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How do you go about planning your trips?

Guys, I would really appreciate your answers on this question: How do you usually plan your trip? Do you prefer to look for something based on a specific theme ( fishing, wine tasting, romance) and to get everything from one single host (accommodations+ meals+avtivity+ maybe transportation) or would you prefer to create your vacation like a puzzle and to get accommodation from a local, a traditional meal maybe from someone else through a different site and so on? All in all the question is: would you like to find anything in one place and offered by a local or to create your vacatition by buying different options from different locals? Many thanks in advance for your help.

10 Answers

top answer by
Josh from Baton Rouge

When I travel, the things I look for in a place are a different cultural experience, scenic beauty, great attractions/history, and advice from friends who have been.  Pretty much in that order.

I then start to research how to get to this place and look for other destinations to pair it with.

After I have a planned itinerary as far as places to visit and general number of days, I search for award tickets and then book my flight.

Finally I will book hotels, transportation during the trip (car, train, quick flight etc.), and book any main attraction that is a must see.

I prefer traveling slower, more time in one place, in order to really soak it all in.

My next trip is ThailandCambodia, and Hong Kong.

My following trip will probably be either Greece or Italy.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Thailand (attraction)
  2. Cambodia (attraction)
  3. Hong Kong (city)
  4. Greece (attraction)
  5. Italy (country)
5 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Justin from Phoenix

I generally base my trips around finding a 10k race at my destination, and also around at least one good overnight hike.

And when I look for info, I don't read commercial travel magazines or websites. Their sole purpose is to sell you stuff (and most of it is expensive and unnecessary). I rely heavily on independent bloggers with first-hand experience - especially those with interests similar to my own.

I do not ever do pre-packaged tours where you file into a bus and get carted around and escorted everywhere. I sometimes do shorter tours when it makes sense (driving yourself around the Outback can be a prescription for trouble to the uninitiated, for example).

I plan a few things out, but leave room for spontaneity. I'd rather support local businesses, too.

3 thankscomments (1)

answered first by
Krista from San Francisco

Great question! I love planning trips, and the idea to take one usually comes from hearing about a friend's visit or reading an article.

Once I get an idea in my head, I typically do a Google Search and start hunting around on Pinterest for things I want to see/do while there. I'm also sure to scope out flights (Kayak) and accommodations (huge fan or Airbnb).

My process is generally to book the flight, followed by accommodations, followed by any other necessity like local transport and tickets to museums/other attractions.

Hope this helps! :)

2 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Nan from Perth, Western Australia

I think in general there are two ways to plan a trip: 1. get a professional trip planner to customise a trip for you or 2. plan it yourself. each has its pro's and con's of course. Based on my experience, some places are better explored on your own and some places it is quite good to have a professional planner who can take you to places you might not be able to get to easily and share insightful local knowledge. It also depends on your budget and how much time you have, as the former option tend to cost a bit more. 

If you go down the route of 1, then you just need to tell the planner your interest (history, food, cultural, scenary etc) and your budget, then they will plan everything for you. 

With self-planned trips (for countries with good logistics and transportation options and more traveller friendly), there  are tonnes of information available, and this is the order how i plan my trips:

i. map out the high level route (city order based on their location) and figure out the best way to get from one place to another (the availability of transportation options will also affect the order you do them in)

2. once i have my roadmap done, i go and research each city for restaurants, hotels and things to do (i ask friends and family for recommendations; use traveller forums or official tourism sites etc) and i would jot down my research notes and recommendations 

3. based on my research notes, i will decide how many days to stay at each city and if i need to book anything in advance (eg hotels and some popular restaurants). I would lock down the fixed-date events and the must-do things first then fill the each day with other activities from my list based on their location and availability 

4. then book flights, transfers, hotels, day trips etc

We have actually recently launched a trip planning tool that follows the exact planning process as i have described above ( so if you want to give it a try for your next trip. We are keen to hear what you think! screenshots below

1 thanks

answered by
Sandra from Miami

Hello. I come from a big family on both sides of parents, so as a result, I have family pretty much around the world. I start looking at places where I have family and haven't yet visited. From there I start researching the nearby places I can visit. For instance, this year I went to Dubai to visit one of my cousins. I asked her and her husband the best things to do while there and I also went on line and looked at different sites for best deals and advice. I also ask friends and other family that have travelled there for their own experience and advice. As I noticed that my lay over flight was in London, I decided to target that city on our way back home, as the price was very little, since it was on our way. I used Groupon for the Dubai tour packet of: desert safari, city bus tour and Dhow cruise. Since we went during their "low season" I was able to get better prices on other attractions for a "local" price, such as to Yas waterworld and Ferrari World in Abu Dabi. Since I stayed with family, I saved on accomodations and transport. In London, I booked a house through AirBNB, half price of what I would pay for a hotel and major attractions, I paid for in advance, as well as transport from and to airport. I leave days to just explore and slow down so that I can capture the "Local" culture and leaving. Already looking at our next destination for 2016 :)

1 thanks

answered by
Kate from Ohio

I prefer to book things separate instead of a package.  This lets me pick exactly what I do/don't want.  For me wildlife and natural beauty are #1.  I love using message boards like tripadvisor and locogringo to help me plan my trips.  Often, there are locals that will tell you what to do and what to skip.  I have had some amazing trips with the advise from those, and of course this board.

1 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Jacey & Scott from Fort Collins

Hello Adina!  Jacey and I usually start by compiling a list of a place, or places we are interested in seeing.  Over the course of weeks, or months, we will chat with friends, review articles, blogs, or literature.  After a long, and well researched vetting process, narrow it down to a few places, and make a decision.  In the process, we also have started research on several other places that we will probably see at some point as well

I think the most important things we look for are to have things planned, yet leave room for plenty of spontaneity.  The reason for that, I believe, is something we thought might be interesting, or something we had a little higher, or lower on the list might change once we get to that particular area.  While sometimes, as Justin alluded to, a tour, or a guide is inevitable, as much as possible we try hard to travel independently.  We also make sure anything that may sell out, or create long waits is pre planned, so as to avoid queuing as much as possible.

1 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Maria from Dublin

Hi Adina,

I read lots of travel blogs, articles in newspapers and Wanderlust magazine. If I need inspiration I use a world map or or Jauntaroo. Sometimes I'll hear about a place from a friend, then I start planning! I hardly ever buy a package where flight, hotel and food are all included as half the fun is putting a trip together!

I love travelling by train, but, as Ireland is an island getting somewhere usually requires a flight or two. I use price comparison sites like Skyscanner, Kayak or Cheapflights, then for rail travel: I love staying in small local hotels, B&Bs or apartments so I'll usually check sites like: Flipkey, Tripadvisor, Venere or Ownersdirect. It's nice to allow a few days for spontaneous travel on a trip so I'll usually leave some free time with no accommodation booked. Before I go I read Lonely Planet and Rough guides and get tips from Guardian and New York Times travel sites about the destination.

Sometimes it's fun to know very little in advance and just get information when you get there, from local people. It's good to buy, eat and drink in local shops, restaurants and bars, to help the local community and I always try to learn a few words (at least) of the language in advance.

Happy travels!

1 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Erika from Davao City

We usually look for top tourist spots.

answered by
Samia from Bangladesh

I choose the location....if I am meeting up with friends, this is a place we can conveniently travel to. I read all I can, down to the logistics, transport details...I like to have these knowledge beforehand. I dont really carry an app meant for travel...but just study before...I try to find locals to ask them questions about logistics, etc... Definitely I read Tripadvisor and wikitravel. 

I like to meet locals and seek them out through Couchsurfing - to either meet up or stay with them...I prefer to go to places independently rather than buying package tours- yet for some places its convenient- like the volcano tours in Java are best done with a group...or my 4 days in Bhutanbut my friend and I planned the temple trips in Yogyakarta by ourselves and by hiring a car for Borobudur Temple

As for vacation type - depends on who I am meeting... not all kinds of adventures can be done with everyone.... when I went to Bali - trying out scuba diving was an agenda- especially because I went with a buddy who does it and encouraged me. Its amazing if your travel partners want the similar things you want....then everything works out well! I like to check out exciting places, read about them and dream about them. I prefer mountains over beaches. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bhutan (attraction)
  2. Yogyakarta (city)
  3. Borobudur Temple (attraction)

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