I booked three trips last week that I’ll take over the next couple of months which prompted me to answer a question that I am often asked “How do I plan my vacations?”
I’m super type A organized with lists for days, including a wish list of places that I want to go, so unless I’m traveling for a specific occasion I go to the list. (Sidebar: I believe in the power of words and writing down my goals helps me to manifest them.) I factor in weather and season when I decide to take a trip and choose a place that will be ideal for the time of year that I am traveling.
Depending on the length of time that I will be traveling (if more than three days), I may decide to visit multiple locations in one trip. Last August I took a two week trip to Southeast Asia to visit Bangkok, Bali, Singapore and Phuket and in October I took a trip to the Caribbean to Antigua, St Maarten and Anguilla. This helps to maximize my trip, especially to far destinations. In the case of south east Asia, the flight was 11 hours from London, therefore it made sense to visit as many places as I could in one trip rather than making multiple trips to visit each place. I will be taking an ambitious road trip to Italy at the end of this month where I’ll visit three cities in four days.
Do I use a travel agent or an online service?
I book all of my travel directly, flights and hotels. I usually research my destinations at least two weeks before I book to get an idea of what the average costs are and identify any price fluctuations and then I try to book my travel at least 60 days in advance to get the lowest prices. My preferred airlines based on destination are as follows:
- EasyJet for travel within Europe – their prices are highly competitive and I find their service to be a tad better and more convenient than Ryan Air and some of the other low-cost airlines.
- Air Asia for travel within Asia – its essentially the Asian equivalent of EasyJet for Europe
- Delta and Virgin Airlines for transatlantic travel – I am a big fan of their Sky miles program and have accumulated a lot of miles with their American Express branded card.
- British Airways is a close second for travel within Europe, Transatlantic and the Caribbean – though their prices are generally higher than EasyJet for European flights, they do offer a higher-quality service and often have more convenient flight times.
I have flown with various other airlines that offer a good value for money namely Oman Air, Turkish Airlines, Emirates and Norwegian Airlines.
Do your Googles and you’ll start to identify price trends. I also use the Hopper app to spot pricing trends and predict the best time to book. Hopper tracks the major airlines but many of the smaller, budget airlines are not tracked so use Google for a comprehensive search.
When it comes to hotels I prefer to book through a rewards program like Hotels.com but I always check the direct pricing offered by the hotel. Hotels.com makes it easy to search and compare hotel prices and amenities. By consolidating all of my hotel bookings with Hotels.com I am able to minimize the number of disparate rewards programs and points that I accumulate and I’m able to earn a free night’s stay for every 10 nights booked. I love to redeem the free nights to maximize my budget by either direct savings or using the money that I’ve saved on a free night’s stay to book an upgraded hotel room.
I hope this was helpful but feel free to leave a question in the comments.
Safe travels! ✈️
*Disclaimer – this is not a paid endorsement and I have not received any compensation for my advice/recommendations.