There’s two key things I love doing in life, travelling and organising. Luckily for me, they go pretty much hand in hand. One of my favourite things about holidaying is the organisation before hand, preparing the itinerary and researching cool places to go. I know it’s not easy or comes naturally to some people, so I thought I’d give a little run down to the five steps I do to organise my travels and to ensure I don’t miss out on anything or anywhere when I visit a new place.
Pick your location
Firstly we need to consider where we’re going. There’s many different categories of travel so you need to ascertain what you want to begin with. The main categories include: city break, inclusive resort beach holiday, explorational travel and road trip. I usually go for city breaks or explorational personally but everyone is different. Once you have this in mind, you can narrow down places to visit. To help narrow further down some places, I always head to Pinterest and Instagram. I love photography and I appreciate knowing how photogenic an area is before I go so these visual aids are key for me.
Pick a date
Now we have a location, we need a date. You should know roughly when in the year you want to go. Two key dates for me are March and July. I love to holiday in March as it’s a good time post Christmas to keep me motivated and excited for something coming up. July is a good time to visit Europe as it’s getting warm but also a nice break in the middle of the year. Once you have chosen a month, head to Skyscanner. Here you can pick your departure and arrival destinations and search flights by month. You can clearly see which dates within the month offer the best value for travel. These can differ dramatically, I just searched a return flight to Thailand, one the difference between two dates within a week of each other was 400 pounds!
Plan your route
Now we have a location and a date, so we’re really getting somewhere! For a lot of people that’s all you need but I like to explore where I’m going and often travel around whilst there so next up is preparing the itinerary. I like to perfect my itinerary before I book any accommodation. There is so much good information online nowadays so my first thing is to watch youtube videos and read blog posts discussing their routes. I start making lists of everything I want to see throughout my stay, whether that’s food places, temples, landmarks or islands. I then like to print off a map, quite often I’ll just print google maps, and start putting dots on all the sights I want to hit up. When you have this visually in front of you, a route should come together. Pick a few locations close to different sights and take note of places which are easier to travel to. If you have a early excursion, such as our sunrise tour in Bali, you want to bear in mind you’ll need to factor in travel time to get there and perhaps a one night stay somewhere round the corner is cheaper than transport three hours to the north of the island.
Start booking hotels
Budget dependant, you might want hotels, resorts or hostels whilst traveling so consider your budget for this. Personally I have never used Air B’n’b outside of the UK but I know plenty of people who have and it’s always a good option to consider. I like to go for middle of the range hotels, having breakfast included can sometimes save money, bottled water provided daily and airport transfers are other benefits also. I generally use Agoda for my hotel bookings, they have a good and trustworthy review system and are easy to book and converse with. Always try and find the hotel on Instagram too, you should be able to find tagged photos or geotagged photos, it’s always priceless to see places from a personal perspective. And hey, if you find someone who’s stayed there recently – might even be worth dropping them a DM and see if they would recommend!
Bookmark your highlights
Flights booked, hotels booked and itinerary made – we’re almost there! The final thing I do is to make a photo list of highlights. I’m a very visual person and more often than not I also prefer printable but I know a lot of people work from their phones instead. I like to grab photos from google, Pinterest, bloggers and Instagram of locations, hidden beaches, cafes, shops – everything I want to see and ensure they’re all saved with addresses. There’s nothing worse than returning home from somewhere and thinking ‘damn, wish we’d gone there!’ preparation is key!
So there’s a quick rundown to my tips on holiday planning. Like I said, I am a bit OTT and I know that. Not everyone needs to go on holiday with a full PDF itinerary and a printed map with highlights but hey, it works for me! If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to ask!