Despite the nice instagram photos, travel isn’t always fun and games, and so I have listed a few tips for planning travel in the hope you can save some time and effort. This is by no means set in stone, but it is the way I plan all my trips, and any services mentioned are the ones I always use.
Choose A Destination
Pretty self explanatory really, but among my tips for planning travel, it is the most important one. There are so many awesome places in the world. Watch some Youtube clips, have a think what inspires you. Once you choose your destination, then you can start to really plan.
Buy A Lonely Planet Guide
Lonely Planet guides, you either love them or you hate them. Personally I love them. Whenever planning a trip, my first port of call is to consult a guidebook. Guidebooks give you a good overview of a country, dividing it up into regions and highlighting each regions features and sites. In the first part of the book, they will offer some recommended itineries, plus recommendations of regions based on your interest (shopping, hiking, culture, food etc). The key here isn’t to take the Lonely Planet as a travel bible, but to use it to get an overview and decide on your route etc. Browse Lonely Planet Guides Here.
Research Your Destinations Online
Once you have made a basic outline of your itinerary with a guidebook, its a good idea to search online for the regions you want to visit. Often you can find travel blogs, articles or other posts where people have written about certain sites, hotels or activities in greater detail than a guidebook can provide. A simple google search for your destinations will suffice. Sites like tripadvisor or wikitravel are good resources too.
Prebook Flights, Hotels & Trains
Don’t just turn up somewhere and wing it. I know a lot of people like the feeling of adventure that having no fixed plan entails, but the reality is you will just waste a lot of time and feel annoyed. Imagine getting off a bus after 10 hours through the mountains of southern China, only to have to start inspecting hostels to find a suitable place to sleep. If your trip is within China, then Ctrip is a great website for booking everything you need, whether domestic flights, trains, hotels, you can even get tourguides and drivers too. (visit here: Save on travel in China with Ctrip). Alternatively if you are travelling anywhere but China, I would recommend using something like Expedia or Booking.
Working Out Your Budget
OK, so now you have planned everything, you need to figure out how much it will all cost. This is why the resources above are so useful, because before even booking anything, you can begin to work out how much you want to spend, and find the appropriate price range of services. Once you have everything planned, just sit back and wait!