How To Plan A Unique Vacation #TravelTipTuesday

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

How To

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.
Philadelphia from the South Street Bridge

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!

Love in Philly

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!

Philadelphia - Bella Vista: Geno's Steaks

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!

Get going!

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 🙂

Travel Tip Tuesday

Have a travel tip to share? Or a trip worth showing off? Share it below!

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  • April J Harris
    February 23, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    You’ve shared some great tips and ideas for a very memorable vacation! Thank you for bringing this post to the Hearth and Soul Hop. Sharing. Hope to see you again this week – the hop is open now!

  • Kathleen
    February 21, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    We travel quite a bit and not usually to places that others travel a lot. It’s always an adventure and we always find fun things to do, even if we aren’t in love with where we land. We are staying in our first AirBNB place in May. Fingers crossed it will be good. I linked up to this post. Thanks for linking up to Tips and Tricks. Hope to see you again this week.

  • Tonya
    February 18, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Roadtrippers is one of my favorites too. And Airbnb… I’m addicted to making lists on their app! Great tips and definitely resonates with what I tend to do when traveling!

  • Beka Louise
    February 18, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Great travelling tips and I’ve definitely taken some on board! However, I always look for things to do on holiday, I couldn’t imagine travelling without knowing what there is for me to do.

    Beka. xo | littleworldofbeka

  • Erin
    February 18, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Great ideas. We are planning a trip this May and this definitely gets me started!

  • Laurie
    February 18, 2016 at 12:06 am

    Great Tips Jenn! Thanks for sharing with us at Brag About It! Pinning and tweeting to share 🙂

  • sue
    February 17, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    I love travelling and really enjoyed your post and looking at all the unique photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing with us at #Overthemoon. I’m off to plan my next trip!

  • Rashel
    February 17, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    How fun. Thanks for sharing these tips for a unique trip.

  • Megin
    February 17, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    What a fun post, Jenn. I’m thinking about doing some Road Trips this Spring/Summer and I downloaded these apps to give them a try.
    Thank you for sharing this week at Brag About It link party on VMG206 (Mondays at Midnight).
    ~ Megin of VMG206

  • Tommy @ LeisureFreak
    February 16, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    One of our most fun and favorite trips was staying off of the interstate and traveling south from Salt Lake City to Saint George and then through Zions park and the back roads back to I70 for our trip home to Colorado going through every small town. No hotel reservations or destination deadlines. Most towns have some kind of history and finding out about it was easy. If their museum or visitor’s center couldn’t be found just stop in at their library or even the super market and ask. We ate at non chain cafes and when we found somewhere we wanted to be or got tired we found a local motel. We saw some beautiful places, did some hiking and met truly nice people. Small towns that are off the beaten track welcome vacationers and usually when they are not a tourist destination have super reasonable room rates.

    • Jenn
      February 16, 2016 at 10:41 pm

      I love this. The introvert in me resists asking for directions or tips while out wandering, but librarians are an awesome resource. I’ll have to try that!