No matter if you just came back from a trip or it has been a while, it is always the right time to plan your next one, don't you think? It can't be just me who is still on a trip and already looking forward to the next one. Below are the steps to planning a trip as a social traveler.
As a full-time working couple, we are constantly on the lookout for our next getaway. We check possible dates and possible destinations all the time. I love to get inspired reading other people’s blog or surfing on Pinterest.
So once you have found a destination (or a couple to choose from) and a rough timeframe, it is time to get serious and commit.
When we have decided where we want to go we usually start by looking for flights, as this is the most expensive part of most trips. If possible, try to be flexible with your dates and also the time of day. Flying during the week is usually cheaper than flying on weekends and holiday. If you have multiple airports to choose from check all that might be available. There are many travel blogs dedicated to travel hacking and travel tip that will teach you about how and when to book cheap flights. I enjoyed these two posts:
Social Traveler Tip: Often booking a seat can cost extra money nowadays, be flexible, there might be really nice and interesting people sitting next to you that you can get to know during your flight. You might even get some recommendations on whatever place they are from. So make sure to ask if there is some time.
Now I start reading blogs about the destination (okay, maybe “start” is the wrong word: I continue reading blog posts and pinning like a crazy person with an addiction). This way I can see what the most popular attractions are (these are the ones covered by multiple blogs). I usually make a list of the ones that interest me most.
Try to find out which ones are located close to each other, that way you save time and money on transportation.
Social Traveler Tip 1: Always check for local and cultural events during the time you are visiting, often cultural events are the highlights of a trip and a great way to learn about a country or city.
Social Traveler Tip 2: There are free walking tours in most cities, it is a great way to get to know a place from the eyes of the locals, and get some extra information like history and even other tips about places you can visit outside of the tour. You also get to know some locals and that way can make some new friends.
After you know your dates and the places you will be visiting, it is time to look for a place to stay. We like looking at all options: Our first go to is Couchsurfing, but we also check Airbnb, hotels, and hostels, to see what is offered.
Social Traveler Tip 1: Besides these standard accommodations available everywhere try browsing the internet for more unusual accommodations only available at your destination. There might be some website for homestay experiences etc.
Social Traveler Tip 2: If you want to keep your options open, try booking hotels or an Airbnb where you can cancel your stay for free until the day before your arrival. You might be able to find something better on Couchsurfing when some time has passed even if you are not successful right away.
Sometimes there are restaurants that are recommended on blogs, other times just foods in general that you should try. You don’t have to be fixed on where to eat what and when, but it is good to have an idea what kinds of foods you want to definitely try (all of them, am I right).
Social Traveler Tip 1: One great option is to participate in a food tour. You will be able to try a lot of different local food that has been carefully selected by locals who know what they are talking about. You might even be able to safely try some things you would be hesitant buying by yourself.
Social Traveler Tip 2: A great way to save money and get the real food the locals eat is to ask locals on the street where they go to eat. A good idea is to ask construction workers or other people who are not working in the tourism industry. People working in the industry might try to send you to the place they think a tourist will like. For better communication with locals check my tips here.
You might have thought your planning is done, but actually there are a couple of things you should still be doing if you want to be a respectful social traveler who will be welcomed by the citizens of your destination.
Are there any other steps you do to plan a trip? What are they? Leave a comment with other suggestions below.