When organising a trip one of the most fun parts is planning the trip and piecing it all together, and finding out what there is to see and do in the destination you have chosen. Personally I’m a bit of an organising freak and find the part of planning a trip really enjoyable and exciting. When I was a travel agent many years ago I used to love helping people plan their dream trips, so in this little blog I wanted to share with you a few tips of what I normally do when putting together my own trips.
Guidebooks & Travel Blogs
My best bit of advise before planning any trip is to invest in a decent guide book. My favourite guide book go to is Lonely Planet (obvious I know, but they’re great) they do great pocket city guides with pull out maps and suggested walking routes. Lonely Planet Pocket Guides are great for city breaks as they break down the different areas of the city into small sections, so it’s easy and quick to look up information.
Lonely Planet also do huge country guide books too, which are great if your planning on stopping off at several places in one country. You can purchase their e-books and download it instantly so you don’t have to wait to receive a hard copy in the post. I normally find flicking through a guidebook helps me to plan the rest of my trip, and helps me work out how much time I need in a destination and which area is best to stay in.
If you haven’t already, download the Pinterest app and search through tons of travel guides, blogs and pictures and discover lots of travel inspiration and ideas about your chosen destination.
Plan & Prepare
When starting to plan and organise any trip or holiday do not book the first thing you see, do some research first. I always search several different sites that I use all the time and that I trust. When looking for flights I tend to look at my preferred airlines direct website, and also search for cheapest flights on a variety of comparison websites and apps, and then compare the costs and what’s included, some great sights for searching flight deals are:
I like to see what flights are available and which ones are direct and non direct as sometimes the non direct ones are great too. If you can get a long layover in places, you can go off exploring somewhere completely new, and it helps break up a long journey. We did this when flying to Melbourne my husband and I stopped in Abu Dhabi for 24 hours, we just paid for a hotel and went exploring the city and it really helped break the long trip to Australia up.
It’s always good idea before booking any flights to check out accommodation and to get an idea of what’s available and the cost. I like to stay in a variety of places, literally from one extreme to another. I’ve roughed it in some pretty grim hostels and guest houses but also some amazing and quirky hostels and guest houses too and stayed in luxury hotels.
Sometimes it’s good to mix it up, if your staying in cities I think it’s better to stick to cheaper accommodation as normally you will be out sightseeing all day, so all you need is a bed and shower. When you want more of a relaxing and chilled out trip make a splurge for some nicer accommodation. Personally I normally don’t like spending too much on accommodation as I would rather have more money to spend on the destination itself like eating out, tours and experiences, saying that you don’t have to completely slum it, in certain destinations you can get so much for your money. Some great accommodation providers to use are:
Once you have your flights and accommodation booked, then it’s time to start adding the extras such as travel insurance, airport parking, car hire etc. I always use Holiday Extras for these types of add ons. Always make sure you take out adequate travel insurance it’s an absolute must when travelling! If your a frequent traveller purchase a worldwide annual policy, this is normally what I do and if I’m taking a long trip I call up once it’s booked and check I’m covered and pay any additional charges.
Another way to help with planning your dream trip is to check out things to do in the area your staying in. There is so much information now available on destinations and you can find some pretty quirky stuff to see and do just by doing a bit of research before hand, have a look at the following for ideas and inspiration:
Before going on your trip I would suggest downloading maps.me, it’s an app that I absolutely swear by, it works offline and kind of works like a sat nav so it’s easy to find your way around places. You can pin places on your map so it’s good for planning itineraries, and if your short on time ensuring your not going out of your way to places and missing things to see and do along the way.
When planning your holiday or trip write up a quick list of things you need to research. I always do this as there is always something to be missed such as forgetting a visa or booking that popular limited excursion. Go over a travel checklist to take the stress out of travelling and so you know prior to going you can just relax and enjoy yourself when you get there.
- Transfers & Transport
- Holiday Extras (parking, insurance, car hire etc)
- Experiences & Tours
- Check Passports in date
Even if you don’t book everything in advance or all at once it’s still a good thought to get an idea of costs for accommodation, transfers, taxis, excursions, entrance fees etc so you don’t get any nasty surprises when your away, and have to worry about money.
So your fully prepared and not forgetting anything also make a packing list, I have one permanently saved on my phone, being cabin crew I am forever living out of a bag, so it’s handy to have it ready to glance over when packing.
Read more about packing: Ultimate Guide To Packing
Money & Budgeting
Once you have done all your research and worked out the cost of everything, you will have a better idea of how much your going to need when you get there. Keep a note on your phone of how much local transport may cost, as many locals especially in developing countries may see you coming and try to overcharge you. It’s better to have a rough idea of the cost so your prepared. In a lot of travel guidebooks they tend to give you a breakdown of an average cost of things such as taxis, food and accommodation. If you are on a tight budget download the Trail Wallet App and keep track of your spending that way.
Once I’ve worked out all the logistics and budget of my trip I then like to come up with a rough travel itinerary for each day I’m away, if your backpacking or travelling long term, then I would recommend just typing some notes on your phone, and when you see places that you fancy visiting just add them to a list so you don’t forget about them.
When planning a break or layover with work I normally have a search on Google, Pinterest, Instagram, Culture Trip, Lonely Planet, Viator and Klook and see what there is to see and do, and then I pin the places on my maps.me app. Once I’ve pinned everything on my map I’ll make an itinerary on the notes on my phone for example here’s one I made for a day in Seoul that I had with work:
Day 1: Brunch at Egg Drop Cafe / Bukchon Hanok Village / Unhyeongung Palace / Tapgol Park / Cheonggyecheon Stream / Ihwa Mural Villave & Naksan Park / Grab some street food for dinner Namdaemun Market / Night Markets in Hongdae
This is a great way to make the most out of you trip, I don’t religiously stick to my itineraries it’s just more of a guide so that I can see everything that I want to see, and don’t waste time trying to decide where to go next, or miss something that I wanted to see entirely. It saves time as your not having to go back on yourself, and if your in a certain area it’s worth making the most of your time there and seeing everything that you want to see. There’s nothing more annoying than discovering something after your have returned home and thinking to yourself “wish I had gone there!” So just by having a rough guide saved on your phone really helps you make the most of your trip.
Bonus Tip – For When Your On Your Trip
When your away on your the trip best thing to remember is to be yourself and relax. It’s always best to keep an open mind when travelling as you will meet some of the most amazing people along the way. Try to take part in as many amazing experiences as possible.
Remember to have a laugh and don’t take life too seriously, have a laugh with the locals and don’t be afraid to chat with them. Theres always a common ground where ever you are in the world. Basic English is spoken widely around most parts of the world, so don’t be afraid to get stuck in making new friends and sharing a joke. In many places locals like to practice their English and you to can have a practise at the local language or learning a few new words.
Wake up early and make the most of the day and to avoid the crowds in popular attractions. Take in the daily life of a destination by sitting outside and watching the world go by, you really get a feel for the area when just stopping for a little while and taking in the local life, sights, smells and sounds. Take tons of pictures when your away, they’re always great to look back on and reminisce when you return home. Always try and back up your photos too, just incase you loose your camera/phone or it gets stolen.
Most importantly just let go and have fun and enjoy yourself, life is far too short, cliche as it sounds live the life you love.
Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx