I’ve been writing travel guides for a few years now, which has got me into a good habit of making sure I plan my holidays properly and that I’m getting the most of my experience abroad!
Unless you’re going on a really complex trip and you’re the type of person who likes everything planned for them, 9/10 times you don’t need a travel agent to book your trip for you. Here are my recommendations for planning the best holiday, as well as some tips for saving money and getting the most out of your experience.
- Use incognito mode when searching for flights
This is one that a lot of people know about but some are still surprised by! When you search for flights on the likes of Skyscanner on your browser, your ‘cookies’ are tracked meaning that you might even find that the price increases in price the more you look at it. My advice is to open your browser in ‘incognito’ mode to avoid this, and you’ll likely find that prices are cheaper.
2. Combine destinations
When planning your trip, it is also a good idea to see how much it would be to travel to a neighbouring country. Sometimes you’ll find that the cost of flying home from a completely different city or country, is cheaper than flying back from your original destination! It’s a great way to see multiple places on one trip. As an example, Bratislava in Slovakia is less than an hour coach away from Vienna, and a Flixbus ride will only set you back 10 euros.
3. Store everything in a cloud
If you’re travelling with other people, the best thing I recommend is using something like Google Drive to store all the documents for you and the rest of your passengers. This means that it can be quickly accessed from anywhere and by the people you choose. I always put a copy of the itinerary here, boarding passes, tour tickets and of course, passport copies just incase!
4. Create your itinerary on Google Docs
Anyone who’s ever travelled with me knows how obsessed I am with google docs. You get real time updates on a document, multiple people can edit it online at the same time and of course it’s great for jotting down all the details of your trip. I usually put the dates of travel in, add the flight details and then usually get my friends to put down all their ideas on there for us to come up with a plan for our trip.
5. Use social media
I can’t remember a time where I just went on holiday without having any idea what to expect. I know that is sometimes the beauty of discovering somewhere new, so I try not to look into too much detail on what to expect in a new city. I do however love to use Pinterest and TikTok to find ‘the best local eats’ or ‘photo spots’ in a place.
6. Pin your landmarks on Google Maps
I swear this article isn’t sponsored by Google, but their products are very handy when it comes to trip planning! If you open google maps you are able to ‘create a trip’ and then save all the points of interest. Whether it’s restaurants, your hotel or landmarks you want to save. The good thing is you can also view these without data and you will still be able to navigate around.
Make the most of bank-holidays to extend your trip
If you have Gibraltar bank holidays, then March/April is the best time to have an extended holiday. Last year I went to Thailand for 3 weeks and only had to take 10 days of annual leave thanks to the Easter holidays, May Day and Workers Memorial Day. If you’re short on days for the rest of the year, then why not plan a trip over the New Year? That way you can also pull days from the following year.
8. Find free things to do
One of my top activities to do in Europe is a ‘free walking tour’ of a city. These are always a great way to see and learn about a place and get your bearings. Even though most of these are usually free to take part in, it is expected that you give some sort of tip at the end of it.
9. Plan your activities before hand
My go to for activities and excursions is either GetYourGuide or Klook, and it’s great for removing the hassle out of organising outings. A lot of the activities listed on here come with free cancellation just in case your plans change, and you can also see customer reviews below to see whether the activity is worth doing.
10. Don’t overplan
As much as I love doing things in advance, there is also such a thing as planning too much. We know things can always go wrong, so It’s important to go with the attitude that if something doesn’t go as planned, it’s ok and most of the time these things are usually funny to look back on. It’s also good to just leave some time to get lost around a city and see what hidden gems you discover yourself!