Top 5 Tips for getting the most out of your trip | travel

by - May 17, 2014

Over the last 8 months I have spent a lot of time planning what I hope to be the trip of a life time with me and a couple of best friends, it has been a lot work, most of it fun but I think with only a few weeks left to go before our first flight we are nearly there. 

I wanted to make a list of all the steps we have taken to try and reduce stress when we're there and make sure we do everything we want to whilst we're travelling because I can't think of anything worse about a trip than to come home and feel like you didn't get a chance to do everything you wanted. 

- Pinterest

The first thing I did was go to my Pinterest board, follow me if you're addicted as I am, look at all the places I had 'pinned' and decide if I really wanted to go to them. I made a list of all the places so I could see how they would fit in to the trip as I planned forward, Sal, my travel buddy, did the same. 

- Travel Books

As you can see from the first picture in the post I have quite a ridiculous collection of travel books now and those are just the ones relevant to this trip. I think it is the most valuable part of the planning though because not only do they tell you the 'must do's' in each area, they have so many handy tips, money saving techniques and lesser known facts too. 

I found these Lonely Planet pocket guides have been the most useful so far and have heard from friends they are equally handy when you're actually on the move. They come with detailed information of each area and a feature I, as a compulsive planner, found most useful was the walks section, it offers routes for walks including estimated time it would take, distance and they are all designed for you to see the most important monuments or must see spots. 

They're small enough for you to throw in your bag throughout the day and even come with a map in the back, which leads me to my next point. 

- Maps

This may seem to think about in the planning of a trip but when you're thinking about what you want to do, especially if you'll be relying on public transport to get you across big cities and beyond, it's important to know what kind of distance you will be covering in a day, how you're going to go about it and how long it will take you. This will also help you make the most of your time as you can be sensible about what things you will do in the same day rather than being backwards and forwards across a city in one day wasting time. 

These pocket maps are great, because they are big enough and detailed enough for you to be able to use prior to the trip, even mark out routes or highlight bus stops, but they have much smaller maps zoomed in on various areas and they fold up so small you can again just through them in your bag to look at later if you get a little disorientated. 

- Google Drive

As although me and Sal are doing the trip together, we are meeting various friends along the way, so as I am a massive control freak with needing to know what 'the plan' is Sal created a shared spreadsheet that can be shared on Google Drive, so we could each add in a list of things we wanted to do in each place. This also gave us an opportunity to look at costs for each thing and make it the best for everyone. 

We have also made sheets for costing so we could all see where money was going and make it fair. Finally we made another sheet most recently to create a day by day itinerary to ensure we had time to do everything we all wanted to and so everyone knew where everyone was going to be at each point. 

I found this most useful though to make each thing we're doing most time effective, this was when I used the maps so much like mentioned about. 

- Apps

Anything to make your trip go as smooth as possible is great in the planning of it all. I have downloaded many apps and deleted them over the past 8 months but here are one's I have found invaluable in the planning of trips, accommodation, travel services and eating. 

Excuse my dirty phone screen, but here they are, Airbnb, Currency, Virgin Atlantic, TripAdvisor, Yelp,, Trip Advisor City Guides and AccuWeather. 

The most useful have been TripAdvisor, Yelp and Airbnb because they're all to do with booking where we are staying throughout the trip and needing to know real people's experiences of places without being able to go myself. Yelp I have found a really good resource when looking at the best way to get to and from airports. 

XE has been great when prices have been given to me in Dollars so I can quickly check it in Pounds. Accuweather gives forecasts for up to a month before obviously, I don't know how accurate it is going to be but it's good to have an idea and finally, Trip Advisor City Guides is great if you don't want to get out a map or guide book in a busy area or somewhere you don't want to highlight you're a tourist as no one knows what you're looking at on your phone and they also work offline.

I hope you have a great time if you're going away soon, 

Until next time, 



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