Emily, our travel editor, is a pro at moving between exciting and exotic locations at the drop of a hat. For your Reading Week pleasure (and beyond), here are her top five tips for travel planning.
Everyone plans differently, but regardless, if you are going on a trip with friends or alone, you will need to have a vague plan of what you are doing, to save time, getting lost and potential arguments. Here are 5 different ways to plan a trip, but bear in mind that everyone is different!
- Create a time slot for planning/ have official travel meetings
You need to get away from your everyday mind-set and into a holiday one so create a time slot, head somewhere different (I suggest a coffee shop but that’s a personal preference), and start planning.
- Travel guides
Lonely Planet has saved my life more times than I can count. From long distance bus fares to helpful maps which have the sights I want to visit all in one place and helpful food reviews. I recommend everyone give at least a cursory glance over a physical travel guide even if you use online sites more.
- Blogs and Vlogs
Getting personal reviews is important, even if all it tells you is that the museum will take 20minutes not two hours but to save more time for travel because two places are further apart than you thought. They normally offer practical advice for the area you are travelling to. They can also give you a sneak peak of where you are going, which may or may not excite you, although I’d hope for the latter.
- Official travel planners
You can buy multitudes of cute travel stationary that come with pages for planning, emergency contacts, where you are staying and packing lists. These look super stylish and can be a useful way to store everything in one place as well as resulting in you only needing one book for everything instead of loads of loose printed sheets.
I am a pretty extensive planner and these are a personal favourite. I keep a tab for general information like flights and hostels and then a tab for each city with columns for the area, place, how to get there (bus number or subway station and exit), cost, opening times and more. I then colour code them into areas so when on the go I can easily pick where is easiest to get to next. I also share my spreadsheets with family and colour the cells green when I have visited a place they can see what I have been up to that day.
Hopefully these have been helpful, even if you tend to ’wing it’ when abroad. I wish I could but I require too much organisation for that! All of these ideas might all work for you, or maybe none of them do. Try different things and stick with the one that does. But do make sure you send some rough idea to family if possible, just in case something goes wrong, even if it is just flight times or when you plan to move city. Even if you are fine they may worry, so touch-base when you can and in the meantime happy planning!