A little prep can go a long way when it comes to your vacation. Compass & Key has outlined six steps to follow in the weeks leading up to your holiday, so you can spend more time wandering and less time searching. Each step takes advantage of today's technology with apps designed specifically for savvy travelers, including many from our 10 Essential Travel Apps. Follow along as these resources help us prep for a long weekend on the Amalfi Coast in southern Italy.
2-3 Weeks Prior
1) Pack Slow & Smart
A week or two before your departure date, start setting aside the items you plan to pack. Use an app like PackPoint to generate a packing list based on your destination, the length of stay, and planned activities. PackPoint listed a beach towel in our Amalfi Coast list, and because we'll be staying at an Airbnb in Italy, a fast-drying, packable towel will help in case the house doesn't have enough. Use a spare room or any empty corner to accumulate your items, including freshly-cleaned clothing to avoid last minute laundry runs.
2) Share Your Plans
Compile your flight, lodging, and any pre-booked activity information into an app like TripCase to easily share with friends and family in case they need to reach you in an emergency (or if they are simply curious). TripCase can also automatically notify loved ones when your flights have arrived. The cellular signals should be strong enough on the Amalfi Coast, but it's still great to let Mom & Dad know that our flight landed in Naples.
3) Get Social
Use the power of social media to make the most of your vacation. First, visit the websites of your hotel and the destination visitor/tourism office to find and follow their social media accounts. Then, search online for "top Instagram accounts in [DESTINATION]" and follow any accounts that inspire you, especially local photographers and bloggers. Also seek out destination-specific hashtags. Dedicate a few hours, and you will be surprised to discover new sights and restaurants that aren't listed in the guidebooks. It was through blogger Nikki Positano that we learned about a beautiful picnic spot and a local restaurant in the smaller village of Praiano, next to Positano.
1 Week Prior
4) Map It Out
Mapping app HERE WeGo allows you to collect destinations for offline access. For our Amalfi Coast collection, we saved our Airbnb location so we can always find our way home, as well as shops, restaurants, museums and churches we found in our research. We know we can't visit everything in a long weekend, but it gives us some ideas of what to see (and eat) as we wander the towns and villages.
5) Make It Accessible
Download important files for offline use and avoid relying on wifi. Use secure services like Google Drive or iCloud Drive, both which have smartphone apps, to store transportation and lodging confirmations and copies of your passport. We've downloaded the map of Campania in HERE maps, which covers Naples and the Amalfi Coast, as well as the relevant city guides in digital guidebook app Triposo. Finally, make sure to download new podcasts and favorite music playlists for the road. I never leave home without the latest posts from my favorite podcasts Nerdette, Snap Judgment, and Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me.
6) Get Local
Search for special events happening on the dates of your trip, including festivals, food markets, concerts, art exhibitions, and more. Start with the event sections of the online editions of local newspapers, using Google Chrome to help translate any international papers. The Positano News showcased a new ancient navigation exhibition at an art gallery in Amalfi and a literary festival at a wine bar in Minori. Also try TimeOut, which covers events and entertainment in 108 cities across 39 countries. Use the app BandsinTown to find live music, which highlighted a DJ event in Positano and a weekend-long music festival in Naples.
Follow these six steps and all you'll have to do the day before you leave is zip up your suitcase. Don't forget to follow Compass & Key on Facebook and Instagram to see snapshots from our long weekend on the Amalfi Coast!