Thursday, 15 May 2014

It's all in the planning

“No man needs a vacation so much as the man who has just had one.” ― Elbert Hubbard

I must confess that I actually find the planning and booking of a holiday almost as exciting as the actual adventure.
From the moment I decide that I'm going and the TripAdvisor-ing begins I get so excited that I'm not sure whether I should just become a travel agent and be done with it.  I wonder if it'd be so exciting if I knew I wasn't getting to go on the holiday though?  Browsing those white sands, blue seas and 5* hotels is so tempting and I end up adding more and more places to my must visit list.

Well, between Monday evening and today a new holiday plan has been formed and we're currently searching the travel, flight and hotel websites looking for the best deal (let's face it, what's better than a bargain?)
There's nothing I enjoy more than a weekend in a new place, in the sun, with my camera (and preferably drinking chocolate milk) making memories.  I'm slowly getting braver at exploring the unknown and making sure that I do my research before I go so that I don't miss out on the must sees in each place.
I thought I'd share my top preparation tips to get you in the mood!

  • Trip Advisor is your friend - read those reviews, I once stayed in the most disgusting hotel in all of Egypt because our designated booker chose to ignore the TA reviews and boy did we rue the day!
  • If there are attractions that you're desperate to visit then check opening days/times and whether you need to book in advance. As mentioned in my San Fran blog if we hadn't booked ahead for Alcatraz we would have definitely missed out and I would have been livid!
  • Decide what your priority is for the hotel before you book- do you want to be central, or is a pool your thing? Is there WiFi or breakfast included - these plus points can make all the difference so check out the details on Expedia (or whichever site you use) to make sure it has what you want.
  • Make sure you've charged your camera and pack your spare memory cards, nothing more frustrating than a dead camera on Day 1
  • Personal recommendations are always the best so check if anyone you know (and trust) has been where you're going and if they have any top tips.  I've learned in the last couple of years that the best places are always going to be off the beaten track and full of local people - that's the best way to experience a culture.
  • Brush up on your language skills - if you have them -I think the people you talk to will always be impressed if you can converse in their language, even if you are a bit rusty.  In Seville I saw a chef refuse to take an English man's order unless he spoken in Spanish.. I felt so sorry for him, but realised that we English often expect to be understood wherever we go (I'm definitely guilty of this!)
Above all enjoy yourself!  Have you booked a trip recently? Where are you going… inspire me!

x