The vacation of our dreams takes place on a faraway tropical beach; the cobblestone streets of an ancient city; a bed and breakfast in a neighboring state. We close our eyes and there we are: drinks in hand, tours mapped, and dinner reservations booked. But real escapes — no matter how big or small — take actual work to pull off. And as much as our wanderlust-hearts want to wing an upcoming excursion to Portugal or two week stay in Italy, it literally pays off to honor our hard-saved vacation cash with pre-planning. But when life gets in the way, it's tough to figure out exactly when, where, and how to successfully plan ahead.
Instead of allowing our busy schedules to foil future trips with haphazard planning, we asked Melissa Biggs Bradley, former travel editor of Town & Country and founder of Indagare — a boutique travel company that offers modern, membership-based travel services — for help. Something that many of us tend to overlook is that, "planning and booking a 7-day trip can take up to 30-40 hours [of] researching," the Indagare CEO told Refinery29. To help get us on the right track, Bradley shared some of her wayfaring wisdom — outlining exactly what steps to take in planning your next escape. Regardless of personal travel style or budget, the six tips ahead can help shape your wildest travel whims into achievable realities.