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Researching a Vacation Destination – Become an Expert Overnight



Vacations almost always feel too short. There often isn’t enough time in the day to see all of the sites a new destination has to offer, but doing some pre-planning for your next trip could ensure that you at least hit the highlights. While you’re riding high on the anticipation of your vacation, take the advantage of the momentum and do some due diligence to make sure you come prepared. Of course, the first step will be finding the perfect place to go.
Whether you already have a spot in mind or you’re still trying to pinpoint the best place to travel to, International Vacation Home Exchange, IVHE.com’s Property Search feature can help you select the perfect place. You can narrow your search down to specific home types (from villas to retirement communities, and everything in between), or even specify vacation “themes” such as beach, mountains, romance, or history. Some of the property descriptions (like this one in Arizona) even offer excellent suggestions about what to do in the area. Just taking a look at the properties will help you define exactly what you’re looking for in a destination. Once you’ve got the perfect spot in mind, it’s time to figure out what’s on your must-see list.
A lot of the fun of taking a trip will always be discovering new things by happenstance, so by no means should you try to plan out every minute of your day – that kind of saps the fun out of the vacation, after all. However, you don’t want to return home from your trip, only to hear from someone else all about the best little Italian restaurant that you missed out on. Before you pack your bags, take to sites like Trip Advisor and Yelp to see which attractions, restaurants, and locales are top-ranked. Putting some of the “top 10” elite in your itinerary will help you curate a stellar vacation. Make sure to actually read descriptions and reviews as well, to determine if a place is up your alley. If you can’t stand the smell of smoke, even the highest ranked bar in town is going to be a disappointment to you if it also happens to be a cigar bar. You know best what you like, so don’t just go with the crowd. If you have particular interests (whether you’re a museum fanatic or you just really love a good burrito), search for them within review sites so you have an idea of what’s available nearby.
In a perfect world you’d have a friend or family member who’s familiar enough with the area to give you some pointers, but since that’s not always the case you need a plan B. Reading articles and blogs is another way to crowd source vacation ideas from people who have hands-on experience. Of course, the IVHE blog is a great place to start. You can also search for local news, blogs, or tourist information sites to get yourself pointed in the right direction. News sources often offer community calendars of upcoming events, and by reading the local writers you might find out that there’s a happening music scene, thriving local business marketplace, or historical downtown to look out for.

Doing an hour or two of research before a big trip can save you regret over a particularly bad meal, a sketchy bar, or – worst of all – an uninteresting vacation. Of course you should keep your eyes open for spontaneous things to do as you travel, but a little research is certainly never a bad thing. By turning to reviews, you get tailored leads on what other travelers have loved. By reading up on the local sources for info, you get an insider perspective from those who know the area best. You’ll certainly be mad that you didn’t do your homework if you find yourself eating at the same chain restaurant for the third time in a week, so get to thinking now. 
Many thanks to our blogger Emma Sledge.

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