetically; we originally set out to make our road trip a combined national park adventure with stops at both the Grand Canyon AND Yosemite. But...life happens and sometimes you have to accept that the IRS doesn't give you that tax return you had been counting on. That's when we lost any potential grand canyon stay...and our options ran out 3 months in advance of our trip! With that being said, just make sure more popular destinations are looked into well in advance, especially if there are limited housing accommodations available.
2. FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING THAT IS GOOD AND LESS EXPENSIVE PLEASE USE A SITE LIKE AIRBNB!!
There are probably some other really great sites out there that you can use that will save you money such as Kayak, etc. However, Corey and I LOVE AirBNB because of its user-friendliness, variety, and point rewards system! You can even use the following link from me to start your AirBNB journey and earn your own $40 in travel credit! www.airbnb.com/c/caitlyng182
3. MAKE AN ITINERARY
No, I am not OCD. I definitely never used to care about things being planned out for a vacation. I'm more of a "go with the flow" kind of gal, but I started to see the value in planning out every fun activity when I realized how long hikes in a national park are...some of them going to a staggering 13 MILES long. Parks such as Yosemite have limited parking and some hikes can take an entire day, so it is good to research this all in advance. Most national parks have an entire website dedicated to giving information, but I have found some tourist sites to be even more so. For our trip to Yosemite, I used this site because of its extreme detail in hike length, rating of site seeing, and overall experience! http://www.yosemitehikes.com/hikes.htm
Always be flexible though, because there is value in taking the advice of locals once you arrive! (They may even have some "secret" places that are low-tourist areas!)
4. PLAN OUT HIKES
Planning your hikes in advance is smart for two reasons:
You need to prepare yourself to be physically ready for your hikes, and if you don't look ahead at the distance of each hike you may run out of time for other cool sights! Most experienced hikers will tell you to plan an ENTIRE DAY for any hike that is over 7 miles!
Keep checking back for more updates! I will be covering details of the trip, including tips on places to stay, food to eat, and destinations to explore!
Adventure's Out There!
~The Gal With A Pal