HOW TO PLAN YOUR TRIP

I always get asked how I’m so organised, and how I make everything look easy. Honestly, it’s from years of practice! A few years ago, I wouldn’t have had a clue! The best thing you can do is take advice from others. So here’s mine…

FLIGHTS
Book your flights as early as possible. The earlier, the better, as they’re cheaper! They’re usually the most expensive part of a trip, depending how far you’re going. So once they’re booked and paid for, it’s a lot off your mind. A lot of people live by booking flights last minute, and supposedly finding a last minute deal. It doesn’t work all that well with flights I’ve found. For example, I booked a flight from Bangkok to Krabi months in advance, and paid £10. My friend left it until last minute, and ended up paying £80 for the same flight. I was £70 better off. That’s probably 2 weeks accommodation in Thailand! The following sites I use to get the best deals:

Skyscanner:
I pretty much always use this, as it scans nearly all airline prices, and shows you the cheapest. 90% of the time, you’re not going to get a better deal elsewhere.

STA Travel:
If I’m flying from the UK, and it’s a long haul flight, I usually use STA. Mainly because I’m under 26, and they do discount flights for being young, that don’t show up on comparison sites, such as Skyscanner. If you’ve got a long haul flight, it’s always worth checking out STA. Sometimes the prices are similar, but sometimes you can save yourself quite a bit, so always worth a quick search.

INSURANCE
Always buy some insurance before you leave for a trip. If you’ve been away before and nothing has gone wrong, it doesn’t mean you’ll be ok this trip. Literally anything can happen, at any time. I always call people the biggest idiots for not having insurance. I’ve seen it go wrong many times, and I know how much stress it causes to an individual and their family and friends if they have an accident abroad and they aren’t insured. Comparison sites such as go compare are pretty good, as they show you the best deal, and break down what you get in terms of payout if anything does go wrong. Always check if certain activities are covered, as a lot of insurance companies void your insurance for a lot of popular activities. Past few times I’ve been abroad, I’ve used Insure & Go. In terms of payout, they’re up there at the top. They also cover you for most activities, and best of all, they’re cheap! It cost me around £20 for a month in Thailand. £200 for a year in Australia. That’s just over 50p a day. Which is nothing if I have an accident, and have over thousands of pounds to pay in medical bills!

A lot of bloggers recommend World Nomads. If I’m honest, I always think they’re paid to advertise them, as I’ve always found them to be twice as much as everyone else. So not very helpful advice! When you look at the cover, you’re not getting anything better either. To compare, for a year in Australia, it would have cost me £380 for pretty much the same cover that I’m getting from Insure & Go for £200.

ACCOMMODATION
I always use a mixture of sites for booking/looking for accommodation, depending how much you’re bothered about where you stay.

Hostelworld.com
If you’re looking for cheap accommodation, this is the site to look at. Not only does it allow you to view prices, compare etc. It also lets you read reviews, so you can see what others think, and whether the place is any decent.

Booking.com
This site is brilliant for reserving beds either at hostels/hotels in advance, without having to pay until you get there.

Hotels.com
If you want to treat yourself, it’s worth getting an account with Hotels.com. It’s free, but they have secret deals for members, so it’s usually cheaper than booking with the hostel/hotel direct. If you collect 10 nights, you get a night free. If you’re on the road constantly, you’ll soon collect 10 nights. You don’t have to stay 10 nights altogether, you can collect them over a number of months.

Tripadvisor.com
I don’t always book through Trip Advisor, but it’s worth looking at when booking/looking for accommodation for reviews. I’ve found places that have looked alright, then gone onto trip advisor, and saw peoples reviews and photos. It’s saved me from staying in a dump a lot of times. Also get yourself an account, leave reviews for others to read and help fellow travellers. You’ll also be able to go back and find the name of accommodation easily, if you wanted to recommend somewhere to a friend/family or go back yourself, and can’t remember the name of it.

AirBnB.com
Still trying to work out if I like this site or not. I’ve found some good deals on there, but sometimes find they’re more expensive on this site, than others. Because the hosts have to pay a fee to be listed on AirBnB, if you book through them, they’re going to charge you for that fee. So always look around first, see if it’s any cheaper elsewhere. On the plus side to this site, you do find some quirky little spots, that aren’t listed on other sites.

TRAIN & BUS TRAVEL
Sometimes it’s cheaper to go by bus or train than it is to fly. Plus you don’t have all the hassle of waiting in an airport/going through security etc. Especially if you’re travelling around South East Asia.

12go.asia
Great for comparing bus, train & ferry prices at the same time. Everyone who travels in Asia needs to know about this site!

catchthatbus.com
Used this site to book a bus from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore and back. Although it looked a little sketchy when we turned up to the bus station, it all turned out to be just fine. I believe they do bus journeys across Asia too. Would definitely use them again.

rome2rio.com
Doesn’t matter where you are in the world, this site looks at every possibility. Whether you want to travel by plane, bus, train etc, this site will tell you all.

Greyhound.com.au
This site has been recommended by many bloggers, and friends/family that have travelled around Australia. Not only can you buy single/return journeys, you can also buy passes, so can hop on/hop off. Great if you want to see a few places along the way, but don’t want to spend a huge amount of time there. The passes also last a few months, so you don’t have to rush! Australia is so big, and flights can get costly, so greyhound makes something that can be costly, quite affordable!

DAY TRIPS/THINGS TO DO/IDEAS
One thing I love doing before I go on a trip, is seeing all the different things I can do & see. People say don’t over plan, but it’s good to see what’s available, then you’re not wasting time once you’re there. That way you have a good idea what you want to do from the trip, and you’re not going to miss anything out, and regret anything later on. Nothing worse than getting back from a trip, then finding something after that looks awesome, that you didn’t see. I use a few sites to get ideas.

Pinterest
Great for finding blogs and pictures of places. I’ve discovered quite a few places through this site, that I would never have heard of otherwise.

Instagram
Follow bloggers, or type in the hashtag to see what’s happening where you’re going. Be warned it does make you incredibly jealous, especially if you’re back at home for a while planning your next trip!

Blogs
Like this one that you’re reading right now! Get advice from those that have been there & done it, or are doing it now. You won’t get better advice I’ve found. Be careful, as I pointed out above about the travel insurance, sometimes bloggers are paid to recommend certain sites/things, so you’re not necessarily getting the best advice.

Have any sites of your own that you love? Post them below and help others

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