Welcome! Today I’m going to share with you the tips I have when it comes to booking and planning a trip. Whether it’s a beach holiday or city break, this post will walk you through the whole planning process all the way up to you arriving at your destination. So let’s get started!
1) Do your research
When planning a trip, research is one of the most important factors! Think about the kind of trip you’re looking to plan and which destination can give you everything you’re looking for. This could be a stay-cation or a trip abroad.
If you’re looking at going abroad, find out which times of year are best in terms of what’s open, the weather, any national holidays or events that could affect your holiday, etc.
Recently I looked into visiting Monaco, but one major mistake I made was not doing my research beforehand. I realised that the dates I’d set aside were not only half-term, but also coincided with the Monaco Grand Prix. In the end I decided that the skyrocketed prices we would’ve had to pay wasn’t going to be worth it so we booked something for later in the year instead. But nonetheless, that is a mistake that I hopefully won’t be making again anytime soon.
2) Money and budgeting
If you’re needing to save up to afford your trip, consider putting aside a specific amount of money a month. This could be anything from £20 or £100, whatever works best for you and your financial situation. This will require some planning ahead, but it will make sure that you can travel comfortably. It can also be quite rewarding getting holiday savings together and putting it towards what will (finger’s crossed) be a lovely break.
I would also suggest that when it comes to planning how much money you’ll need, categorise where your money will be needed to ensure there will be no unexpected additional costs, for example; travel insurance; transport to and from the airport; airport parking if necessary; flights, transfers once you arrive at your destination; hotel; spending money; and souvenirs.
Going back to tip 1, it’s also important to research what you want to see and do while you’re away, and how much that’ll all cost so you can incorporate that into your budget. Remember to take some of your own currency too just in case.
3) Money travel card
When I go abroad, I use a Starling card which has proven to be very useful to me. It’s basically a debit account you transfer money in/out of like a normal card, with some extra travel benefits.
Firstly, Starling Bank doesn’t charge when withdrawing money from an ATM abroad (however some ATMs may have their own charges). They also have quite a good exchange rate; it notifies you via the mobile app whenever any money has gone out of your account and how much; and a feature that I like in particular is that you can lock your card using the app. This ensures that if your card goes missing, you can prevent anyone having access to what’s on it!
I’ve used it in Thailand, Disneyland Paris, Amsterdam, and several other countries in the last few years, and it’s definitely something that always goes onto my packing list now because I feel so much safer not having all my spending money in cash. However, if you are taking your usual bank card on holiday be sure to notify your bank to avoid them locking your card once they see money leaving your account in another country.
For more info on Starling’s Travel card, visit: https://www.starlingbank.com/travel/
When looking for your hotel or accommodation, I would always suggest reading some of the reviews to see what people have actually thought of the place and why, and don’t just go by the star rating or the images. For me, the important factor to consider is location!
Googlemaps is an absolute Godsend when it comes to this. Whenever I’m going away one of the first things I always check is the transport links near the hotel to find out how accessible it is and how much it is to get to/from the airport. Also, referring back to point one, make a list of the main attractions that you want to see whilst you’re away, and then use maps to see how easy they are to get to from the hotel. Ideally if you can find a hotel that is central to everything on your to-do list and that works with your budget then you could just rely on walking, as you’ll see so much more on foot.
I tend to opt for breakfast included and free cancellation if I can, just for the sake of convenience and security. Finally, remember that with a lot of trips (especially city breaks) you’ll be spending 90% of your time outside of the hotel anyway, so as long as it’s safe, central and affordable then you’re all set!
When deciding what to bring, it’s always good to find out whether the place you’re going has any customs or dress codes. Just to make sure you don’t get yourself into trouble or come across as disrespectful at all.
If you’re only going on a short trip or city break, try to avoid taking hold luggage if you can. I’d also suggest opting for a backpack/holdall over a suitcase. I say this because it’s so much quicker on the other side if you don’t have a suitcase to wait for, and sometimes if there isn’t enough room in overhead lockers then the flight attendants will ask you to put you suitcase in the hold. However, it’s reeeeally unlikely that they would ever ask someone to put a holdall or backpack in the hold because they take up a lot less space in the overhead, and they are not as durable in the hold as a suitcase would be.
Another great packing tip would be to wear your heaviest items on the plane to make for most of the room you have in your bag. I tend to pack a capsule wardrobe when travelling, so all my clothes can be mixed/matched, allowing me to pack less.
If you’re going on a bigger holiday and you and your travel companion are taking hold luggage suitcases, then I’d recommend distributing your items between the two cases, so that in the very unlikely (but not impossible) circumstance that a suitcase is lost by the airline, you’ve still both got clothes etc. You never know what might happen so it’s always good to prepare!
6) At the airport
Give at least 2.5/3 hours in case anything goes wrong or there are any delays to your journey, particularly if you’re coming by public transport. I’d also advise taking a travel document wallet or even just a plastic wallet to the airport with you. This means you can keep all your paperwork in the same place and it’s there on hand at all times. I keep mine in the order I need them as well; e.g. train tickets/printed taxi confirmation to get you to the airport, airport parking confirmation if applicable, passport and boarding pass, transfer info on the other side and hotel confirmation.
A few quick-fire tips to finish off:
- Seriously think about who you chose to go away with. Because nothing ruins a holiday more than drama, awkwardness or fall outs. So keep this in mind when you’re planning a trip.
- Take contact numbers on a card with you in case anything happens to your phone. Including family contacts or anyone you would wish to contact in an emergency, hotel phone number, etc.
- You never actually have to take every single thing you could possibly need with you. Remember you can buy stuff there too. So sun cream, toothpaste, an umbrella… any general items will usually be available for you to buy anywhere you’re going.
I hope some of these tips will prove useful to you guys. Obviously I’m no expert, but these are just a few things that I’ve learnt from previous experience. Until next time x
Planning a trip and in need of some inspiration? Click here for 5 European cities to visit: https://www.emgoingplaces.com/2020/06/european-cities-to-visit-after-covid-19/