Today I'm linking up with Shay and Erika for Let's Look. The topic for this month is Travel Tips. *Edit, or I guess I will link up with them next week since I’m a week early!*
This is how I plan a trip - once we've chosen where we are going:
I use a Google Doc to keep track of everything. I start making a list of restaurants and sites to see. I get ideas for these things from Pinterest for different lists of popular things in the city or area that we are visiting. Things like "3 day Itinerary for Tuscany" or "Ultimate Girls Trip in Miami" etc. I'm just sourcing ideas and then Pinterest feeds me more ideas while I'm planning. I don't write everything down, just what I think would be of interest to us. I also make a little note of where I found it or if there is something special to order at that restaurant or other tips (like "order the mushroom pizza" or "buy tickets in advance"). I also take some of these posts with a grain of salt knowing that many are sponsored nowadays.
I also Google "best neighbourhood to stay in [City]" or "food to try in [Country]". Then I also just go to Google Maps to zoom into different areas and search for "hotels" or "bed and breakfast" or "restaurant" and see what I can find. This is how I found our accommodations in Hawaii.
When looking for restaurants to try, I stay away from Trip Advisor and Yelp ratings. Instead I try to find magazine or newspaper article lists, recommendations from friends or people I follow on Instagram.
Once I get enough ideas, then I start crafting an itinerary based on areas in the city or country, making sure to leave room for travel. I plot out each day with Breakfast, Morning, Lunch, Afternoon, Dinner, Evening and start filling them in so we can most efficiently use our time. I like an itinerary and to have some idea of what we plan to do each day.
When I look for hotels I always go to Expedia to get ideas, apply some filters, and to read the reviews (I always love the ones that say things like, "it rained everyday, 1 star"), however I usually go directly to the hotel's website to actually book. Same with flights, I usually book directly with the airline, but Expedia is my go-to for the ideas and options.
Once we have our hotel and travel reservations, I put all of that information into the Google Doc with reservation numbers, address, etc. I can later access this on my phone even if I'm offline.
Once you've got a good plan, then the actual trip is set up for success.
Bring comfortable shoes, a reusable water bottle, a bag that is easy and comfortable to carry, and prepare for the weather in that area.
Budget is important of course, but also remember you are on holiday and sometimes you pay for an experience, not just a meal or something to do, so be prepared to adjust your budget if there is something you really want to do. Many times that may be your only opportunity to try that thing in that place.
We love travel here, and if you want to check out some of our trips, you can click on my Travel tag