How I Plan My Trips

How I Plan My Trips

There’s nothing I love more than scouring the internet for city breaks and sunny holiday deals. I probably check almost daily to see what bargains are out there, and with the deals I find I would be better starting up my own travel agent business – I’d be in the big bucks. When it comes to trips, I’m known as the “organised” one. I like having every last detail down to a T, and with the success of my trips that can only be a good thing, so for this post I thought it would only be right to share some of my tips and tricks for when it comes to planning the ideal trip.

SEARCH THE WHOLE OF THE BIG WIDE WEB

Don’t be impulsive and go for the very first deal you see, I know how easy it can be to want to book up the first thing you see because you think you’ve found a good deal, but ALWAYS look elsewhere as you might get more for your money or even money off the trip if you’re lucky and look hard enough. I typically go for package holidays with travel agents as I find that to be the most financially beneficially route and if anything goes wrong then the holiday is ATOL protected. There’s no harm in taking a look at what several different travel agents are offering and comparing them to see where’s best value for money. However, do bear in mind that sometimes it can be cheaper to book the flights and hotel separately, so make a note of any price differences. Cheap doesn’t always mean cheerful, so the key thing is to do your research…check out things like hotel reviews, and the hotel location because it’s not worth it if it’s miles out from the city centre and the majority of your trip is spent travelling to and from the city, you want to make the most of your time.

THE PLANNING STAGE

Once I’ve booked a trip, the next best part other than booking it and looking forward to it, is the planning stage. I can’t even tell you the excitement I feel when it comes to sorting out an itinerary. Asides from finding cheap holidays deals, I could also start up a business in selling itineraries because (not to boost my own ego)…they’re pretty amazing.

1. LISTS BECOME YOUR BEST FRIEND

First things first, search all of the attractions for the place you are going to and make a list of the attractions that you would like to see/do. Asides from the typical Google search, which is very handy, I also like to read blog posts such as travel diaries/itineraries. Reading what bloggers got up to on their trips is good for planning a trip as you’ll tend to find unique and quirky things to do or see that may not come up on the first page of Google search. Write your list of places down, type them up, whatever suits you – just keep a note of them so that you can refer back to your list when you’re putting the itinerary together.

2. SPLIT YOUR ITINERARY UP WISELY

Obviously depending on the duration of the trip, you want to make sure you cover as much as possible, if not everything on your list. My best advice would be to split your itinerary into areas, so for example with the likes of New York (where I currently am at the moment and still can’t quite believe it), you could split it into areas such as Lower Eastside, Upper Westside, Midtown, Lower Manhattan etc. Find attractions that are in those areas or as close together as possible so you aren’t spending all of your time going from one place on one side of the city to another place on the opposite side. When I was in Poland for a few days in the Summer, we split up our itinerary in the way explained above, so that one day was covering the Old Town, and the other day the Jewish Quarter. This was effective as it allowed us to cover everything in these areas, especially given that one of the three days we were there we would be travelling to Auschwitz so wouldn’t have time for much else that day. It’s also wise to look for places for a coffee break or for a bite to eat in these areas too, whether you have these planned out in advance (I tend to), or look for places when you’re there, it’s entirely up to you, a little spontaneity can be good though.

3. LOOK FOR MONEY SAVING OPTIONS

Look into ways in which you can save money, as this will potentially result in you having some extra spending money for when you’re at your destination. Does the place you’re visiting offer travel cards or attraction passes? These can be great money saving investments, however, it highly depends on what you’re wanting to see/do on your trip so it’s best figuring this out first. Below I’ve listed a few attraction passes/cards (including links) that I am aware of and some of which I have purchased myself, saving me and those on the trip a great deal of money.

BerlinBerlin Welcome Card (also includes public transport)

AmsterdamI Amsterdam City Card (also includes certain public transport)

New YorkNew York CityPASS, New York Pass, and Explorer Pass (a comparison of the passes can be found here)

PraguePrague Card

Before rushing to buy an attraction pass, I usually produce a spreadsheet which lists all of the things I plan on doing. I have a column for the price of how much it will cost (without the pass), and another column for the price it will be (if any) if I were to purchase one of the passes. This allows me to see if the pass is worth purchasing and on average how much I would save if I was to purchase it. Trust me, such passes can be a great saving, I’ve found that out from my own experience of purchasing them.

4. BOOK WHAT HAS TO BE BOOKED

Remember to book things in advance that are hugely popular as you don’t want to waste an hour or two of a busy day waiting in line, or to be turned away because something has been fully booked or the queue is just out of hand. Skip the line passes can be beneficial, however it depends on the attraction and the time of year, you may not necessarily need to always book things. I booked skip the line passes for the Eiffel Tower a few years back and I found them to be a sensible purchase as I didn’t have to wait in any lines, and this allowed me to fit a few extra things into my itinerary for that very evening.

5. DON’T FORGET THE ESSENTIALS

With the whole planning of a trip, make sure you don’t forget the important stuff…travel insurance, toiletries, exchanging your money, adaptors (if needed) for charging up any gadgets. I actually got a Monzo Card for America so that I didn’t have to carry a large sum of money around in my handbag or leave it in the hotel room. A lot of places accept Monzo cards, and payments in shops and restaurants abroad are free so this may be something you wish to look into. 

6. ENJOY

The final step is for you to enjoy the trip and let all the planning you’ve done come to life. I truly love nothing more than when a plan comes together. You spend the majority of the year working and saving up in order to see more of the world, so enjoy your time off and make the most of your trip.

What are your tips for planning a trip? 

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22 Comments

  1. January 15, 2020 / 6:48 pm

    My favourite thing about traveling is the planning! I love researching places to visit and planning the itinerary. I just love planning!! Love your post x

    C. Smith

    • Holly
      Author
      January 21, 2020 / 1:30 pm

      Mine too, I love the thrill of researching and putting an itinerary together! Thanks for reading!

      Holly x

  2. February 2, 2020 / 2:05 pm

    Your literally the same as me! You can beat the planning stage and making that itinerary! Nothing gives me more excitement!! Beaut blog xxxx

    • Holly
      Author
      February 17, 2020 / 10:10 am

      Yes it’s one of the best parts, although that can sometimes mean when it comes to trips I’m the one who gets left to plan it all haha! Thanks for reading lovely!

      Holly xxxx

  3. February 23, 2020 / 12:44 am

    I love planning trips it makes me so excited checking out different places to stay, flights and then the itinerary!

    • Holly
      Author
      February 23, 2020 / 7:28 pm

      I love it too!! Although it’s sometimes stressful when it’s left on me to do, I take it in my stride to plan the best trip possible!

      Holly x

  4. I’m more of a spontaneous traveler. I used to be big on planning ahead and making lists and schedules, but at the end of the day it didn’t really work for me. Especially booking sights beforehand (even though it saved a big buck!) turned out more of a nuisance when I met new people and was invited hither and tither. I like a surprise element in life and not planning too much leaves a lot of space for the unexpected 🙂

    • Holly
      Author
      February 23, 2020 / 7:59 pm

      You just have to find what works for you, and I totally agree a little spontaneity is great! I’m always spontaneous when it comes to booking trips but that’s about it. I’m glad you’ve found what works, if you’re meeting new people and plans change then definitely best being spontaneous! Thanks for reading.

      Holly x

  5. Kayleigh Zara
    February 23, 2020 / 6:21 pm

    I really like to pre-book everything before I set off on my adventure as I feel like it makes everything much easier x

    • Holly
      Author
      February 23, 2020 / 8:05 pm

      I totally agree! It makes it that little bit less stressful, avoids waiting in lines for tickets etc and ensures you get to see and do everything!

      Holly x

  6. February 23, 2020 / 6:23 pm

    Love these! I definitely would have forgotten at least one of this haha. This is almost like a checklist for others users so that’s awesome. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Holly
      Author
      February 23, 2020 / 8:05 pm

      Awww thank you for reading, I appreciate it!

      Holly x

  7. nortoncharity
    February 23, 2020 / 7:20 pm

    This is a great list of tips! We are planning on traveling in August this year so I will have to use these ideas to make sure we are well prepared. Thanks for sharing!
    -Charity http://www.morningsonmacedonia.com

    • Holly
      Author
      February 23, 2020 / 8:07 pm

      Thanks so much!! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      Holly x

  8. February 23, 2020 / 8:10 pm

    This is the perfect planning list. I love the research part, flights, hotels and endless lists of things I want to see. I pre-book the places I know to be very crowded, but other than that I like to leave some room to just wander the streets or watch the world go by with a coffee on the table.
    Anda

    • Holly
      Author
      February 23, 2020 / 8:18 pm

      Thanks so much for reading! Yes that’s always good, I like to leave a bit of a gap too incase you ending up finding somewhere during the trip that you want to stop and see!

      Holly x

  9. February 23, 2020 / 8:45 pm

    I’m the same, I love to everything planned before I go or it just makes me super stessed! x

  10. February 23, 2020 / 9:21 pm

    The essence of a good trip is doing all the planning in advance, so one can truly enjoy the benefits of having nothing to worry about. I love spending my time away from home soaking in all the new sights!
    As always, I leave myself a little wiggle room. 😉

    • Holly
      Author
      February 24, 2020 / 10:18 am

      I truly agree with all of the above!! Although it’s important to plan, it’s also important to leave some space for spontaneous decisions/plans!

      Holly

  11. lindapurcell724gmailcom
    February 23, 2020 / 9:46 pm

    I like to plan this way too. It relieves me of sime stress.

    • Holly
      Author
      February 24, 2020 / 10:19 am

      Yes I am the exact same!

      Holly x

  12. February 23, 2020 / 10:52 pm

    I love how you plan out your trips! It is so important to be organized so you don’t have to spend the time you’re there wondering what you want to do. You definitely need the essentials down! Things can get expensive abroad. Thanks for sharing!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

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