Planning a good trip takes a lot of research. If you want to use your time properly and to not waste any on your trip, looking for things up, then you’ll need to do some research in advance.
The internet enables you to find all the information you need, but since there is so much information, it’s easy to get lost and confused.
In today’s post I’ve decided to make your life easier by helping you be precise and efficient when it comes to planning your trip. In the following post I will share everything that my husband and I do before flying to our next destination
Phases of Planning
- Deciding upon a destination
- Planning the overall itinerary
- Booking your flights – Our favorites sites are Kiwi and Skyscanner
- Booking your hotel – click here to find out how to look up cheap hotels
- Renting a car – click here to find out how to do it and save money
- Finding attractions and restaurants at destination and tours- recommended site for tour is Get your guide
Choosing your destination
Before starting to plan a trip, you first have to choose where you want to travel to. Choosing your destination depends upon a few things:
- When you want to travel (weather has a lot of influence)
- For how long – if you want to go for 5 days for example, you should probably not travel far
- What do you want to get out of your trip? Shopping? Sun bathing? Hiking?
- What type is your trip? Are you traveling with your family? Going on a honeymoon? Backpacking alone?
So, how do you find your proper destination?
- Searching by a cheap flight: You can go on websites like Kiwi and Skyscanner to search for the cheapest flights. You can enter your dates and it will find your destination.
- Looking up a destination by doing research: You can go on google and find the latter parameters. You can search the following term: “best destinations for sun bathing in September in Europe.” You will get some results and find what you like.
- Searching by getting recommendations from Facebook groups: There are plenty of great Facebook groups that you can ask people where you should go to, and base your decision according to what other people are saying. You should look up Tips4travel on Facebook.
- Reading travel blogs: There are plenty of travel blogs that you can read of other’s experiences of your desired destination. It’s a great way to find out which destinations you’ll like.
Example for why we chose to go to Italy:
It was the end of April, and the weather was good. We wanted to go for 12 days and we knew that we would get to see a lot during that time. We love scenic views and nature, and we discovered that Italy has so much nature. Plus we wanted a nice and romantic trip that involves some great food and wine
Researching of the destination and planning a general Itinerary
Before booking your flights, you have to understand what there is at the destination you’re going to especially if you’re going for more than 5 days. Why, you’re asking yourselves? Well, you must plan the course to know if you want to fly from the same airport or a different one.
In case you’re only going for a few days, you can skip this step and move on to searching the flights.
After we decided to go to Italy, we chose which places we wanted to visit.
How to Plan an itinerary for your Trip?
Googling places: you should google specific things that interest you, otherwise you can get lost. For example, places with a water park, or a place with vineyards.
Googling recommendations: you can google something like “Italy trip planning for 2 weeks.” You can look at the places they recommend. You can even take advantage of a tourist organization and look at their courses.
Looking in travel blogs: some bloggers write the course they took, so you can google “Italy trip course blog,” or actually go to blogs you know and see what they wrote about your desired destination.
Example for how I planned the Italy trip:
I looked up on google and on blogs to find where I can find the best vineyards and wineries, and I found many good things of Tuscany.
I looked up where you can see lakes, and which are the most recommended ones. I’ve read of all of them and picked Lake Como, because it fit us the best.
I also picked Rome, because we wanted a modern city filled with history and unique places.
After picking those 3 areas I planned the course. I decided that we will start in Rome and end at Lake Como.
I checked the distances and realized that it wouldn’t be a problem to fly to and from Rome, because the distance to the lake was 7 hours and we decided to drive.
Searching for flights
As to hotels, click here to read more how to find cheap hotels to see how to find hotels for cheap, or if you’d like to get an Airbnb, click here to read a detailed guide about Airbnb. Before looking for the specific hotel you’ll need to know in which area you’d like to stay at, and that takes a small research.
In our Romania trip we wanted to sleep at places that are more unique, like cabins or guesthouses.
I scouted endless of Google photos under the terms “special cabins in Romania,” and clicked on the ones I liked best. Once you click on an image you can find the hotel’s website.
I found that the place that I liked was in a local’s village that was about 45 minute drive from Brasov. I contacted them to find out the prices and we ended up booking a night. It was an exceptional stay.
When we stayed in Sinaia I looked up a boutique hotel that is near the park.
Renting a car or riding public transportation
After booking your flight, finding your hotels, and deciding on a main course you’ll need to figure out the best way for you to get around. Personally, we prefer renting a car, both because we love to enjoy scenic rides and maybe pull over for a nice picnic, and also because it’s easier to explore.
If you are an explorer and want to cover as much ground as possible, then the cost of a taxi will be way higher than that of a car, especially if you’re going as a family. Renting a car will just make your life easier.
In case you have decided to rent a car, it’s important to understand from when you should rent it. In Romania we rented a car from Cluj-Napoca at the airport. We took it around the area to Transylvania and returned it in Bucharest.
While in Bucharest, we spent 3 days without a car because it is a large and modern city, where you get to use your legs a lot. Taxi fare is also really cheap
Looking up for attractions, restaurants, and bars
I recommend you write a list of things you want to do, see and eat in each of your destinations.
You can find recommendations in blogs, facebook groups, search in websites such as LikeALocal to hear from actual locals. Instagram, is a great way of finding things you like as well, sort of as a search engine for food and places. Use the geotag and look up hashtags such as #LakeComoFoodie or something like that.
If you’re renting an Airbnb you can ask for your host for some recommendations as well.
If you are looking for tours I highly recommend Get your guide site.
We always do a thorough research before going on a trip so we won’t miss anything that is really worth seeing.
On the other hand, we look for the specific things that are in our interests, and don’t just write down all of the things that are worth seeing, because we like to relax and not work around the clock to see as many things as possible.
It’s important to remember that while on a trip, you have to enjoy the moment and not live as if in a race. Remember that it’s ok if you don’t get to see everything that your destination has to offer, just focus on your interests and enjoy that.
You also have to leave some room for spontaneity. You always end up finding new and cool places that were not on your list, and that’s a bonus.