How to plan a dream trip (“Not all those who wander are lost” – J.R.R. Tolkien)

Plan a dream trip

: strong longing for or impulse toward wandering 
So according to Merriam-Webster, I’m afflicted with wanderlust! And I’m lucky enough to have time off from my full-time job, funds with which to afford airplane tickets (sometimes in lieu of fancy dinners out, but so be it!) and a husband who also has the wandering bug.
We have a lot of close family in Seattle and Palm Beach Gardens, FL, so we try to make it out to both places every year. Thank goodness they’re both so fun – if you haven’t been to Seattle especially, I’d say pop that one right onto your bucket list.

Plan a dream trip Space Needle

The original Starbucks at Pike Place Market is a classic, and in addition to the passionate Seahawks fans (including my husband!), the rest of the underrated Seattle culture makes for a trip to remember…and repeat! Crazy-good food (super fresh, local, creative, vegan/vegetarian/GF/questioning-friendly), amazing music scene including the Jimi Hendrix Experience Music Project, and really cool people who love having fun, being healthy but not preachy about it, and know how to stay entertained and happy on a rainy day. Oh, plus the views of the mountains – the Cascades, the Olympics, and Mount Rainier. So again – Seattle, bucket list! Let me know if I missed any of the awesome things you like to do in that area by leaving a comment below 🙂

Plan a dream trip Pike Place Market
Anyway, I digress…but that’s sort of the point, isn’t it? “Not all those who wander are lost” is such an inspiring line, and it speaks to me in a few ways. I love wandering in the forest on a weekend day, watching the sunlight touch certain parts of the trees and path, watching my dog frolic like he’s meant to 🙂
Plan a dream trip tree hugger
but I also really love traveling. I traveled a lot for my last job – something like 32 business trips in 2014. But right now, I’m focused on our next dream trip.

And here’s what I mean by dream trip – we are SO lucky, truly, to be able to visit our family and friends in Florida and Washington almost every year, but they’re family vacations with dedicated purposes – to see everyone! So that’s really fun and charges up my family-love battery, but it’s a certain type of trip, and not usually the type that focuses completely on exploration. A dream trip is born of wanderlust and dreams – I know that’s pretty vague, so I’m going to share the process I’m following to plan a dream trip for a happy wife and her husband (learn more about us here!) 🙂

 Step 1. Get inspired by wanderlust! We were lying in bed recently and my husband asked me “Where would you want to go next, if we went to Europe?” It was such a fun question, and completely sent my mind wandering all over the world! We looked at a map and really got into the fun initial phase of planning a trip, which is letting your imagination wander to get inspired.

Here are 40 trip-inspiring images of France, courtesy of my favorite travel deals website, Budget Travel. Plan-a-dream-trip-the-dordogne-river-in-france

Step 2. Determine your trip goals. If you’re envisioning a lazy beach vacation but looking up the most renowned hiking spots in the world, that’s ok 🙂 but it may be helpful to determine what exactly you want to get out of this dream trip. Are you looking for a yoga spot? A food and wine adventure? Exploration, hiking, spelunking? You can find whatever you’re looking for, but it’s good to let a little reality come into play when planning at this stage 🙂

Step 3. Focused research. Once you’ve determined the type of trip you want, and found a few fun ideas about where that might take place, now you can buckle down 🙂 and check out the logistics. Hit up your favorite travel website, or check out the best underrated travel sites here, and play around until you find the best specific places to go and packages to get you there! Remember to check out seasonal details for your dream trip destination. Are you planning a trip during Spring Break? Hurricane season? etc.

Step 4. Book it!

Step 5. Pack and get ready to wander!! Get life-changing packing tips (plus camping inspiration, travel style, and more fun stuff) when you… 🙂  Follow Happy Wife, Creative Life’s board Glamping & the great outdoors on Pinterest.

 Did I miss any of your favorite trip planning tips? I’ll keep you posted on our planning for the next dream trip 🙂 In the meantime, check out my travel inspiration Pinterest board! Follow Happy Wife, Creative Life’s board Favorite Places & Spaces on Pinterest.

As always, thank you so much for reading! Please leave a comment and let me know what you think 🙂

Happy Wife, Creative Life


  1. I love this. Wanderlust is such a wonderful feeling, and reading this article just summons it. For me it combines a longing and excitement and dreaming and even some scheming. Thanks for taking me there.
    And while I’ve been to many far away places and hope to go to many more, don’t forget how truly amazing our own US can be. National parks are some of the best trips, and don’t have to be expensive.

    • I’m with you! It’s SO exciting, and you make a great point about our national parks. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a few of them, and in fact that might make for another blog post 🙂 Thank you for such a wonderful reminder – I’m so glad to have you in the HC (Happy, Creative!) Community!! 🙂

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