Planning Your Next Trip

Planning Your Next Trip

Before you embark on your next adventure, you should embark on some research! There’s so much more than just picking a place and booking tickets. I know planning is sometimes the hardest part, but there are ways to make this process as painless as possible!

Some critical things to know before you go:

  • Weather
  • Sights to See
    • Cost
    • Open Hours
  • Transportation (public v. private)
  • Food/Restaurants

This can seem like a lot but there are some websites that I have found extremely useful and return to time and again whenever I’m getting ready for a new trip.

  • Leisure Pass Group - This company heads up travel passes for a myriad of cities around the world. When you purchase a GoCity Pass or city specific pass like the London Pass, you get access to a majority of the major tourist attractions for free or a discount.

    Even if you choose not to purchase one, when you click on the link to view the pass, there’s usually an information section where you can download a free guidebook and map.

    Also, you can search for their city-specific mobile apps so you can do research and save favorite locations right from your phone. The apps are free to download and include critical information on public transportation, maps, and an attraction’s prices and hours. 

  • Pinterest & Blogs - You can find a blog post on just about any destination from Pinterest. It’s particularly helpful if you search the city name then how many days you will be going (i.e. Paris 3 days).

    Whenever I’m preparing for a trip to a major city, I find it helpful to check multiple blogs for what sites they recommend. I then make sure to put the most mentioned locations at the top of my must-see list.

    Once you have that list, check each attraction’s website to see if they offer any discounts if you buy your tickets online or have special free visitation hours. 

  • Google Maps - Open the app on your phone and search for the location(s) you will be going. Then, you can explore common tourist locations by where the camera symbol pops up. Also, you can look for restaurants and view their menus, reviews, hours, etc. 

    If you will be travelling internationally, I also recommend downloading an offline map to your phone of the location.Once downloaded, you can ask for driving directions to and from anywhere in that map without WiFi or using data!

    1. Open the app on your mobile device.
    2. Click the icon on the top left with three horizontal lines.
    3. Below location sharing, click Offline Maps.
    4. Under Download an Offline Map, click Custom Map.
    5. Then zoom out and zoom in to the area you want downloaded.
  • Google - Google is still good for just about everything! Some specific searches you can do to answer other trip questions include:
    • “Average weather in (city/town)  in (month)
      • Google should then pull up lovely graphs that show average temperature highs and lows as well as average rainfall/snowfall.
      • If traveling in the U.S. for a long period of time, check out The Farmer’s Almanac.
    • (city/town) public transportation”
      • For major cities, Google should pull up the public transportation company’s website and info near the top.
      • For less traveled places, travel sites and blogs may be your best bet. You can find the most visited sites in the first few options listed on Google.

Of course, there are many other websites and services like Yelp! and TripAdvisor. Personally, I have not used these sites because I find them overwhelming (too much going on, and they’re all trying to sell you something). However, I believe there are some generational differences that are the cause of preferential research methods.

If for whatever reason you forgot to research or aren’t confident with your internet search skills, guidebooks are still a good option (just refrain from pulling them out in public).

Additionally, tourist information offices are highly underrated! Especially if you’re flying in to your destination, make sure to check in with the tourism desk, and you might even get some extra coupons or discounts!

If you have any questions or comments about your favorite ways to prepare for your trip(s), let me know below!

About Shannon Pedersen

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