People often ask me how do I plan a trip. Here are 5 ways to plan your vacation that are simple and work!
1. I look at a world map
This may sound kind of silly, but there are so many countries to visit, so many different parts of the world to be explored that looking at a map or a globe helps me plan my vacation. Sometimes I get stuck in going to the same region because it becomes familiar.
For instance, I have been to Western Europe at least once a year for the past 10 years, plus I lived there for 4 years so it’s is not a place that gets me excited. I like to look at places that most people don’t go, which is why I went to Ecuador and Russia a few years ago. Looking at a globe helps me remember those places that may not be a hotbed of tourism but are just as remarkable.
2. I see how easy it is for me to travel there
Working for an airline makes things much easier when it comes to flights. I don’t fly for free internationally but I do fly at a greatly reduced price. But, if I didn’t have that privilege, I would simply wait for glitch fares and go where the deals take me. Secret Flying , Skyscanner, and Groupon Getaways are helpful sites for planning trips.
Sometimes booking a package deal is much better than buying airfare and lodging separately so don’t discount group deals.
When traveling between countries in Europe I never fly standby. I always buy my ticket and Ryanair and Easyjet have always worked very well for me. For instance, I was traveling with two friends from Rome to Paris and I found our tickets on easyjet for $35 dollars each.
BE ADVISED: Most discount airlines in Europe have very strict rules regarding boarding passes (you may be charged to have one printed at the airport) and luggage (you get charged for any checked bag and not all carryons fit their requirements). However, even with those restrictions, the low fare is worth it.
3. find out how much money is needed
xe.com is really easy to use. This is a currency converter website telling you what type of value you will get for your money when exchanged.
Search places you have in mind where you want to travel and see how much $100 will get for that amount. Right now in Chile, $100 will get me 48,174.72 pesos (Can you believe that?) as opposed to $100 = 76 Euros.
Your money will go much further is a country that doesn’t use the Euro which may impact the things you will be able to do.
4. check out apartment rentals
I check what apartment rentals are in the city I’ll be visiting. If I end up traveling with someone we would split that cost which is even less money I would have to spend. But even if I end up going by myself, the price of renting an apartment is usually cheaper than a hotel. I have had great success with VRBO, Housetrip, and airbnb.
5. I do my research
I have never taken a vacation without researching what there is to see and do. Websites are great but I like to look at books. GASP! A book! Yes, believe it or not, I love travel books and I think they are much more informative.
I tend to lean towards DK Eyewitness Travel Guides because I love the color pictures and the way the books are broken down makes it really easy for me to find information. Researching a destination is the best part for me, I love learning about new things to do somewhere I’ve never been.
And that’s it, that’s my process. It has worked well for me and I hope I have given you some helpful ideas for when you plan your next trip.