For me, planning is definitely something that comes pretty naturally. It allows me to dream big & really get excited about events in the future. Planning a trip, especially one in another country, was something completely new to me a couple of years ago. However daunting it seemed at the time, all it takes is biting the bullet & following these easy travel planning tips for a dreamy vacation full of fun activities & amazing outfits.
Tip 1: Create A Mood Board
This step, though multi-faceted, may be the most important step in planning a great trip. First, get on Pinterest & start researching travel bloggers who have visited your desired destination. Chances are, if you want to travel there, they have been there too, so why not learn from them? Search for great places to eat, the most “Instagrammable” spots, & things to do. Get out a pen & paper & start making lists of places & ideas that look interesting to you. Pin inspiring photos from these blogs on your destination mood board to look back on & get pumped!
I’m not going to Greece, but here is an example of what my mood board for my imaginary trip to Greece looks like…
Tip 2: Find Your Color Palette
Note my mood board above. See the blues, white, & natural tan colors that stand out? This will now become my color palette when planning my travel outfits. I touched on this in my most recent Q&A, but one of the best ways to avoid over packing on a trip is to stick with a color palette. This makes mixing & matching a breezy so that you can create several outfits from only a few key pieces. I love dressing in the colors of the places I’m going. It makes me feel like I belong to wherever my travel destination may be. You can see outfits & accessories for my pretend trip to Greece in these photos.
I never like to over book my trips, but I find that if I have something booked & planned for at least every other day, it really helps to create a schedule. Any famous restaurant? Make a reservation, even if it’s for lunch! Book a boat ride, a tour, a cooking class, a hike, or something fun & exciting that is unique to the location you’re visiting.
Tip 4: Research & Plan Some Logistics
Some important things to research before any trip are housing & transportation. Lots of blogs have recommendations as to where to stay, which can be helpful. Something you might want to consider if you’re looking to save a little bit of money is staying just outside the city. We did this in Italy & in Paris & totally loved it. It was nice to have a bit of quiet & calm in the evenings to decompress from the day.
As far as transportation goes, do your research to see whether people recommend using public transportation or car rentals. If you’re thinking about renting a car, don’t forget to take parking fees & even finding parking into consideration. In Paris, we walked & then took the water bus down the river! While we were in Positano, we walked & took the bus up & down the mountain. The point is, every city is different, & most blogs will give good recommendations on these matters.
Tip 5: Study!
Remember that list you made of all the restaurants & places you wanted to visit? Now it’s time to mark all of them on the maps in your phone. Save each location & take a bit of time to study the map. Become familiar with some of the main roads & try to map out how your days will go. This will help so much when you arrive in a city you’ve never been to before.
If the country you are visiting has a native language other than your own, try setting some goals on Duolingo to brush up on, or learn a little bit of the language. Even just knowing the basics will go a long way.
We are throwing it back to our honeymoon in Italy with these photos. We spent 2 full days on the beach eating pizza, swimming, & most of all, people watching. While lounging in total bliss, there are a few items in my beach bag that I found particularly useful. These things were easy to pack & made transitions before & after the beach a breeze.
For sunscreen, I like to use at least SPF 50 on my body, but on my face, I use my Coola Makeup Setting Spray with SPF 30. I’ve used this for years! It’s perfect to use & reapply whether you have makeup on or not. Also, on long days out in the sun, it’s so important to make sure you’re drinking plenty of water, so have a large bottle on hand.
After our wonderful stay in Napoli, & day trip to Capri, we made our way down the coast to the enchanting city of Positano. We took a cab through the narrow, winding cliff-side roads, which took only a couple of hours. During our drive, we both said how thankful we were that we did not try to make this drive our own. The roads were really only wide enough for one car, yet cars were driving on them in both directions! Cars, motorcycles, & even buses drove at fairly great speeds around blind mountain-side turns with the edge of a cliff just feet away. It was kind of terrifying. In the end, we were happy we made it to our little Airbnb safely.
Instead of staying right in Positano where the prices were exorbitant, we chose to stay a little bit up the mountain is a quaint little town called Montepertuso. We absolutely loved staying there. It was so nice to go into the city during the day & have a bit of calm & fresh air at our place in the evenings. We woke up to the rooster’s crow in the morning & were enchanted by church bells in the evenings. It was lovely. Not to mention it was so much cheaper! You can find our picturesque little Airbnb here. The only thing I will say about this place is that you have to be prepared to go up & down SO many stairs! We went down about 6-7 flights of stairs to our place from the main road everyday. But we took it as getting some good exercise to work off all of the pizza & pasta we were eating! Other than that, we absolutely loved staying there.
We arrived in Montepertuso around 5 PM, & were so excited to get out & explore, that we decided to go down to the city. There were two ways we travelled down to Positano: the bus, which was very easy & cheap & took about 15 minutes, or the stairs. We took the stairs twice, about 2,000 of them, & our first night was one of them. Taking the stairs took about 40 minutes, after which Ben & I were both shaking. But we had to admit, the views were incredible! I highly recommend doing this at least once. Seeing the iconic, Positano from this vantage was breath-taking. I could hardly contain my excitement.
N i g h t B y T h e B e a c h
That night, we walked down by the beach & ordered our first of many pizzas from Buca Di Bacco. We just loved this place because we could order things & take them anywhere to eat. It was perfect for finding a good spot for people watching or taking our tasty meal to our chairs on the beach.
After eating & people watching for a long while, we decide to head back up to our place for the night. We took the bus for the first time which was super easy. It dropped us off right at our stairs for the trek down to our place. We slept very well that night.
The next morning, we got up bright & early to head down to the beach. We decided to walk down again, & ended up taking a different path with even more incredible views! Finally, we arrived on the beach at 8 AM & literally no one was there. It was so crazy! We couldn’t believe how empty it was. Then at 8:30 we were able to reserve our chairs for the day. It was 5 euros extra to get front row chairs, but it was so worth it. We got 2 chairs & an umbrella in the front row for the whole day for 50 euros. Totally worth it.
I also definitely recommend going early. Even if you’re not trying to get photos like we were, getting there before the rush of tourists was just amazing. So calm & relaxing. Also, the water is very smooth at this time because no boats are out making waves, so it’s perfect for an early morning salty swim.
S e a s i d e
Ben spent most of the day collecting rocks & pieces of interesting tile, while I just happily laid there soaking in the sun. We made friends with a British couple sitting next to us, & Ben borrowed their goggles to check out the cool fish in the sea. I didn’t swim that much that day because, if I’m honest, I was kind of afraid. Swimming is something I always knew I could do, I mean, I grew up with a pool in my backyard, but swimming in a pool with the security of the edge to hold onto just a couple of feet away is much different than swimming out in the sea with nothing to hold on to. Have any of you experienced this same feeling before?
Anyways, we spent about 6 hours at the beach then took the bus back up the mountain for an early night in. Ben made gnocchi with the pasta sauce that we learned how to make in our cooking class in Naples. We ate our dinner out on our terrace then got in bed with a glass of wine & watched a few episodes of New Girl before heading to bed.
The next day, we took the bus down to the city to do some morning shopping. We found some lovely pieces to take home as sweet memories of this dreamy honeymoon vacation, as well as some gifts for friends & family back home.
For lunch, we had reservations at the famous Le Sirenuse hotel’s restaurant, La Sponda. We made our reservations for this day 4 months prior to ensure we would get in! Let me just say, eating here is a must if you are in Positano, & you have to make a reservation in advance, so plan ahead.
L a S p o n d a
Every detail in this magical place has clearly been thought out so beautifully. The views, the tiles, the flowers, the lemon trees, the decor, everything was just perfect & so inspiring.
We are both convinced that this was the best dining experience that we have ever had. Our table was dressed to a T, with the most dreamy view of the city & the Sea. The waiter pulled out our chairs for us & scooted us in before gracefully placing our napkins in our laps. We were served a glass of Prosecco as an aperitif along with a bread basket with some olive oil for dipping. A lovely plate of sliced lemons was placed on the table for our waters. I’m quite positive that the lemons were grown right there on the many lemon trees dressing the space. We then ordered two simple plates to share which were delicious.
After they took away our plates, they came by with a small plate of bite size desserts & limoncello for each of us. I figured we couldn’t bare to leave just yet, so we ordered some pistachio & hazelnut gelato to top it all off. It was pretty expensive, but we are both so glad we went. I mean, what an incredible experience! A true celebration of our marriage. I’ll never forget it.
B a c k U p T h e M o u n t a i n
After our incredible lunch, we finished up our shopping & walking around then took the bus back up the mountain. Since we didn’t have pizza for lunch, we couldn’t help but make some homemade pizzas for dinner at our place that evening. We enjoyed another wonderful evening of dinner on the terrace, then wine & New Girl in bed before sleep.
On our last full day of our honeymoon, we arrived to the beach early again, but this time for our go-to caffeine fix of this trip: cappuccinos. We had them everyday on our honeymoon, & I’ve still been drinking them since I’ve come home! So tasty & just the right size.
We spent another 6 hour day on the beach & it was so much fun. On this day, I was determined to conquer my fear of swimming in the ocean/sea. It was strange because swimming out was fine, but once I turned around & could see how far out I was, that’s when I would start to panic. Ben & I then started to just float in the water, & I realized I actually could float, which I was never very good at before. After that, We swam out pretty far then just spent some time treading water & talking & looking back at the incredible view of Positano. Once I was out there for a few minutes, I realized that I was strong & if I just stayed calm, swimming out in the sea would be a piece of cake.
For the rest of the day, I swam out on my own many times. I totally conquered my fear & it felt so good. What a boost of confidence & strength to an already amazing time in my life.
My ruffled one piece was oh-so gorgeous, & just perfect to shoot there in Positano, but I decided for the sake of tan lines, my little yellow bikini would be the better option. And I’m on my honeymoon for goodness sake!
Again, we opted for pizza by the beach for lunch, & it was delicious yet again. We ate & talked to a lovely couple next to us from Australia for most of the afternoon. Then the sound of the waves & the warmth from the sun were so pleasant, that we both fell asleep for a little bit. It was just dreamy.
For our last night our honeymoon, we decided to go out to dinner in our little town of Montepertuso. We walked to a restaurant right down the road from our place called, Il Ritrovo. The food was delicious, & we also witnessed an incredible view of the sunset over the water. The perfect, romantic way to end our honeymoon.
We had the most amazing honeymoon. Thanks for following along!
Hope you guys enjoyed this post! Let me know if you have any questions on the exact places we visited or things we did. I’m happy to answer anything!
D o n ’ t f o r g e t t o c h e c k o u t m y S H O P p a g e !
W a n n a r e a d m o r e o f m y t r a v e l p o s t s ?
On our first full day in Italy, we decided to venture over to Capri. We woke up early to catch a ferry over from Napoli (see about our stay in Naples here), which was filled with a few hundred people. The ferry ride was just under an hour, & our view out the window was incredible. This was my first time out in the Mediterranean Sea, & boy was it just breath-taking!
Once we made it to the lovely island of Capri, we started exploring. Of course, knowing us, we decided to walk up a small but stunning alleyway that led up the mountain instead of following the crowds of people. Let me tell you, there were a LOT of stairs, but seeing all of the cute homes & overgrown trees & bushes was so worth it.
One tip I will give to anyone wanting to visit Capri: go early! There were barely any people when we got there compared to the middle of the day. See the best sights before the crowds come!
L u n c h W i t h A V i e w
After climbing up the stairs for about 45 minutes, we found the most idyllic spot for lunch called Al Caprí. The view from our climb was incredible & the food was some of the best we had on our trip. I ordered the gnocchi, & Ben had a pizza. We also had our first taste of the iconic limoncello, which I will say is quite strong, but great for sipping slowly.
O u t T o S e a
After our delicious meal, we decided to take the funiculare down the mountain. (You can take it up as well, but if you can, the walk is totally worth it!) Then it was time for our boat tour. Neither Ben nor I particularly care for tours, we like to venture on our own, but I will say that this tour (Laser Capri) was really wonderful. It was cool to ride a boat all the way around this amazing island. The rocks & caves & cliffs were literally jaw-dropping. I had never seen anything like this in real life before.
A fun fact about Italian culture: The reason why I don’t have more photos of our boat tour is because I was kind of in a bad mood due to getting my feelings hurt by the others on our tour. Part of being an Italian (or so we found) was pushing your way through to get yours regardless of lines or others around you. They weren’t angry, or being rude, at least in their minds, but it just did not sit well with me. But don’t worry, we quickly learned from them & started following their lead towards the end of our trip.
W e R e n t e d O u r O w n B o a t
Yep, you heard that right! Ben & I rented our own boat to ride around the island just the two of us. He drove while I sat in the sun & enjoyed the ride.
Well kind of…
The waters happened to be quite choppy that day, which made me feel not so well. We decided to find a spot to anchor, because I thought just getting off the boat & swimming a bit would make it go away. So we did, & we swam for a bit & took turns jumping off the boat which was so much fun. Also a bit challenging with the waves, though.
We finished our two hours on the water & headed back to shore.
C u r i n g M y S e a s i c k n e s s
Once back on land, I found a shady spot to sit down for a bit. After my brain wrapped around the fact that I wasn’t on the water anymore, we walked right next door to a little bar right on the water. This spot was a prime people watching spot. We sat here for the next hour or two just watching the locals vs. the tourists. The real cure for my seasickness, I’m sure, was the French fries & gelato with plenty of water followed by a limoncello. 🙂
B a c k T o N a p o l i
Sometimes, the best moments shared with someone are not the big exciting spectacle of moments, but those small moments sitting by the water just talking & soaking in a day of incredible experiences together. We had a magical time together in the beautiful Capri, but the best part was that we were together. Through it all. Together. Hey, in (sea)sickness & in health, right?!
We took the ferry back to Napoli & Ben fell asleep while I edited photos. It was a very long day full of so many firsts & new experiences. I honestly feel like I grew a lot that day & Ben & I grew as it was our first day on vacation just the two of us. We work so well together & he is so good for me. Clearing any bits of anxiety in me with just a glance. Feeling very thankful I get to keep him as my husband forever.
After Capri, we spent a day & a half in Napoli before heading to Positano! Post on that coming soon!
Hope you guys enjoyed this post! Let me know if you have any questions on the exact places we visited or things we did. I’m happy to answer anything!
D o n ’ t f o r g e t t o c h e c k o u t m y S H O P p a g e !
W a n n a r e a d m o r e o f m y t r a v e l p o s t s ?
First of all, I’m back & I’m a married lady now! Whoohoo! I have so many wonderful things to say & discuss about the wedding & the planning, etc, but before I get into all of that, let’s talk about our honeymoon! #OurItalianAdventure started in Napoli with a quick visit to Capri, then we finished up in Positano.
L e t ‘ s S t a r t I n N a p o l i !
This city holds such a dear place in my heart. The incredible architecture along with meeting some of the warmest people I know, makes this place hard to forget.
We stayed in the perfect location in the sweetest little Airbnb on the forth & top floor of a graffiti covered building. (But that was normal…I’ve never seen so much graffiti my life!) Booking a place early was key for us to find the right place for the right amount of money. We booked our place about 6 months in advance & spent time reading reviews & looking things up on maps to make sure where we were staying would be in a good location, but just outside of tourist central. It was just dreamy.
The colors. Everywhere you look, you see a different color. This city has so much texture (Ben says that he loves the architexture.), so much life, & so much amazing food.
G o a l s
Oh, I’ve decided our home needs like 20x the amount of plants! Why is something like this so normal in Napoli, but so new in the States? We need to make things like this our new normal. Who’s with me?!
D a y 1
On our first full day in Italy, we actually took a ferry to Capri! I have a whole post on that day coming soon.
L e t ‘ s E a t
But on our first full day in Napoli, we had a traditional cooking class. It was such an amazing experience! We met with our instructors, Lucia & Francesca, who took us to their home where we made bruschetta with fresh mozzarella (Did you know that fresh mozzarella sits at room temperature in a milky water? I didn’t! This stuff was FRESH!), gnocchi in a homemade tomato sauce, & ravioli. Each dish was prepared separately & served with a local wine. We noticed that each plate prepared had very few ingredients. They kept things simple, but used the freshest ingredients. It was delicious, & the post-pasta coma was REAL.
This was one of our very favorite parts of our trip because not only did we make incredible food with recipes we now get to take home & make forever, but we got to spend the afternoon with real Naples natives who spoke English & learned so much about the city & it’s culture. We had such a good experience, that now we want to start taking cooking classes everywhere we visit! Such a fun way to learn. If you are interested in taking the same class we did (highly recommend you do if you find yourself in Napoli!), you can find all of the info here.
(FYI – We got to our cooking class by taxi, but Lucia encouraged us to take the train back which was so easy & very inexpensive. We walked almost everywhere, but we never took a taxi in the city for the rest of our trip.)
We spent the rest of the afternoon sipping on cappuccinos at our favorite coffee shop, House Café, & walking around our little neighborhood. One of our particular favorites was walking through the street markets where you could find everything from pajamas & baby clothes to the fresh fish of the day. It was a little bit like sensory overload, but an incredible sight to see.
We spent our last evening in Napoli at the amazing Castel Sant’Elmo. This fortress sits on top of a hill that overlooks all of Napoli. The view was absolutely breathtaking. Seeing the city we had been exploring for the past few days from that vantage point was just the icing on the cake. We loved seeing all of the wonderful colors & buildings & homes from up there along with the best view of the coast. What a sight!
D a y 3
This was our last morning in Napoli, so naturally, we went back to House Café for our final cappuccino there & to say goodbye to the owner & workers there with whom we had become friends. We then decided that we could not leave without getting some gelato, which wasn’t too hard to find! I got fresh lemon & strawberry & it was divine.
I’m back from a little holiday hiatus feeling inspired & ready to take on 2018.
Having a fresh start & dreaming of the year ahead is something I’m quite fond of. Making lists & setting goals is v important to me, & my list for 2018 continues to grow.
I’m trying to set some high goals so that I will push myself to achieve as many of them as possible this year. One of my very favorite cliché phrases is “dream big”. Dream big dreams, bigger than you think possible…they just might come true!
So here are some of my New Year Goals…
I know that I am a worrier. It’s something I’m working on, & I’ll honestly be working on it for the rest of my life. One thing that I want to hone in on is my anxiety. This year, I want to make big strides on tackling my anxiety. I don’t want to let it cripple me, especially with wedding preparations underway. Sometimes, I need to let myself relax & to be ok with not getting everything done right away. I am going to be working on cutting myself some slack & moving into each day with ease. Luckily, I have an incredible fiancé who helps me with this immensely.
Learn to shoot in RAW…
I want to up to quality in my photos this year. Even if shooting in RAW is not the answer (but I think maybe it is…), I want to create more concise, better content for you. I’m planning on learning a lot through YouTube videos, but if you guys have any other suggestions or tips, let me know in the comments below!
Add some daily routines…
For Christmas this past year, I got this gorgeous One Line A Day journal. Thing thing I love most about this book is that it’s a journal I will be keeping for the next 5 years! This will cover our engagement period as well as the first 4.5 years of marriage. How special is that?! I can’t wait to look back over this book in years to come. But in order to have all of these special memories documented, I have to be diligent about actually doing it everyday…
Another daily routine I want to instill is working on my foreign languages. I would not say I am particularly good with languages, but I want to work on them everyday. I figure, if I spend just 5 minutes a day on Duolingo, I will be much better at the end of 2018 than I am now! For now, I am working on French & Italian, but if I’m honest, I’m focusing on Italian right now in preparation or our honeymoon to Italy this summer! Eek!
Take more care…
2017 brought much more care to my face & my skincare routine. This year, I want to make sure I also take care & put extra focus on the rest of my body. I need to be better about DAILY moisturizing my body, not just when I’m feeling extra. My hair care is another big one. I am starting to use better products on my hair to treat, moisturize, & nourish my hair. For now, I am using this CAVIAR Replenishing Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner, & I am loving it so far. I’m going on a “good hair” journey this year…can’t wait to see how it goes!
Save for a big purchase…
I have always been into nice handbags, so this year, I’ve decided to save up for my first big designer bag. Since it will take me some time to save, I’ll bring you on my search for the perfect bag over the course of this year. I’m not sure what kind I want yet, but I know I want it to be timeless, feminine, & classic. It’s such a big purchase & such a hard decision, but I am so excited about picking the perfect one for my wardrobe this year.
Read more, but for real this time…
I am actually terrible at finding time to read. Most of the time, I can find ten other things to do besides read, but I want to choose to read more this year. I usually don’t read “story” books, but more like inspiration books. Anything about fashion, home styling, Paris, floral design, etc. will be on my list this year. A few in my current collection of unread books include Eat Pretty, Girlboss, The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, & A Moveable Feast (which I actually have read, but I’m dying to read again).
Reach 2500 followers on insta…
I’ve only had a numbers goal one other time, & that was my goal to reach 1,000 followers on Instagram (which I met in 2017 thanks to you!). This year, I want to up it a little bit more. I want to set this goal even though it’s a big one, & it’s terrifying not to actually meet it, but I think it is possible. Felix & Flora is growing & I am so grateful for all of the support I have received over the past year. Let’s make this year even better!
Write the blog I want to read…
This goal is a hard one for me. How do you know what you want to read until you read it? As I am trying to figure that out, I hope to bring you guys exciting content this year. New & inventive content that you actually want to read & be inspired by. What do you guys want to hear about this year? Fashion? Makeup? Skincare? Travel? Wedding? Parties? Home? I honestly want to hear from you! Please comment below!
Become a easy, one stop shop, blog…
I’ve recently jumped on the LiketoKnow.it train! For those of you who have that app, make sure you follow me at @felixandflora to shop all of my looks this year. If you don’t have the app, I highly suggest you get it now! It’s the easiest way to shop, find great deals, & be inspired by the fashion blogger community.
I want to be that website you come to to get inspired. When you aren’t sure what to buy with all of the options out there, I want to be able to provide a curated selection of lovely pieces for you at every price point.
Stay tuned for some easy shopping right here at F&F…
Of course, I always want to travel! Last year, I crossed the Atlantic for the first time, & now I just can’t wait to go back! I know I will be having an Italian adventure of a honeymoon with my new husband at the end of July, but I would love to explore other places as well. This spring, visiting Charleston is really high on my list of things to do. A west coast adventure would be such a fun time as well, but I’m not sure if that will happen this year. We will see…