It’s easy to plan a typical vacation. Book a flight and a hotel room by a beach or some popular tourist destination. Simple, right? But what if you’re not the typical traveler? What if you want to plan something memorable and different than all the other cookie cutter tourists?
If you follow along at all, you might have noticed that we enjoy unusual and offbeat travels. We love a good tourist trap. For example, we found a gold palace in the mountains, the Mothman Museum, a possibly haunted penitentiary, plus Roswell is on our Bucket List. I’m often asked how I come up with these interesting travel ideas. How I find these usual places.
How To Plan A Unique Vacation
Decide where you want to go
East? West? North? South? Choose a vicinity over a specific location. This will keep your search broad while still getting to the climate you’re looking for. We were looking for time at the ocean, so we simply chose the east coast as our vicinity. Keeping things broad will help you find lots of possible sites worth seeing. You can narrow it down later.
Start looking for unique things to see
My favorite tool to find unique things to see is Roadtrippers. You can browse their website or download the app for use on the go. I love using to discover tons of interesting things. You can filter to find even more specific sites. Attractions filters down to amusement parks, children’s attractions, fall attractions, museums, offbeat attractions, top attractions, tours, zoos and winter attractions. Outdoors & Recreation filters down to several sub categories as well, my favorite is scenic point. Then there is also Points Of Interest which contains sub categories for film/tv, historic, abandoned, literature, holiday lights, photo ops, public art, spooky places etc. There are also main categories for food/drink, hotels, nightlife and my favorite, scenic drives.
So for an example, let’s start with Philadelphia Pennsylvania. We’ll filter to see Offbeat Attractions, Scenic Poins, Film/Tv and Photo Ops. Sound like a fun little road trip? I sure think so!
Wow! Look I’m loving the suggestions it pulled up! We’ve got The Mutter Museum, Philadelphia’s Magic Garden, Mount Moriah Cemetery, Holmesburg Prison, Rocky Steps & Statue, National Shrine Of John Nuemann, Stoogeum and a few neat photo opps like the LOVE sign and giant chess set. Each location has information for visiting and reviews. Super helpful! So read through a few places and add them to your list.
Once you have several things on your list that you want to see, zero in on your location a little bit more precisely. Then you’re ready for the next step!
Find an interesting place to stay
You could of course go with Priceline and secure a cheap hotel, but if you want to stay somewhere unique and memorable, there’s another cool option out there…. AirBnB. If you haven’t heard of AirBnB, it’s basically a website and app used to locate and rent lodging. You’ll find houses, couches, tree houses, cabins etc. So let’s continue with the Philadelphia planning and do a little search for something interesting…
A quick search finds a place for $19 a night. Well that’s budget friendly for sure, but is it unique enough for the purpose of this experiment Maybe not. So after a little more digging… I found these two gorgeous rentals. At $60 and $89/night for beautiful and comfortable lodging, I think it’s a good deal!
A tip when booking with AirBnB, make sure to read the reviews and the complete post. I’d only rent a place that has at least a dozen good reviews. Just for safety’s sake!
Pick some good eateries
Continuing on the interesting and unique planning with your meals, there are a few more fantastic apps and websites that I use when planning. Roadfood is a great site to find locally famous eateries. A quick search of Philadelphia returned Dalessandro’s for cheese steak, surprisingly NOT Pat or Geno’s!
If you’re into Food Tv or Travel Channel, a ton of great restaurants can be found on TV Food Maps. A search of Philly returns Tony Luke’s from Man VS Food and several other popular food shows. My husband loves a good food challenge and this site is chock full of them!
Now that you have your lodging, food and activities planned, it’s time to get going on your unique vacation! Enjoy it and take lots of pictures. If you find something really neat, sent it to me on Twitter or Facebook. I’d love to share 🙂
Have a travel tip to share? Or a trip worth showing off? Share it below!