5 Tips for Planning a Trip Efficiently
Save yourself time and anxiety next time you start planning a trip.
Personally, I find planning a trip almost as exciting as embarking on my next big adventure! I could pour over guidebooks and travel blogs for hours, deciding where to stay, what to see, and how to get around. However, a lot of people find trip planning to be a headache, and too time-consuming. I’ve come up with a master list of the most efficient ways to plan a trip; from your flights to your accommodation, I’ve got you covered!
I always book flights first, since there’s no good booking accommodation if you have no way to get there. A lot of travel bloggers recommend sites like Momondo, Kayak and Skyscanner, but I am sticking by Google Flights. Especially if you’re not flying from a huge flight hub like NYC, the other sites can miss a lot of options. Google Flights has never failed me! You can use it to test out the cheapest dates for a certain trip – it gives you a lowest fare chart so you can compare and easily decide when to fly. You can also use their interactive map to find a destination for certain dates; it allows you to compare fares from all around the world and pick somewhere in your budget!
Next, you need to get an overview of the city or country, and here I recommend a classic, TripAdvisor! This is the first place I go when I start planning a trip. My favourite features are the ranked list of attractions and the filters you can use to help you find the right hotel. It’s a great place to get acquainted with the destination when you don’t really know much – seeing the most popular attractions and gauging your accommodation costs is an important step and this is the place to do it! I love reading travel blogs later on, but at the beginning Trip Advisor is the most efficient way to get an idea of what you will want to do on your trip.
Lonely Planet Guidebooks
In the era of technology, a lot of people tend to forget about getting physical guidebooks. However, I think they are so helpful, again mainly to give you a good idea of where and when to go. They’re also a very efficient way to learn things like the exchange rate, weather, population, and cost of living in the country where you’re visiting. Lonely Planet makes my favourite guidebooks, no question! Since I’m a budget traveler, I generally like to get a few books out of the library and browse through them. However, I splurged on the 1000 page Lonely Planet China guide, as I’ll have terrible internet access when I’m there this month – I’ll need something to help me get around!
As for accommodation, I find this to be the hardest part of planning a trip! During this part of the process, I always have about 20 tabs open: Google Maps, TripAdvisor, HostelWorld, Booking.com, and various hostel websites…after a while I get frazzled and often just pick a random one. Yonderbound has found a way to make this horrible system so much easier. It’s like Pinterest for accommodations, which is absolutely perfect for the typical Pinterest-obsessed college student! You search for accommodations normally, but then you can save them into various “Yonderboxes” and keep coming back to them. There’s no easier way to keep track of all of your accommodation options!
Finally, you need to figure out how you’re going to get from city to city while you’re on my trip. When you’re trying to travel internally in a country, it can be very time consuming to check out separate websites for flights, trains, buses, etc. Rome2Rio aggregates all of these resources for you! You can put in a starting and ending location and it tells you every single way you could possibly get there, along with how long it will take and how much it costs. Especially if you’re headed to a popular destination, this website is so effective and helpful to find out how to make your way to another city.
I hope this post helped you learn how to plan your next trip more efficiently than ever – do you have any suggestions I might be able to use?