With so much to consider, planning trips can be intimidating at first. It’s much less overwhelming once you break it down. Before you go on your next vacation, read on for my easy 4-step guide to planning travel.
1. Monitor flights and set price alerts
Leverage websites such as Google Flights, Skyscanner, and Kayak which have features that allow you to track and set price alerts for flights. These sites will do the heavy lifting of checking for updated pricing for you. I’ve had the best luck setting price alerts starting at 6 months prior to my desired travel dates. It’s best if you are flexible with your travel dates to get the best pricing. It’s usually cheaper to fly out mid-week as opposed to Friday or Saturday.
2. Research accommodations
Use sites like Tripadvisor, Oyster, and Booking.com to read reviews of hotels that you’re interested in staying at. I enjoy Tripadvisor for the unedited traveler photos and Oyster for the photos taken by their own staff. Booking.com is good for comparing hotel options and being able to view the results on a map to ensure you’re finding a good location. Don’t forget to check rates at the hotel’s direct website as they may offer special amenities or rate offers not available at other booking websites. Another great option for accommodations is a vacation rental property. I’ve had great luck using Homeway.com for booking apartments. Another popular website is Airbnb – here’s $40 to try it out!
3. Find things to do
Use sites like Viator to get a feel for things you can do while at your destination. They are a consolidator of tour and travel services that I’ve used for years with much success. I find their suppliers to be top-notch and reliable. Even if you don’t book with them, they’ll give you ideas for fun and exciting things to do.
Don’t forget about guide books. Rick Steves is a popular guide known for providing knowledgable and sound travel advice. Carry as many as you need in a Kindle!
4. Map it out
Once you’ve found a place to stay, head on over to Google Maps and create your own custom map. Place a pin on your new “home” by saving it to your map. Now you can search for things nearby – like the nearest ATM, pharmacy, and grocery store – and save those to your map as well. If you’ve booked any tours, they’ll include where the meet-up point will be – go ahead and look this up and save them to your map too. You can now look up directions from your lodging to the meet-up point. Doing this ahead of time will allow you to group your activities based on location, spending less time and money traveling across the city.
I hope these tips will help you plan your next trip! If you have other ways that help you plan your trips, let me know in the comments below…