Step by step trip planning. Part 2.
In part 1 of this post I told you about my preferred options when it comes to booking flights and accommodation. You can read that here if you want to.
Before I book any hotels I like to do a bit of reading around the destination. What I’ve often done on recent trips is to do a kind of mini twin centre holiday. If I’m going somewhere and there is another city, town or landmark within a reasonable travelling distance, I’ll try to fit in another city as well!
A good starting point for destination research are the Rough Guides. They have some available online which are easy to navigate and contain loads of helpful information. The free online guides give you practical information such as entry requirements, crime stats, opening times and tipping as well as advice for people travelling with children or gay and lesbian travellers. There’s also usually a handy list of things such as festivals and holidays in the area. (Wish I’d known this before going to Paris and finding out that the day we got there was Bastille Day!)
The guides can also even give advice on possible itineraries and things not to miss. Overall I find them an excellent starting point for my research. You can find them via this link.
Whilst undertaking research, I generally set up a Pinterest board for the trip. As I find stuff that I want to see/do/visit, I pin the picture and put any relevant information in the description box such as address, opening times, cost, fares etc. Another useful thing to make a note of here is how long you might need to visit a particular attraction or site. You can often get this info from the website of the place or by looking at reviews on Trip Advisor or doing an internet search. Having this board means I’ve got all the info where I need it and can just click on the link to take me to the page when I need it.
Handy tip: also do some Pinterest searches for info on your chosen destination. I particularly like to search for the infographics which give you info on standard stuff like tipping etiquette etc. but also useful phrases like hello, goodbye, please and thank you. I like to learn at least these words when going somewhere new. I always think it’s appreciated when you make a little bit of effort.
The next step is to make a list of all the places I want to go to with the addresses. I then print off a map of the area from the internet. (This is the bit where my desk resembles a war room battle strategy table!) I then use little sticky page markers and write on the place and address. This then gets stuck onto the map at the place where it is. Once I have all of the places I want to go tagged on the map, I have a clear picture of which parts of the city I need to be in. This then makes it easier to maximise your time when you’re there.
In part 3 it's time to get your geek on..........