Effortless Travel Planning: Simplifying Your Adventures

Navigating the Maze: Beyond Basics

There’s a lot of travel advice out there about what it costs, what to pack, the best places and times to go, and what to do when you get there. You’d think it would be easy: snap a few screenshots, book a flight or rent a car, and you’re done. But it’s not always that simple. Plus, I like to take my time to really plan things out, even if it takes a bit more effort.

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Travel Planning Made Easy?

Start by Making a List

The first thing I do when planning trips are easy. I list the places I want to go to and set up airfare alerts on hopper.com. I also group the trips by season, occasion, and budget. Why?

  1. Some places are season dependent, and
  2. I like to have some plans when time and budget are tight

Although I am bombarded with emails, I’d rather spend half an hour slogging through an extra 20 emails than find out I could have flown for $200 less later.

Ask Your Friends

Your friends are huge resources, so use them. Yeah, you may have to sit through more than you bargained for, but everyone likes to talk about their trips (look at the popularity of Facebook and Instagram). Why re-invent the wheel? I listen to my friends and consider their recommendations. But, I also do my own research and when I get there, I always ask the locals for what they’d do for a special occasion, for a cheap lunch, for the best view, etc, etc.


Look for Savings

Off-season travel can add up to significant savings in hotel and airfare. Offseason travel usually equated to fewer crowds. Paris in the Spring is hell on Earth, but in August, you’ll have some popular attractions all to yourself because the locals travel abroad. Deals are plentiful May thru October to Thailand but you may not enjoy your time (or possibly die trying) because typhoons are likely to pop up anywhere.

Set a Budget

I set a reasonable budget and add 20% for whatever “that thing is” that you aren’t expecting to happen but always does happen when you travel.

Use Public Transportation

I use public transportation whenever possible, which dictates that I pack as light as possible. I usually bring a dress (or, more likely, my hiking boots), wear my heaviest outfit, pack a few tops, a sweater, and more underwear than I’ll ever need. But why am I telling you how to pack? You’re an adult; check the weather, consider what you have planned, and wear what’s appropriate yet comfortable. That being said, some extra clean underwear can make a bad trip tolerable.

** side note… dressing comfortably is my secret to looking better in pictures too!!

Try to Blend in

Learning a few words, phrases and a little history should be a part of your travel planning. And even though people will more than likely ignore your bad French and speak to you in English, they may be polite and correct it so you get it right the next time.

Safety First

I email myself a copy of my important documents just in case they are lost or stolen. Then I copy everything in case I find myself in one of the few places left on Earth without WIFI. I also email my itinerary to my mom and dad because they still worry about me when I travel.

Be Reasonable

And finally, I don’t make itineraries when I planning travel. I also don’t try to cram everything that’s considered a MUST SEE into a trip. It’s not enough to know where you should go, you have to know how long it will take too AND this is where my love of research comes in. The Louvre is great, but if you’re only in Paris for a day or two–forget about it, look at the I. M. Pei pyramid that covers the entrance and go to the Museum d’Orsay instead. If you have to go up the Eiffel Tour, purchase your tickets online and don’t bother going to the top. Paris is a relatively flat city and the view from the lower and much larger observation deck is better. But a better view can be found on top of the Arc de Triumph where 12 streets converge, the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, and the Louvre loom in the distance. Now that’s a memory you won’t ever forget.

 Travel planning can be easy and fun. Make your lists interesting by adding local recommendations. Make sure to include detailed info like hours of operation, costs, etc… and put them in a logical travel order. Then, go with the flow. If you don’t get to everything on your list, it’s more than likely that you had a great time doing the things you did get to, right?

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MALTA-EXPLORING-SOLO Effortless Travel Planning: Simplifying Your Adventures

Comments

  1. Author Brandi Kennedy

    You have some great tips here, such as making sure to take in the view from atop the Arc de Triumph. Paris is a city I’ve wanted to see since I was a little girl, so I’m glad to have collected another little Paris hack for my list.

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