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I’ve recently realized I’ve never really gotten into how I plan my trips, which I get really into, by the way. Even if I am thinking about going somewhere, I will sit and plan it all out. Just because. Weird, right? Does anyone else do that? Anyone? It can seem intimidating at first, which it might be, but with a few resources under your belt that you know of, that can help get things going in the right direction. I’ve gotten my planning down pretty good at this point, so, let’s get to it!
Also, keep in mind, this is only what I do. This is my process and what I use to research things to do on trips and where to stay. I don’t know what anyone else does.
I won’t lie, sometimes (a lot) I just look at flights on Skyscanner because I’m bored. Even if I can’t afford to go anywhere, like anywhere at all. It’s just fun to look at it all.
I like Skyscanner the best because you can search by cheapest month if you’re really flexible on travel plans, or you can search a whole specific month to find the cheapest days if you’re less flexible. AND to make it even more fun, you can search for flights to everywhere from your airport. If you want to go somewhere cheap and aren’t too concerned about where you go, this is a good way to find cheap flights.
Hostelworld is my go-to to find hostels before going somewhere, whether I’m looking for something for my first few days or I’m already on the road looking for somewhere. I also use it in the planning stages to get an idea of how much accommodation will be costing me. It’s super helpful for coming up with a rough budget of how much I’ll need to save.
I love just perusing through guidebooks. They’re great for getting an idea of what some of the top things to do in places are as well as just where you might want to go in general. They’re great to have along on trips to reference when you have questions or need inspiration, but don’t be afraid to stray from it’s suggestions, too.
I also like some of their other books like The Big Trip to get ideas of tops things to do places. It suggests itineraries for gap year, round-the-world type trips so it can be really helpful for things like that, or if you’re just visiting a whole region.
Then there are the Best in Travel books that are always fun to read and the non-fiction books can be exciting, too. They’re a good way to get inspired to travel.
I love Pinterest, probably too much. It’s a great place to start planning. Like, if you just decided to go somewhere, hit up Pinterest to do some initial searches. I wouldn’t rely on it heavily, but it’s a great place to start and find some awesome and helpful blog posts.
It can give you some good ideas on things you’ll want to do or not want to do. Then you can go from there and find other things to do in the same area. It’s also great when you find a good blog post and then see that they have 15 more posts on where you’re going. There you go, reading material for days!
If you just see a plain picture with a destination in the caption, I would try looking it up on Google maps or just Googling it to make sure it’s actually there. Some things can be mislabeled.
I’m an avid blog reader and they are a huge part of how I plan my trips. I follow quite a few and have gotten a better idea of where to go if I want to read about a certain region. Some really helpful ones are:
Along Dusty Roads for Latin America (Central and South)
Never Ending Footsteps for Africa and the South Pacific
Helen in Wonderlust for Africa
Alex in Wanderland for Thailand
Young Adventuress for Australia and New Zealand
Lost With Purpose for Central Asia
World of Wanderlust for Europe
A Dangerous Business for Europe and the US
Hopefully, this helps when it comes to planning some of your future trips or even just gets you a little excited about planning some upcoming travels. I know it works for me and if you have any questions, feel free to shoot them my way! You can either leave a comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are your favorite trip planning resources? Do like planning trips? What does your planning system look like?