Thursday, March 21, 2019

Trip Planning 101 - Amarillo

Amarillo, Texas....Gateway to Palo Duro Canyon, major stop on Route 66, and all around great place to visit. My dad lived here from 1959-1960 and has always wanted to take a trip back to see the small town he once called home. Exactly two weeks from today he will get that chance. Trip planning can be an exhausting and somewhat unpleasant experience for some, but I LOVE planning trips! Trip planning itself is almost as fun as actually going on a trip....almost! If you're thinking of visiting Amarillo (or maybe you've never heard of it until now) I'm going to share with you my trip planning process and hopefully it will help you plan your trip, or at least give you some great ideas :) 



The first thing I do when planning a trip is research all attractions and activities in the area and make a list of everything that interests me. I always list these in order of what I want to do most all the way down to what I'd like to do if there's time. For my Amarillo trip the list is as follows:

          1. Palo Duro Canyon ($8 per person)
          2. Panhandle Plains Historical Museum ($12.50 per person)
          3. Cadillac Ranch (Free)
          4. Route 66 (Free)
          5. Bill's Backyard Classics ($10 per person)
          6. RV Museum (Free)
          7. Amarillo Zoo ($4 per person)


Notice I listed how much each place costs for admission per person. This will help with the travel budget which is a very important part of trip planning. I then choose the top 3-5 (depending on time constraints) and budget enough money for those attractions. So if I choose the top 4 for my trip and there are 3 people going my attraction budget is $61.50. 


The next step in planning a trip is deciding which hotel is right for you and fits in with your budget. The main two questions to ask when deciding on a hotel are: how much do I want to spend per night and what are the ammenities I want in a hotel room. My budget for a hotel room is generally $100-$200 per night unless all hotels in the area are over that in which case I'll increase the budget. There are three ammenities that I require in a hotel and I list them from most important to least important:

          1. Pool (I don't have one at home and I want to swim when I travel)
          2. Free Breakfast (It's all about budget)
          3. Free Parking (I'm already paying to stay)

For my Amarillo trip I decided on Comfort Inn and Suites. At $102.35 per night it falls in my budget and it offers all 3 ammenities I want. SCORE! Since we are staying 2 nights the total budget is $204.70....not bad at all!  


Now I decide on transportation! Am I going to drive (Road Trips are my #1 choice for most of my trips) or am I going to fly? For my Amarillo trip I'm going to drive. Amarillo is approximately a 9-10 hour drive from my house (depending on traffic) so it's the perfect destination for a road trip. Now to put those math skills to use :/ 

          Distance from start to destination (580.2 miles)
                                 +
          Distance of all little trips around town (37.2 miles)
                                 + 
          Distance from city you're in to home (580.2 miles)
                                 =
          Total mileage (1,197.6 miles)
                           
                            Divided by

          Total mileage your vehicle gets for a tank of gas (350 miles)
                                 =
          Amount of times you'll need to fill up your vehicle (3.42 times)
                                 X
          Price of a tank of gas for your vehicle ($30 per tank)
                                 =
          Total price for fuel ($102.65) 

Be sure to round up because fuel prices vary all over the country so you don't want to short yourself on the transportation budget. 


The next step I take in the trip planning process is deciding how much to budget for food. As a general rule I budget $50 per person per day. I also research restaurants in the area and pick at least one that is a must. I don't know about you but when I travel I like to try new places to eat that aren't available where I live. For my Amarillo vacation I chose Big Texan Steak Ranch (Home of the 72 ounce steak challenge) This place is iconic to Amarillo and a must for any travel enthusiast. Here comes that pesky math again....

          Total of people going on vacation (3)
                                X
          Amount alloted for food per day ($50)
                                X
          Total days of trip (3)
                               =
          Budget for food ($450)


The last step to trip planning is deciding how much to budget for souvenirs. You may think you can get away without buying anything but you'd be wrong. Who doesn't love bringing a little trinket home to remember their trip? Even if you don't end up buying anything it's always a good idea to budget some spending money anyway. When it comes to souvenirs it's every man for himself (or herself). For myself I generally budget $25 per attraction so I can get a t shirt :) So if there are 4 attractions that I'm for sure going to see then my souvenir budget is $100. 


And that's it....how simple was that?! Now you have a trip planned and a budget all at the same time! For my Amarillo trip the total budget is $918.85. And that includes EVERYTHING! I'm so excited about this trip. These next two weeks are going to take forever but I can't wait to go then come back and share my experience with you! 

Are you planning a trip? Maybe now you'd like to visit Amarillo....hopefully I was able to help with the planning process and give you some ideas about where to go in Amarillo. Be sure to check out my Facebook page @melwashere and my instagram @melwashereblog in two weeks to see pictures of my Amarillo trip. Have a great day!

Until the next adventure,
Mel Was Here