By now you've narrowed it down to your short list, and it's time to see if your research and intuition are right. You're now ready to visit your chosen locations and see which one is truly the best place for you. It's better to structure your travel to visit several cities on the same trip so you can save time and money. It's also easier to evaluate destinations if you see them back to back. On this initial trip you only need to spend a couple of days in each city, so you can cover a lot of territory in ten days if you plan it out. For example, you could visit Astoria, OR, Olympia, WA and Port Townsend, WA in a week by flying into Portland and out of Seattle and driving in between. Use Mapquest.com to plan out your stops. Here are some resources that can help you plan your trip:
Tourist Information:Towd.com/Tourist Office Worldwide Directory - has listings of all the official state and international tourist offices http://towd.com/
ChamberofCommerce.com - this site allows you to search for any city's chamber of commerce where you can then link to tourist information
Travel Agents:Kayak.com - search hundreds of websites to help you find the right flight, hotel and rental car for the perfect trip. Not to mention at the best price.
Orbitz.com - air, hotels, car rental, etc.
Priceline.com - you can select specific flights or name a price and seeif an airline accepts your bid.
Hotwire.com - Has very low fares but you can only specify dates and destinations and not specific flights.
TravelZoo.com - searches multiple travel sites at once
Vacation Home Rentals:Cyberrentals.com - search for vacation home rentals around the country
VRBO.com/Vacation Home Rentals By Owner
FindUtopia.com Score Card - You can use this form to help rate each place you visit and compare the scores.
Rate and Score Your Prospective Best Places:
Continue on to Step 6 >>