Today I talk to you about how to prepare your trip!
Usually, when I travel, I tend to prepare a minimum (circuit / accommodation). I know vaguely the main points of interest. Then, once I’m on the spot, I decide what to do/see according to the weather, my mood day. Yes, because we don’t get up every day like “hey today I really want to hike”. And I like doing a mix, visits, walks, chill at the beach.
(My little foot on a Sri Lanka’s beach)
Of course I have a (veeeery long) list of places / countries that I dream to visit. I made a Europe Bucket list not long ago. But sometimes I can have a crush on a pics seen on Instagram / Facebook and I rush headlong in this destination.
Depending on the country, it may be important to check the weather (especially if the country has rainy and monsoon seasons). For that I rather look on website like The best time to visit or Responsible travel. I tend to hibernate under my duvet in winter and less travel. I like to combine holidays and sun, even for a city trip. My travels are therefore most often between April and October (north hemisphere) ! In the middle of winter you have to go far (and pay more) to walk just wearing a tee-shirt 😉.
Different information’s source
To determine my itinerary I am documenting myself via different websites / tools.
Of course I read blogs of people who, like me, are passionate about travel. To find them, you could use Google of course but as very few are well referenced so it’s not enough. You can also post a message on specific blogs Facebook group, members will respond with their links!
In french I use to use “Le Routard”, our reference. But of course Lonely planet is the international reference. You can find a lot of information about visa, currency, etc. You can buy paper book but also PDF book (good option to have a lighter bag).
The big “goldmine” is travelers Facebook group. You can: search on the group; post an information’s request. What I also do is when I see a publication with interesting information about a destination that I will go during the year I pin it. For that> the three small dots> save the publication. Then, when I prepare my itinerary I go back to my pins and I have all the necessary information 😊.
Pinterest is also a “visual” mine of information about favorite nooks/beaches. Of course you must save the pins containing a minimum of information about the place! Otherwise you will have beautiful pictures to make you drool but you can’t go… I made a Bucket list board and I pin all information that seems interesting or my favorites places. Whether it’s the photo of the place or a pin related to a blog post!
I like to scribble paper 😊, I note on a post-it the places that come back frequently and my favorites. And I try to regroup the “near” places at first. Then depending on the time I have on the country I usually make choices. If there is a nice beach but nothing great to do around it will probably not be my priority (unless it’s really the most beautiful spot in the country).
To avoid losing time once I’m on teh country I try to make a more or less circular circuit. Sometimes if the internal transports are not available every day I change the circuit to stick better with the number of days by key points that I had in mind.
I usually know which period I want or need (e.g. if it’s for a race) to go. I then start my ticket’s search. It’s good to know that it costs less to leave / return in the middle of the week rather than close to the weekend. Several airline ticket sites are market’s leader (skyscanner, google flight, etc.). There may be promotions on the airline’s website but rarely by the flight comparison websites itself. So no, you won’t have a cheaper 200E’s flight through one site rather than another. But some airlines are not referenced on all comparison websites. Often we hang on or not with the ergonomics of the site and that’s what makes us use it. If you want to go to multiple destinations, a “multi” search will often be more interesting.
Once you found an airline that makes the journey at an affordable price, go directly to the airline’s website! Indeed, if the price is substantially the same, customer service is usually better directly via the airline. Remember that comparison’s website generally don’t display application / bank card fees. The best is to go until to the payment page to know the real price.
Once I have the itinerary in mind I take a white sheet (or a post-it for a week-end) and I put all the dates, one line per day. I mention the days where I change locations. Then all I need is to find the accommodations on each date.
My favorites websites are Booking (click on the link to get 15E discount even if you have already registered) and Airbnb (click on the link to get 25E discount when you register). I usually juggle between both to see what is most interesting. Sometimes Airbnb doesn’t cost more than a backpacker for the same comfort. But I really like the sharing atmosphere of the hostel.
(My trip in New Caledonia, ready, and the onset of my Philippines trip’s preparation)