Traverse City Vacation Planning

Regardless of the season, here are some tips for planning your next Traverse City vacation.
Do Your Homework 
A little online research will go a long way, even if you have been to the Traverse City, Leelanau or Torch Lake area before.  Every year there are new festivals, vacation rentals, restaurants, boat rentals and shops to enjoy.  If you have friends that have recently made a trip up north talk to them to find out if there were any must see places or events that you should make sure to include.  
A few of the fun events in the area are:
National Cherry Festival
Michigan Schooner Festival
Winter Fest
Leelanau Peninsula Wine, Food & Music Festival
Manitou Music Festival
Traverse City Film Festival
Traverse City Chocolate Festival
Traverse City Wine & Art Festival
Traverse City Comedy Festival
Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival  
Set an Estimated Budget 
It’s tough to make decisions about where to stay, how to get there and what to do once you arrive if you don’t have any idea how much money you are willing to spend.  You don’t need an exact figure but it’s a good idea to have a price range that you want to stay within.  If you are at a complete loss as to how much to allocate for the trip, begin by looking at lodging and transportation options as those will likely be your biggest investments. 
Select a Vacation Rental 
There are lots of options in the Traverse City, MI area including hotels, bed and breakfasts and vacation rental homes. If you venture outside of the city limits hotels are hard to come by but vacation rentals are easy to find throughout Leelanau, Suttons Bay, Glen Arbor, Leland, North Port and the Torch Lake area. Choosing a hotel, vacation rental house or bed and breakfast depends on the ambiance, amenities, number of people in your group and the experience you are looking for.  
Make sure to book your reservations as early as possible especially if you are interested in vacationing in Northern Michigan in the summer months or around the holidays.  Also, if you plan on bringing a pet make sure to ask if the vacation rental is pet-friendly. Some of the vacation rental houses allow pets.  Click here to browse the selection of vacation home rentals at Traverse Area Vacation Rentals
If you are leaving a pet behind make plans for them well in advance.  Whether you have a kennel that you like to use, a neighbor that will be helping out or a friend staying at your home you will want to make sure to set it up early. 
Decide how you will be getting to the Traverse City area, and if you are not driving how you plan to get around once you arrive.  The Cherry Capital Airport is located right in Traverse City.  American Eagle, Delta and United Express serve it.  Click here to visit Traverse City's Cherry Capital Airport website
If you’re driving east to get to Michigan you may want to look into the SS Badger car ferry.  It’s in operation from mid-May to mid-October.  It allows you to skip the Chicago traffic and shorten your trip by crossing Lake Michigan.  You have the option of relaxing inside or on the upper deck at the ship makes the sixty-mile crossing. 
There are several car rental companies as well as bike rentals and the beta bus to choose from.  If you plan on staying downtown Traverse City for most of your stay you may just want to use a cab when needed. 
Make a Shopping & Packing List 
By making a packing list you will be reminded of things that you need to buy (if anything) to prepare for your trip up north.  The Traverse City area has dramatic temperature changes with the seasons.  Do you have the proper gear and clothing?  If you are vacationing in the summer do the kids have swimsuits that fit, are you stocked up on sunblock?  Of course you can purchase these things when you arrive as well, but it’s nice to be able to play and relax once you arrive up north. 
If you want to attend a special event that could be a sell out risk make sure to contact a concierge or purchase the tickets ahead of time.  Other items to think about before your arrival are boat rentals, golf outings and lift tickets.  You may be able to get a better rate if you purchase them before you leave home. 
The earlier you can pack the better. Of course it’s tough to pack too far in advance if you will need the clothing prior to your trip, but anything that’s not needed should be packed and then the item can be crossed off your packing list.  If you are packing for the whole family make sure to use different bags for people staying in different rooms.  For example if you are staying at a Traverse City vacation rental you don’t want to have the kids running to your room every morning to find their outfit for the day. Don’t forget car or airplane entertainment and comfort items as well as a small first aid kit, and if you are driving it might be a good idea to keep a cooler in the car for snacks. 
Now that you have completed all the hard work in planning a northern Michigan vacation have a great time and make lots of wonderful memories.