Travel planning – best tools to use
If you are reading this, I take it you are either non-PC or you are considering a holiday, weekend break or more adventurous trip – and looking for travel planning hacks?? Hopefully I can help!
Most people nowadays choose to make their own arrangements rather than relying on a travel or tour agent. The internet gives instant access and endless information on travel, but where do you begin?? The urge to find the ‘best deal’ can keep you searching for eternity – you just need to stay on target!!
I have booked and planned most of our holidays (up to 4 trips a year). Most recently I’ve finished planning the first 6 months of our Round the World Trip. Hopefully the tools I have used for Travel Planning will help you too. These are my most useful:
#1 – Skyscanner – a popular search engine amongst travellers who are searching for the cheapest price between 2 destinations or cheapest time when to travel (as you can sort by month). What is your objective? Date? Money? time? Skyscanner can filter these options.
#2 – Google Flights – similar to Skyscanner in that it researches the cheapest options for flights but I’ve found that sometimes you need to look at both #1 & #2 to find the best deals.
#3 – Tripit – we’ve been using this application for years as it provides a simple way of recording all the different elements of your trip and storing them in one place. Once you have secured your booking you just email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and it automatically uploads the information to your page (some layouts are not recognised, but on the whole it’s very efficient). You can also share trips with other people so that they also have access to the booking references etc..
#4 – Lonely Planet – it’s been my bible since I first travelled in 1999. However, since then they have moved online, so as well as their detailed books they also have a huge number of forums you can read or join for information.
#5 – booking.com – a great tool for searching for budget accommodation all over the world! Prices can range from Budget backpacker to 5* accommodation. It caters for all.
#6 – hostelworld.com – as a budget traveller we have stayed in many backpackers, some were fabulous and some… not so much! With the increase in family travel the hostel world offer a number of family rooms for this purpose and so shouldn’t be dismissed as some are in lovely areas!
#7 – Air BnB – I’ve not actually used Air Bnb yet, but my husband has stayed in a few places and found the process very easy to book. The best part about Air BnB is that you can opt to book a whole place and have the comfort of an apartment or house to relax in for a great deal! Always check the reviews!!
#8 – Rome 2 Rio (app) – planes, trains, buses, automobiles – you name it, this app has it! Great options on independent travel and provides cost & travel times. You just need to type in your starting location and destination for a number of travel options. This coupled with Seat 61 website is a great way of using local transport. Seat 61 is mainly focused on train travel but with excellent tips and advice!
#9 – Trip Advisor – I tend to use Trip Advisor to look up places that we are intending to stay in to see what rating they are given. I believe that the only way this works is with honest contributions, so where possible (and when I remember!) I try to do add content.
#10 – CamScanner – this has been a god-send when organising our visa applications. They want photocopies of everything! I use the camscanner from my phone and automatically update it to google drive. It is also an easy application for taking copies of your travel documentation; which you will need.
#11 – Google Drive – Yep – I’ve been ‘Googled’; emails, calendar, photos etc… I have it all so it made sense to use google drive. I find using this app is an easy process and it links well with writing blog posts & downloading photo’s/articles. You can store and share documents easily too which is a great tool for planning & organising your most complex trip.
I’ll be sure to add any new apps as and when discovered. Or feel free to enlighten me on any not mentioned which could help me!