After traveling to so many places these last few years, I feel like I have my trip planning down to a simple science. It’s a pretty easy process, but I thought writing it out might help anyone who’s hopeless at organizing a trip. You can rinse and repeat this process for every trip you take in the future, whether it’s a weekend getaway or a long-term escape.

In this case, I’m going to use a visit to Arlington, Virginia, as an example. I’m hoping to head down to the Virginia area once the weather warms up, and Arlington is somewhere I’ve never been before!

1. Research What You Want to See

Assuming you’ve already decided where to go, it’s time to figure out exactly what you want to see. I don’t like to be too strict on this. There’s a difference between making a list of things to do and scheduling your vacation down to five-minute intervals. I typically head over to Google and Pinterest to find general must-sees and lesser-known places like cafés or parks.

In this case, I’ve combed through Wikitravel’s Arlington Guide and used Google’s own system to look at top sights. Next, I’ll go through posts on Pinterest to find more suggestions for eateries or cafés.

2. Decide Where to Stay

This is pretty self-explanatory. I think about how long I’m staying and what my options are for having my own room with an included breakfast.

I’ll probably only stay in Arlington for a night or two. That means I can spend a little more for a better hotel room than if I were planning on staying for a week.

3. Figure Out the Logistics

I have a whole post about the logistics of planning a trip, and when I’ve just visited a new country, I often put together a location-specific guide. This includes everything from figuring out transportation to making sure I have the right plugs and cash on hand.

Arlington is easy since it’s nearby. I’ll be driving down with my own car, and since it’s in the same country, I don’t have to worry about any changes.

4. Pack Like a Pro

I promise that you can be stylish without lugging a heavy suitcase with you. Stick to the basics and what you know looks good on you. Keep the weather and your planned activities in mind. I really like looking through A Pair and a Spare’s Perfectly Packed archives for tips on looking stylish.

Arlington would be a weekend getaway in early spring. That means I’d pack some everyday outfits for walking.

5. Don’t Forget All the Last Minute Things to Do at Home

The worst thing is returning to your apartment and realizing that you left it a total mess. I have a tidy list of everything you’ll want to do before you leave for a vacation or trip.

With all this in mind, you can enjoy your trip without worrying about logistics or planning headaches. What are some of your habits when planning a trip?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

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