Van and I definitely have a pretty straightforward travel style. We choose destinations based on the history and culture and we always balance our travels with learning and playing. We almost always have to fit in a round of golf whenever we travel and we love to experience the nightlife in different places. And last but not least, we try and eat everything!! Pretty good plan right?
I love planning our travels. I love it when I hit the 'submit' or 'confirm' button and book the trip that we have imagined in our dreams. It is a pretty awesome feeling! But I do have a pretty routine way I go about my planning that I am sharing with you today that may give you some ideas on how to book your next travel adventure!
1. Choose Destination: Price or Preference
Living in England, there are SO many places to chose to fly or drive off to for the weekend! It can be very hard to chose a destination for a long weekend. So we choose destinations either by price or city preference. By this I mean sometimes I literally just do a Skyscanner search to "everywhere" and choose the cheapest flight and build a holiday around the flight! This worked perfectly in Nice :)
But whenever we are choosing a specific city, I still use Skyscanner to search flight pricing for months at a time. I have found that this is my absolute favorite search tool to find the flight I am looking for at the right price!
2. Lodging...how to choose
I am extremely picky about where I lay my head down at night, but I don't want to spend a fortune. I want to have my cake and eat it too! So to get the best hotel or holiday rental for the lowest price, I use a few different search tools. Depending on the country and what currency we will be using, I set a roundabout figure for the lodging expense. My favorite lodging tools to use are Tripadvisor and AirBnb.
When choosing a place to stay, I rely heavily on reviews and look for a few certain key points.
-Location: how far away are we from the city center
-Breakfast: free breakfast is always a nice add on and may entice me to stay
-Cleanliness and Comfort: Do reviewers complain about it being dirty or have an uncomfortable bed? Then you can bet we won't be staying there...no matter the cost
-Atmosphere and charm: We have stayed at some incredible apartments, like these in Bath and Amsterdam. If I can find an older period apartment to rent for the right price, I am on it! Because what's better than visiting a centuries old city while staying in a house built in the 1700s???
My fave lodging spots thus far
I am BIG on having an itinerary, not so much for having a schedule but mainly to make sure I have a checklist and all required documents. It is never fun to arrive in another country to realize you have forgotten your check-in details and the person at reception can't find your details and they don't speak very good English! But also because while flying in Europe, you almost always have to print your own boarding passes, so I just make a habit of printing everything and keeping it in a folder. Also, it is always smart to have the addresses, or at least the postcodes, of each destination! We loosely follow our itinerary once we reach our destination, but it always nice to have a general plan.
Packing can be tricky while traveling in Europe. Most airlines require that you pay for checked baggage, which can usually run about 40-50 pounds per round trip (which is about $70-90 USD). Yuck. So if we are going on a short trip, we usually try a backpack it! This can be tricky in the winter time, but once you have a system, you find that it gets easier and easier.
Moral of the story- You don't need 5 outfits for 3 days! Learn to pack light and things will go a lot smoother, plan your outfits and stick with those.
With all of the planning and rushing to the airport and travel stress in general, it can be hard to relax at your destination. My goal is always to take the first day with lots of deep breaths. I don't let problems get to me! It always works out in the end. Also, if you have a strict itinerary, learn to loosen up a bit. Having a general plan can be just as fun....you run into unexpected attractions or pieces of history that you may have not found otherwise.
My advice for travel stress, especially in Europe, find your nearest restaurant or cafe and have them pour you something lovely to take away the stress!!
What are your best travel tips??