12 Tips for Multi Destination Travel

by smartpoodle / Jun 11, 2017 / 4 comments

Multi Destination Travel – It’s All in the Planning

The most important part of any trip takes place before it begins; it’s all in the planning. This reality came to me recently while organizing a whirlwind college trip with my 16-year-old daughter. We set out for 7 days to visit 7 colleges in 6 different states.  

Our particular voyage included 3 one-way plane tickets, 4 major train trips (2 with connections), countless subway and taxi rides, 5 different hotels and one overnight stay at a relative’s house. We had appointments to meet various professors at every college, sat in on information sessions and took advantage of organized campus tours. The trick in effective planning is timing everything just right and staying very organized during the process. What I learned during my travel experience is that it is indeed possible to successfully plan most of the complicated details ahead of time and then relax and enjoy the ride.

You may not be taking your child on a college tour, but whatever multi destination trip you are planning – business or pleasure, domestic or international - here are some tips:

12 Tips for Multi-Destination Travel


12 Tips For Multi Destination Travel

1.    Start your planning with a simple file folder. Place all travel confirmations (hotel, flights, trains, etc) in there. Include anything you have printed out from the internet including restaurants and attractions. On the inside of the travel folder list each date you will be gone along with everything you have scheduled for those days (including flights and train trips).  Do NOT lose this folder. I carried mine around with me every day.

2.    Make your air travel plans as far in advance as possible. Research via internet which airlines fly to your destination(s) and take the time to secure the most convenient route. I do everything I can to avoid connecting flights if non-stop flights are offered. But that’s not always possible. I’ve learned that it is not a good idea to book a connecting flight with less than a 75-minute layover. It’s no fun to miss a connecting flight. I have firsthand knowledge that sprinting with luggage through the Delta terminal in Atlanta’s never-ending airport is not a pleasant experience.  

3.    Print out train schedules online to take with you if train travel is in your plans. For my trip, I pre-purchased all the Amtrak tickets online and picked them all up at the first train station we visited and put them in my handy dandy folder. Beware of the “Silent Car” on Amtrak trains. We unknowingly sat there and then were told repeatedly, over LOUD speaker, that no audible talking or cell phone use was allowed.

4.    Remember all your appointments. Print out email confirmations and program the phone numbers of those you are meeting into your cell phone. I also list the appointments on the inside of the folder.

5.    Be sure you know visiting hours before leaving home. If your multi-destination journey includes some sightseeing, know what times attractions are open. How sad would it be to get to Paris on a Tuesday only to find out the Louvre Museum is always closed on Tuesdays? The Mona Lisa will not open the door for you.

6.    Schedule yourself a little more time than you think you’ll need to get between 2 destinations. You’ve got to be prepared for the unexpected (i.e., slow subway trains, thunderstorms, traffic, etc.).

7.    Check the weather online before you go, but by no means expect it to be accurate more than 3 days in advance. In my case, the weather forecast in NJ was a high of 55 degrees and a low of 40 about 6 days before we left home. 40? What a joke! It was freezing, dropping into the low 20s at night. I am a Floridian and I was not prepared for these temperatures. To make matters worse I had a bad cold combined with allergies and was then faced with frozen sinuses. What did I learn? When you travel to New England in early April bring a real winter coat.

8.    Always pack comfortable shoes. Style is not your friend when you have 10 blisters on 10 toes and throbbing feet.

9.    It rains in April (and at other times) in many places all around the world, so do not assume you will have perfectly sunny skies on your journey. Ponchos may be embarrassing to wear, but dripping wet is much more uncomfortable than looking like a dork wearing a Hefty trash bag can possibly be.   

10.    No matter how well you think you packed, you likely have too much stuff. Lighten it up. You don’t want to regret dragging a heavy load. (It is a shame I did not follow my own advice on the college tour).

11.    Consider mailing some items home. If you are taking any kind of trip (especially domestic travel) where you will be collecting items like college brochures, business documents or gifts you can ship them home. We actually mailed our laundry and a stack of catalogs and brochures home half way through our trip to lighten our load. The $25 mailing fee was a small price to pay to make the remainder of the journey bearable.  

12.    Leave your detailed travel plans with a family member at home, so you are easy to locate in an emergency. And if you have a spouse like mine you are leaving behind, leave him notes to remind him to feed and take out the dog and do tasks around the house. “If dog seems lethargic or is foaming at the mouth, she may be starving or dehydrated from lack of water. Please feed her and make sure she has a fresh drink every day. If dog is scratching the door, she may need to go out. If house smells like landfill, you may want to take out the garbage.”

So with a lot of planning and a little bit of luck, you too can enjoy every segment of your multi-destination journey.


12 tips for multi-destination travel


Debbie Glade/Smartpoodle is the Geography Awareness Editor for Wandering Educators



Comments (4)

  • wandermom

    15 years 2 months ago

    Holy cow, #2 is SOOOO important. I have stories of running (with kids) between terminals at so many airports because of my bad planning and/or delays or re-routing issues.
    Similarly, it's good to have some small simple-to-play games in your back-pack. A pack of cards, sudoku or crosswords, rush hour puzzles. Something which you can take out to allay the boredom on a long layover, but which doesn't require unpacking your whole bag (and possibly losing something).

  • Ed Forteau

    15 years 2 months ago

    great travel tips, debbie. some of those we hadn't put into action before - i appreciate it!


    Ed Forteau

    Publisher, WanderingEducators.com

  • Julie Royce

    15 years 2 months ago

    My husband and I will be taking a month long vacation during October and November and I have printed off your tips and will use them often to make our journey more pleasant and hassle-free.  Thanks for all of the useful advice.

  • Diane Jones (not verified)

    14 years 11 months ago

    This guide to thoroughly planning trips is excellent. This level of organization is sure to help you to make your trip a breeze. It is best to plan ahead, to remember the weather, and to leave detailed travel plans with someone back home. There is one big omission to this list though. No one should forget travel insurance. With the possibility of cancelled plans, illness during a trip, and all the other mishaps that can befall an unlucky traveller travel insurance is one way to safeguard yourself. As long as you're planning to make sure your trip goes right, make sure you're ready for what might go wrong.

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