Time to plan your next dream vacations? Great! Grab a cup of coffee (or a Caipirinha if you see a tropical getaway in your midst), plop down on a comfy seat and we'll show you how to map out your next adventure — all from the comfort of your home, office or favorite cafe. All you'll need a reliable Internet connection.
Planning The Dream Vacation
By Lucas Compan, a story-traveler
Planning a vacation should be as relaxing and eye-opening as the actual journey.
The traditional way of planning vacations — flipping through travel books and magazines — is an exhausting time suck. Lately, we've been planning our dream holidays using travel-planning applications. Globetrotters can find trip inspiration, affordable flights, off-the-map sights, delicious local eats, and the best hotels deals right on their smartphones, tablets or computers. You can always also have the personal touch of an expert, a travel advisor.
No matter how many apps you have in your mobile devices, it's not just about travel technology. It’s about creating balance. Laura Demarco, co-founder of The Welcome Hub, a Tours & Sightseeing company says: "If we turn our back to digital, that would be a big mistake. However, if we try to hide ourselves behind a computer screen, and forget what the person on the other side of it has to tell us, well, that would be an even bigger mistake." Then, yes, balance.
Even if you're saving money for that plane/train/bus ticket, planning a few trips in the meantime will abate the wanderlust, for sure.
Below are a few tech resources that can help adventurers of all experience levels to expertly plan the next voyage.
Step One: Decide Where To Go
Check out this flowchart designed by Justtheflight.co.uk:
Step Two: Finding Flights
Once you've narrowed down your list of possible destinations, it's time to find the best airfare. Your roundtrip ticket will likely be the biggest cost of your trip. From experience, it's best to check travel sites several times a day and throughout a week because ticket prices fluctuate hourly. It would also be ideal to book a few weeks in advance and to check with smaller carriers as well as the major airlines. To keep costs low, make sure to do your research about seasonal prices.
Step Three: Budget Hotels
Where to stay is a huge component of any trip. After a long day of eating delicious food, meeting locals and sightseeing, tired travelers need a quiet, comfortable, clean and affordable place to rest.
Have a look at this helpful infographic below to compare hotels to Bed & Breakfast facilities:
Step Four: Coordinating With Travel Buddies
Finally, you can share all the details with your travel mates.
TripIt is a helpful mobile and desktop application to get everyone on the same page. Users can plan trips on TripIt privately or in tandem with co-travelers. Creators can choose to share the itinerary by email or link with anyone. Here, you can discuss flights, car rentals and other transportation options. Plus, add additional details about lodging, restaurants, and activities.
TripIt is available on iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone 7. It's an easy way to turn all the confirmation emails from airlines, hotels and restaurants into an easily sharable itinerary. If there are any flight delays, cancellations and gate changes, TripIt will conveniently email real-time updates to the group's phones. Plus, it conveniently syncs to your mobile or desktop calendar.
Step Five: Itinerary
All that's left to do is plan how you'll explore a new city, island, coast or country. There are plenty of apps and websites to help you make the best of your time.
If you want to "touch" Niagara Falls, take a private jet ride to a new destination, explore the cities as locals do or create your personalized tour, you can always find great resources to book unique experiences – as TWH. The company created an online collection of tours and local sightseeing to connect with interested travelers. On the website, individuals can purchase guided tours, excursions, experiences, and adventures.
Step Six: Tours & Sightseeing
1. Create an inspiration board
You know where you’re traveling to, but the destination is just the beginning of your journey. There’s such a wealth of information online to help guide your planning, so create an inspiration board to keep it organized and in one place.
Pinterest is a great starting point because you can search your destination and immediately have a ton of photos, videos and articles to pin to your board. You can also pin content you find across social media travel pages and web to your Pinterest board. So everything is in one central place you can access from your laptop, smartphone or tablet. If Pinterest isn’t your cup of tea, try using Evernote to create a notebook for your trip that’s full of info you’ve clipped from the Web.
2. Organize the essentials
Next, add your essential travel information to your itinerary, which includes:
- Airline tickets
- Hotel reservations
- Rental car confirmations
- Restaurant reservations
3. Add in your tours, activities, and sightseeing
Now that you have your inspiration board to visualize your ideas, and places you want to visit, it’s time to add some activities to your travel itinerary. The Welcome Hub is a great source for finding hundreds of tours, sightseeing adventures, shows, excursions, personalized explorations, and more.
11 travel apps to start vacation planning now
No matter where you're headed, these iOS and Android apps can help you get there and find things to do when you arrive. Click here to read an article at C|Net website.
Creating an itinerary doesn’t have to be a painstaking process, and now that you’ve done one, you can follow it for each trip you take. You can always find advice from experts as well.