Monday, May 16, 2016

7 Travel Tips for your next holiday

Disclaimer: I'm no Nomadic Matt. I've just spent the last two weeks submerged in prep for my upcoming holiday and these are my simple go-to resources for holiday planning.

I'm off in 3 days, eeek! Here's a little peek at where I'm headed:


Don't get me wrong - I'm a big info/planning-nerd and all about the YAY in holid-yay.

But the research, planning, itinerarizing, bookings, payments, cancellations, (shudder) last minute changes AND that too for an ENTIRE group is just about as fun as getting your teeth pulled. I wouldn't have it any other way :)

For now, I'm reaching the very end of this process and thought I'd share my go-to resources/tips that made my planning process infinitely easier! 

Flight search


Usually, I use Cleartrip for flight searches - it's easy, you can compare a bunch of flights and book with very few clicks - what's not to love? But on this trip, we stumbled upon some incredible rates using Google Flights. Google magically picked up (as they do) these awesome promotional fares that didn't show up elsewhere and boom, we got tickets almost half off the original price!

Start a spreadsheet


As soon as a holiday plan is in place, the next thing I do is make a Google spreadsheet (promise I'm not sponsored by Google, teehee) and share it with people I'm travelling with - it includes the basic info like a rough schedule, cities we're going to and things we want to see in these places, flight info etc.

This little guy is useful for so many different reasons - you have all the info you need in one place which helps especially if you have a long trip and lots of bookings, you have a clear overview of the schedule, costs and status of things and like I mentioned, you can share this and any updates you make will reflect for others also. It serves a nice little list for the future as well!

The Modern Tourist has done a great in-depth post on this, so head over there if you want more on this!

Finding a place to stay


My go-to is always Booking.com because (again) it's easy, you have free cancellation on most places, so you can book and then take your time to look around for some more options in the meanwhile. I do refer back to reviews on TripAdvisor because sometimes reviews are not that detailed on Booking and they only have the fancy shiny photos of the accommodations as opposed to regular life photos which TripAdvisor has in addition.

Airbnb is also a popular option if you're looking for a homely experience (or so I've heard), I'm yet to try it out myself.

Where to go, what to see


This is the fun but difficult part - I usually use TripAdvisor as a starting point for places to see and then work my way down the rabbit-hole to travel blogs, social media, friends, family etc.

During this process, make sure to look out for the little additional info that people usually share like this is not open on that day, buy these tickets in advance and don't bother waiting in line for this statue etc which will help save time (and heartache). There's tons of different itineraries online from different tour companies, just mix and match as you please.

Zomato collections also work as an good base guide as to where you can eat and drink your way through the city. Apart from this, do a general Google search for events possibly happening in that city while you're there, might stumble into something exciting! (Adele in Lisbon, Coldplay in Barcelona for me and a local festival in Cordoba for me!)

Internal travel


We're booking a lot of internal travel on this trip and it was quite the challenge to figure out what works best with distances, times and the different modes of transport. This website called Rome2Rio was super useful for this specific reason - it lists all options between two places (bus/flight/car/train) along with the relevant information and links to where you can book them as well. You can use this for international travel as well if you need.

Label your bookings in your inbox


While this is not a new trick, it's well worth adding in this list! I have a little more than 20 different bookings on this trip and I've done myself a favor and labelled every booking - Spain/Portugal 2016 - in my email, so that when it's time to print, everything is in place and I don't need to worry about missing an important printout to present at the airport or anywhere else I might need.

Get your International Driving Permit (IDP)


This is a no-brainer. If you're planning to drive where you're going (even if you're not, good to keep handy), get your IDP locally, they are valid for a year and so it'll also help for future travel within that time frame. They print it in a bunch of different languages so you're covered translation wise.

Here's a detailed post on how and where to get your license in Dubai by Globe Trotting Filipina!


And that about rounds up this post, hope it helps you on your next trip. You can follow me on Instagram and Snapchat for updates on my travels!

Mona xo

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