The Good Hiker crew (me, sister Lisa, and nieces Katie and Susie — the original Certified Good) are heading to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks this summer for the Fourth Annual Girls’ Adventure Tour.
We’re in the planning stages now. And of course, we do nearly all of it online. (What did we ever do before the Internet? Used the phone, I guess. Gasp.)
Read on to hear about some of the resources we have used to plan this trip. What are your favorite trip-planning sites or other resources? Add some in the comments, or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We used Vacation Rentals by Owner for previous rentals near national parks, and found some great houses and cabins. I struck out this time, however, when looking for something near Yellowstone. Everything was too far, too small, or too expensive.
I recalled that my friend Eva Young, a graphic designer, worked on a print magazine called 99 things to do in Yellowstone Country. I started looking through that and its online companion MyYellowstonePark.com. I found some great info on where to stay and what to do.
Although lots of places were sold out, we booked lakeside lodging at Signal Mountain Lodge, which is right in Grand Teton National Park. Interestingly, the lodge does not have online booking, so we did it all on the phone. They were very helpful, which is why they want you to call, it seems. I did just hear that we won’t have wi-fi in our rooms. That’s okay. I don’t plan to spend a lot of time online while we’re there. The whole point is to get outdoors and away from the LCD screens that dominate our lives. Still, it is always fun to upload trip photos to Facebook in the evenings (so keep watch on the Good Hiker page on Facebook!).
The official national parks site is very helpful. You can quickly find the park or region you are interested in, and from there you can find all kinds of info on policies, activities, etc. For example, here’s the Plan Your Visit to Yellowstone National Park page. My friend Kurt’s site, National Parks Traveler, is also very helpful.
We’ll be getting our National Parks Passport books stamped with Yellowstone and Grand Teton stamps, of course. This list of cancellation stations is handy. Who knew there are more than 20 cancellation stations in Yellowstone? That ought to keep us busy! You can read more about the passports program in my earlier post.
We’re getting our tour t-shirts printed at Vistaprint, using a discount from Groupon. And Lisa and I are sharing planning documents in our shared Dropbox folder and scheduling things on a shared Google calendar. When our travels approach I’ll use Weather Underground for checking weather reports, as well as Google maps to plan my driving route.
We still have a few weeks to plan our adventure to Wyoming. Have any ideas on what to see, what to do, or great trip-planning websites? We want to do some horseback riding, hiking, boating, wildlife watching and more. I’d also love to find a good site for splitting expenses. Please share your tips and ideas!
Update: Coincidentally, Mashable just posted a nice article about using social media while on vacation.