Planning a trip can seem so overwhelming! It really doesn’t have to be though, ut just take a little organization. When I first start a plan a trip I have a few go too’s I thought I would share with you. Here are 3 useful tools for planning a trip:

1. A Pinterest Pinboard.

First, I start a pinboard to get an idea of what people loved when they came and, of course, it has pics which are always nice. Always gets me pumped! This is the board I created for New Zealand.

a pinboard is a Useful Tools for Planning a Trip

2.  A Travel Book 

lonely planet book with flags

The second thing I do is order a travel book. I love Lonely Planet. When I was traveling to Iceland I ordered a few different books. Most of them felt dry and long-winded and a lot didn’t seem geared to how we like to travel. Either they were only about hiking and backpacking or they were all resorts/hotels and all tours. I don’t fit fully in either category.

The Lonely Planet books are great. They are short and sweet but have important details. They include details for all sorts of different traveling styles. This is great for us. We can pick and choose the hikes, tours and other activities that they list in there. They also include backstories and history for some of the places and they give you information about local vibes and customs which is great. I get mine on Amazon because I am a prime member.

Once I get my Lonely Planet book. As I go through the book I flag all the pages that have things I want to see. I get a little crazy with the flags, I color code categories for the flags, I have a color for maps, info, activities, and sometimes accommodations. I will also use flags to mark what is a “must do”, “want to do” and “would be cool if there is time” This is helpful for me when I start to lay it all out it’s easy to reference back to.

3. Google My Maps

The next step in my planning is my maps. This is a feature offered by Google if you have an account. It lets you plot everything on a map and save it. I find this so useful because you get a visual of all the places on a map so you can plot out the journey in the most efficient way. It’s a really neat tool. You can write in notes on the places you add to the map, you can have different layers on the map, I often have a layer for places to see and another for places to stay. I also often make a layer for a city if I am doing several things in one larger city.

Check out my map for New Zealand below.

4. Workflowy

Alongside my My Map I start a new itinerary in Workflowy. I then add a bullet for each activity and note and include any valuable information and links in sub-bullets. I love Workflowy for this because it is really easy to dump all of the information onto the document, collapse what you don’t need at the moment, and drag the bullets around to days or to other places as I plan. However, any word processor will do to make an outline of the key things I am going to see on what days and the general order of things. I note anything booked for a specific time in bold. Then I can reference this on my phone/iPad when we go on the trip. You could print it also but might get to be a long document!

Here is my Workflowy for New Zealand.

Wrap up

That’s really all there is to it! Do you have any Useful Tools for Planning a Trip that you use when you plan a trip? Share them below!

Be sure to read all about the New Zealand trip I reference in this post.

Pin it for later!

Useful Tools for Planning a Trip
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  1. That is great info when our blog takes off I plan on putting in travel outside of the US.

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