How to Book Your Perfect Trip
Booking a holiday by ourselves can be fun but also stressful. There are quite a few details we have to be aware of in order to make the most out of our trip and not miss anything. That is why many people look for travel agencies who will do all the work and only hand you the itinerary.
Nonetheless, on this post I am going to give you a few tips on booking a perfect holiday by yourself ;). This is how I normally go about booking a trip and hopefully it will help you get organized. Lets get started!
Know where you want to go and how long you are going to stay:
This point may sound like an obvious one (I know :) but see it as the first step on organizing yourself. The thing is that a lot of the times we just want to get away and we may have a general idea of what we are looking for (going to a beach spot, to the mountains, on a ski trip, somewhere with great architecture), but until we don’t know where we want to go exactly it is hard to move forward and get organized. In this case, let yourself be inspired and search for ideas that will best suit your desires - make a list of places if you have to. Once you have found your destination(s), make sure you check that your desired trip will match your budget and time-frame.
Speaking of time-frame, it is important to have an idea of how long you can travel. Are your dates flexible? Can you add extra two or three days if it would be the case of getting a better flight or maybe catching some local activity? Do you have enough time to fly there and enjoy your trip?
With all this information in mind, you will have a clearer idea of what you are looking for and will help facilitate your search.
Booking the flight:
I would suggest always booking the flight before you book the hotel, as well as always searching on google first before going to specific sites. Just use the flights tab on google and play around with the dates and even destinations if you are still searching for the best spot. There you will have an idea of the flights available and prices. Another advice I can give you is always prefer a flight that don’t have a long layover. I know that some of you may be searching for the cheapest fare possible, but if you can, it is better to spend that extra money to be enjoying the destination of your choice rather than an airport.
Booking the Hotel:
Knowing your budget and how much you are willing to spend for a better place is important in this case. Also, some other questions you should be asking yourself are: what is the size of your group, where is a good area to stay, and what kind of accommodation you are looking for. Based on that you can search for hotels in the middle of the city, an all-inclusive by the beach, your own private house or flat, a shared room, a country house or bed and breakfast, or a cabin in the mountains. The options are endless and you just have to understand where you would feel more comfortable and the kind of trip you are looking for. You can even choose to sleep in a tree house or a bungalow on the water these days :).
To guide you on your search, if you are looking for a worry free long vacation why not check prices for an all-inclusive resort, if you are looking to go out and explore the city then something more central or with good connection links is better for you, if you are looking for privacy and are travelling with a larger group then renting a private flat or house may be a better option, if you are going on a road trip then a place a bit outside the city center will very likely be more suitable and affordable.
One of my favorite sites to book hotels is TripAdvisor :)
Local activities and sightseeing:
Doing some research beforehand on the activities you can do on your destination(s) will help you better organize your time and avoid any rip off situation when you try to book something locally. Some activities may only be available on certain dates so you should definitely have an idea of your calendar. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be spontaneous and just figure out what you want to do when you arrive, which I totally encourage as well, as you can find out a lot of interesting activities just by talking with the locals. But knowing the kind of activities available will help you better enjoy your trip and don’t miss out on the “cool” or interesting stuff that you should have been aware of.
Lastly, before you even book anything, make sure you have the correct visa for each place you are going and that your passport is valid for at least 3 months (some countries it has to be at least 6 months before you return). Print out any information you will need for your trip or buy a guide if you would like. I would suggest bringing any flight information, hotel, car hire, or any other booking you have made on paper with you as sometimes you may not have internet connection and you will need proof of everything you booked.
I know that this may sound like a lot to think about and organize, and you may think that this is not being spontaneous enough, but trust me you can still be super spontaneous as extra information can only enrich your experience and this should all be a part of the fun of traveling.
For advice on how to be a better traveler you can check out this blog post ;)