Travel Resources

You have always wanted to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower and contemplate the unique view of Paris. Or maybe you want to try how pizza tastes in Italy? Have you ever dreamt of diving with sharks? Or perhaps something less risky like taking a bath with a Thai elephant?
Of course, you do, but these things cost a fortune, right? And you can’t just organize it yourself.

Right?

Actually no.
Nowadays, self- arranged journies are getting more and more popular, and it is easier than ever to do it. You don’t need travel agencies telling you where and when to go, costing you double in the end.
Arranging the journey yourself, would not only save you money but would also give you a tailor-made experience. Trust me on this one. It may sound difficult but all you need is a working phone, an internet connection, and some comfy shoes.

See the way I do it and go bath that elephant yourself!

Step 1 – Pick the Right Destination

plan your trip - choose your destination

Since you are reading this, you probably have a destination in your mind already. If your schedule is flexible, there are some overlooked checks you should consider:

  • Unless you travel for a specific event, it is better to avoid any local holidays or festivals.
    Flights are overpriced, the accommodation bill will be sky-high, and the best hotels would be booked already.Sounds bad? That’s not even all.
    Regular transport may not work, the activities you have planned could be on vacation aaand the place would be overwhelmed by tourists. Here is a helpful site to check for national holidays.

     

  • Avoid the tourist season.
    But the tourist season has the best weather, why should I avoid it?

    While you’re researching your dream destination, thousands of other people do it as well … and (unless they’ve read this post too) they’ll pick the best season suggested online.
    Unless you want to meet more tourists than locals, you will have to pick something a month before or after the best period. Be wary not to choose too bad of a month though. You don’t want your trip ruined by any weather conditions. The most popular months are usually the summer ones and around the holidays in December.
    Here is a great site to help you avoid any wet seasons.

  • You don’t have a specific destination? Check Scyscanners Inspire map or Google flights for ideas and best deals.

Step 2 – Find the Best Flight

plan your trip - find the best flight

You have your destination now, and you’ve picked your travel month, It’s time to find a way to get there. Searching for a good flight is trickier than it sounds, but follow these tips, and I can guarantee you’ll find what are you looking for.

  • Start looking three months before your departure. Check the prices every day for a week to see what is the average and set yourself a price goal – around 20% less than the average price. Make sure you check other airports in the area too.
  • Be Flexible with your dates. Sometimes the same flight, just a day or two later, can save you hundreds of dollars.
  • Sign up for airline newsletter. For me, these are WizzAir and RyanAir for European flights. Qatar Airways, Etihad and Turkish Airlines for intercontinental flights. Air Asia and Cebu Pacific for Asian flights. Here is a handy Wikipedia list with all low-cost airlines by country.
  • Sign up for cheap fare alerts. Chances to get your specific route are slim but you never know, some offer there may change your mind about where you wanna go. The best ones are HolidayPirate, SecretFlying and my favorite- Scott’s cheap flights (this one is only for US flights now).
  • Check the birthday of the airlines offering your desired route. Flying companies always offer great deals on their birthdays and it would be a shame to miss it.
  • Use airfare search engines. It would be quite the hassle to check all airlines every single day so here come the search engines. If you find a reasonable price on any of them, make sure to check the others too. You never know which one will offer you the most valuable deal. My favourite search engines are:
  • Castaway tip – If you travel with a partner – pick the window seat and the aisle seat, leaving the middle one free. Unless it is a full flight (a rare occasion), no one would pick the middle seat, and you will have some extra space. If however, someone sits there, he/she would be more than happy to switch with one of you…no one likes the middle seat.
  • One more tip: If you use the European budget airlines, you’d have to check-in online. The service opens 24hrs before the flight and most people do it right away. Don’t be like most of the people. The airline algorithm is programmed to give away the bad seats first (in case someone decides to buy a good seat later). Delay the check-in until a few hours before the flight and enjoy your premium seat.
  • Flight searching myth – “Always use an incognito browser since airlines charge you more when they see you search for a specific flight ”. I have never seen a case like that, and neither of my travel friends has. No need to bother with this extra hassle.

Step 3 – Plan Your Itinerary

plan your trip - plan your itinerary

If your time is unlimited, you can just wing it and skip this step. If you are on a time-budget though, here is my way to research a destination.

  • Start your search with my Global Bucket List. I’ve done the heavy lifting and researched every country in the world.No need to do all the things on the list of course, but it’s a very convenient way to see what are the biggest must-sees of your destination.
  • Take a look at TripAdvisor. TA is a good place to see the most-prominent tourist spots. It’s also handy to find the local tourist traps. Be careful about fake reviews though. Start your check from the 2 and 3 star ones.They are never fake and gives you most accurate data.
  • Check out what your favorite bloggers/vloggers have to say about it. This as close as it gets to inside information of the place. You can even find a day by day guide and not bother yourself with further research. Make sure the info you get is from a blogger/vlogger you trust.
  • If you are a photographer – check on Instagram (by hashtag or geotag) and find the most picturesque places.
  • Look up for in some guided tours sites. Most of the tours could be easily found on the spot to. The difference? Getting one on the spot is shooting in the dark. You can get an incredible tour or you can get a nightmare. The biggest advantage of the online booking is the reviews. Find soething highly rated by hundreds of people and you can be sure you’re gonna have a good time.
    Even if you don’t book anything, you will get some example daily itineraries.
  • Mark your goals on Google Maps / Maps.me. This would help a lot when searching for a hotel. Also it’s easier when you create your daily itinerary. Maps.me works with no internet too, so it may save you a lot of trouble.
  • Research the airport transfer. Every airport I’ve been to have some public service shuttle. Just a little research would help you avoid pricy hotel transfers or scammer taxis.
    Also, I know that when you step outside to a new and unknown it may be a bit intimidating. Knowing where to go and what to do helps boosting your confidence.
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You need the: Things to do in (fill in your destination here) category. Scroll down and see the highlights of your destination. Be careful of fake reviews though. In most cases, something generic that is written by someone with Russian or Indian sounding name is not a geniune one

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Not a fan of guided tours, but when my time is limited, I often have to book a day tour to a nearby place. GetYourGuide is my favorite due to the vast amount of tour options they have.

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I’ve found a lot of ideas and secret spots here. Search by hashtag or geolocation and take a look at the top posts.

Step 4 – Find the Perfect Accommodation

Plan your trip - find the best hotel

You have your dates now, and you know your activities. It’s time to find your bed for the night.

  • Check out a map with the highlights you want to see  (the ones you’ve already marked) and find a hotel in the nearby area. The best location is the cornerstone of your trip.
  • If it’s a big city, research the best way of transportation and book a place close to a metro station/bus stop.
  • For your last night in the city, try to find a hotel close to the airport.
  • When researching a place always go through the reviews, especially the bad ones. See what’s the worst you can expect and decide if it’s worth the price. If I see comments about thin walls or lousy view I ignore them but if the complaints are about missing gear or cockroaches, it’s a deal-breaker.
  • If you use Airbnb, look for Superhosts or places with at least 10 reviews. The reviews should not be older than 3 months. If something looks too good to be true, in most cases it’s a trap. Following these rules, I’ve stayed in dozens of Airbnb’s and never had a bad experience.
  • Best places to find accommodation are:
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Booking.com is the worlds leading accommodation site. Infinite options, quite useful search by a map and nonstop offers. Most of the offers also have an easy cancellation option. I use Booking or Airbnb in almost every travel.

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Airbnb gives you the option to rent or share a local apartment. It’s often cheaper than a hotel and gives you the chance to interact with a native host and get some insights.
Airbnb is incredibly useful all around the world. Make your pick carefully and you would not only save money but would also have the chance to interact with a knowledgable local.
If you’re new to Airbnb get 40 USD off your first stay!

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It’s hard to compete with Booking.com but Agoda does it quite well. The user interface is not as good, but Agoda has a great Asian database and it’s not that rare to have better offers than booking.

Step 5 – Get a Travel Insurance

Plan your trip - get a travel insurance

Leaving without travel insurance is not a good idea. Let’s just say like it is: It’s a very very dumb idea. There are so many things that can go wrong abroad and end up costing you a fortune. Insurance would ease your mind tremendously, and even if you don’t end up using it, it would’ve done quite a lot for your travel. I’ve used only one provider who has proven to me over the years. 

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Recommended by National Geographic, Lonely Planet and hundreds of bloggers, World Nomad insurance is not only going to cover you (and your gear) from various misfortunes but is also cheap and easy to get. I use them every time i travel ,and I’ve never had an unresolved issue.

Step 6 – Pack Your Bbag and go !

Plan your trip - pack your bags

You have any questions or suggestions?
Don’t hesitate to contact me 

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