Last updated: 01:00 AM ET, Fri June 12 2015

5 Tips For Planning A Multi-City Trip

Features & Advice | Tom Bastek | June 12, 2015

5 Tips For Planning A Multi-City Trip

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Maybe you want to cram as much as you can into your vacation. Or maybe you have certain things that you need to check off your bucket list. Or perhaps you know when it comes to certain cities, you don’t need much more than a day to explore them. No matter what your reasons are, planning a multi-city trip might be just what you need to feed that wanderlust fire in your soul and keep yourself engaged. Here are a few tips to help you plan a multiple stop vacation.

Where and Why?

The first question that you really need to ask yourself and your travel mates is why are you going to try to cover more than one city in one vacation? If you have never been to a region like New England, then it might make sense to get a broad experience by visiting many different cities while you are there. With the exception of maybe Boston, you can do almost every other city there in about a day. If you are going to Dallas, why not consider Fort Worth as well because of the proximity.

Then you have to ask yourself if this is really doable. If you decide that you are going to do a Southern city tour and cover everything from Atlanta south, you might be biting off more than you can chew. Will you have enough time to drive from place to place and still get time at each destination? If you are flying in and renting a car, are you going to put more than the allotted miles on the vehicle or worse yet (in monetary terms) get a one-way rental?

Spokes or Loops?

There is always more than one way to skin a cat. You can all pile in the car and drive a loop from destination to destination each day. What you need to keep in mind is that you are going to have to pack and unpack, check out and check in, and explore around your new hotel every day.

If the destinations that you have chosen are all closer together, you can pick a main base of operations, and like the spokes of a wheel, drive to each destination each day. You get to keep the same hotel room, you know what is immediately around your area and will save the time of the packing and unpacking.

Make a List

This is especially fun if you have more than one person along with you. Before you even embark on your journey, do a little research and make a list of all of the places in the city you would like to see and things you would like to do. Jot down what kind of food you would like to try or what restaurant you would like to find. 

Then get together with everyone and compare and contrast. If you have a pretty good idea of what you are doing when you get to your destination, it is going to make the day go a lot smoother and cause a lot less fights. This will also help plan if you need an additional day somewhere because you have so much that you want to get done.

Be Flexible

So you may be one of those people who say, “Ok, we are going to spend three hours at the Museum of Natural History.” The problem is that when your three hours are up, you are only 15 percent done exploring the place. This is a vacation! Take your time and push something else off. 

This is why it is good to rank the items on your list in order of importance so that you can get to those things first. It is always good to leave something for the next trip, but no one wants to go all the way to Memphis and not leave enough time for Beale Street.

Be Thrifty

If you are going to visit multiple destinations, make sure to consider your incoming options wisely. There might be two airports equidistant from your base hotel with considerably different prices. Also check out rental car prices as it may be much less to rent in Providence than in Boston. Don’t forget about traffic patterns as well. One city may have a better infrastructure than another and therefore rush hour is a breeze in comparison to the other city. 

Hopefully that sets you up for success in your trip planning when you are making a few stops. Do you have a tip to share about multi-city travel? Let us know in the comments below.

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