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Trust me, you need a vacation. There is seldom a time when a vacation is the wrong choice for you or your family. Maybe you don’t think you have the time or the finances to go on one right now, but you can always scale back and get away just for the weekend. A trip where you can either relax, experience something new, or do a bit of both will do you a world of good. It can re-energize you when life gets tiring and provide an escape from many of your usual responsibilities.

Whether you live in Pennsylvania or are looking for a new place to explore, this state provides the perfect backdrop for your upcoming trip. A combination of beautiful landscapes, multiple large cities like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and other attractions will provide the perfect setting for respite.

Part of the fun of going on vacation is planning it. Knowing what to do, where to go, and how to spend your time can build anticipation before you leave. If you will be heading to Pennsylvania for a much-needed vacation, here are a few tips to plan your trip like a pro.

Create a Budget

One of the biggest challenges that often prevent people from traveling in the first place is money. Either they feel they don’t have enough of it to spend on a trip or they are worried about overspending while they are in a new place. Creating a travel budget with Google Sheets is one way to help overcome these concerns. You can add columns for each day or activity. Categories like food, activities, transportation, and accommodations can help you break down what expenses will be necessary and how much you have left to spend on fun things. You can organize your budget however you wish, it all depends on what will work best for keeping you on track with your spending. If you know the total amount you are willing to spend, then it becomes easier to manage your spending and figure out what you need for each category.

Bring a Day Pack

Perhaps the most important item in your luggage could be a day pack. A smaller bag that allows you to stuff a few essentials for the day in one convenient location to carry with you as you move through different activities. It is no fun to carry everything by hand while trying to admire new sights or engage in exciting activities. A small backpack or drawstring bag would serve this purpose well. You can put snacks, sunscreen, a book, water bottles, and more in them while also having a place to put any souvenirs you buy. If you bring a day pack with you, then your vacation becomes a little simpler.

Use Travel Sites to Book Cheaper Options

There are a lot of details involved with planning a trip. You’ll need to plan out your destinations, how you will get from place to place, where you will stay each night, and several other important factors. You can help stay within your budget by comparison shopping for these various needs. Don’t settle on the first hotel that looks decent. Shop around for other accommodations like different hotels or even Airbnbs that could be cheaper or provide more amenities. In the same way, research what the best methods of transportation are. Would a flight be worth the cost rather than a bus ticket? Will you drive yourself to the location or rely on local transportation like taxis or Uber? Many travel booking sites are designed around helping you find cheaper options for vacation necessities, so do your due diligence ahead of time to choose the ideal scenario.

Narrow Your List of Activities to a Few Priorities

A huge mistake that many travelers make is overplanning their vacations. By the end of the weekend or the week, they feel as exhausted as they did before they left for the trip. This is a tragedy, considering a vacation is supposed to help you relax and restore your energy with exciting new adventures. The solution is to cut down on your list of to-dos and determine a few priorities for the trip. During your Pennsylvania vacation, what are the attractions that matter the most to you and your fellow travelers? Do you plan on buying tickets for the Philadelphia Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park before you head home? Are you a huge fan of the television show “The Office” and you want to visit Scranton, the city in which it is based? Does your family love history and is excited to visit Gettysburg? Name a few top priorities for your trip and then leave a lot of free time for improvisation or relaxing to make the most of your vacation.

Being Prepared Requires a Great Plan

The lead-up to your trip is just as important as the trip itself if you want to have a full experience. While it can be fun to improvise each day while traveling, a little bit of structure and planning can keep you from overspending and feeling exhausted by the end of the vacation. If you are well-prepared by following these tips, you are more likely to have a great experience in Pennsylvania, one that you and your fellow travelers will look back on fondly for years to come.