How to plan a vacation:
If you are not independent or do not want to make a lot of decisions go to a travel agent and a tour. A lot of fun is exploring on your own and finding vacations treasures. Getting lost you meet interesting people and the accomplishment of finding your way. I arrived in Italy at night and stumbled into a dark area and then turned a corner and saw what looked like a palace I discovered. It was a beautiful duomo or church. In L.A. I noticed an interesting looking old hotel. It turned out to be the Roosevelt Hotel where the Oscars used to be in 1929 and is now a landmark attraction.
Research: First read a travel book and figure out what season you want to go, what week and you may consider their festivals or what entertainers are touring there. The main things to book are the flights and lodging. If going to more then one city or town decide in which order. Which one do you want to be at for the weekend which has more events but higher plane, hotel and show prices.
Length: Based on the sights you want to see, figure out how many days you want to stay. If it is a few destinations consider which one first. If you do not want to carry much luggage, do a laundry and figure in which destination.
Consider the pace, as in a lot of museums and walks and dancing will tire you out so put in a bus tour or cruise some days. In case you meet someone, find out more attractions or something goes wrong, consider adding in an extra day.
Times: Consider the days the sights are open and free. Call or write the visitor information centers and lodging for help planning the trip. Check items such as tour days and what time buses stop running or some may not run on Sundays. Check if your lodging has tours.
In Las Vegas or convention towns, check if a big convention is in town because they use 50,000 rooms and it is then hard to get one.
Consider if you want the first day to be long and action packed or leisurely. Generally if flying, you have to get to the airport early, consider the flight time and if it is delayed, the time getting to and from airports and the time before leaving packing and buying last minute items makes it a very stressful long day. Arriving early in a destination gets more hours for the money for the lodging but you may be exhausted when you are there and when you get home will need a vacation from the vacation. You may want the last day to be at a leisure pace so not tired when you get home. Consider a leisurely pace as you arrive at night and have night activities instead of a whole day of activities ahead. I had a tour bus pick me up at an airport hotel when I arrived. I took the city tour and got dropped off free in the city by my lodging to save airport transportation. It was exhausting after sitting on a plane and then a bus all day.
Flying is usually cheaper Tuesday to Thursday and certain hours. Generally it is when others are not flying and the same with lodgings, (terms: peak, non peak and blackout periods).
Amtrak is the easiest form of transportation. You do not have to get there way before departure. Luggage used to be much more than other transportation modes. The chairs are better with more arm room, leg space and some people stretch out across 2 chairs. There is a sleeping and dining car. You can walk around.
Save all research such as flights and lodging you researched but did not use, in case they lose your reservation. If you have a flight transfer, have a list of lodgings in case you miss your plane and you have to stay there. Check out in advance where the crime areas are. You might ask the police or taxis at the airport.
This will eventually be moved to the Vacation Planning on the top tab.