Are you planning to book a great vacation? I remember the first time I booked my first holiday. I spend a lot of times comparing, searching the best prices, reading about the destinations, and I was thinking: isn’t there a more efficient way to book the best holiday online? Based on the experience I’ve gained ever since, I would like to give you a few valuable tips on how to best book the holiday of your dreams.
I have made a step-by-step guide for planning a trip, you make the process of planning your trip a lot easier.
Step 1: Choose the destination
Where do you want to go? Perhaps you already have a destination in mind of which you are dreaming of for years. If not, allow yourself to be inspired. Read some travel blogs, watch travel programs on television and like travel pages on social media.
I love National Geographic as a source of great inspiration for adventurous trips through cities and nature.
Step 2: How long will you go on holidays?
It’s important to determine when you want to go on holidays and how long you want to go, in order to calculate the costs. Every day of vacation, will make the trip more expensive. But perhaps you only have a limited amount of vacation days available.
Step 3: How much will it cost?
You have determined where you want to go, when and how many days. You probably do have a certain budget you can spend on the vacation. You should make a budget in order to make the right bookings.
How much will the travel toward your holiday destination cost?
How much will a hotel cost that suits your preferences?
How much money will you have left for you daily spending?
The result of this calculation will give you an overview of your budget. Perhaps you can choose a cheaper hotel in order to have more money available to spend on other things, like food, drinks and activities.
You can find a lot of information for you budget in travel guides, online blogs and of course on Tripadvisor.
As a result of making your budget, you’ll have a clear plan to follow.
Step 4: Be inspired
Keep gaining new inspiration for you trip. Read interesting blogs, like certain social media pages, watch travel programs, etcetera. This will give you new ideas for you trip, for example what to do, which places to visit, etc.
Step 5: Book smart
You should realise you can safe a lot of money by booking your trips a smart way.
Airlines have certain discount periods, in which you can get the same flight ticket for less. Always check these to prevent you book a ticket a few days before a discount period. Always check the flight prices of flying a few days earlier of later. Maybe you can save 200 pounds by flying 2 days earlier of later.
Searching for the perfect hotel can be done by checking blogs or Booking.com. However, I advise you to book the perfect accommodation directly at the hotel or hostel. This is mostly cheaper and allows you to support the business to prevent them from having to pay a fee to the booking agency.
Step 6: Book your flight
Generally speaking, the earlier you book, the cheaper the prices. Book your flight up to 2 months before your trip. Last-minute deals don’t really exist exist anymore. So try to book as soon as possible. Prices often rise a few weeks before departure.
Sometimes it is cheaper to book your flight at a booking website. At other times it is cheaper to book your flight directly with the airline. In any case, it is more reliable to book your ticket directly with the airline. In case of a mistake or delay, they are directly responsible to offer you a solution.
Pay attention to the flight times. It can be cheaper to fly early at for example 6 o’clock in the morning, but then you do have to be at the airport 2 or 3 hours in advance. It is not always possible to reach the airport during night times, or a lot more expensive. An expected cheap flight ticket will end up rather expensive because of an expensive airport hotel.
My favourite booking websites for flights are:
Step 7: Book the accommodation
Once you have booked your flight, you can also book your accommodation. When you have made a travel schedule, you can search for accommodation based on that. If not, you can at least already book an accommodation for your first and last nights in order to be near the airport of arrival and departure.
There are different types of accommodations that match your travel style. A hotel is often more luxurious, with a private bedroom and bathroom. You can choose to book breakfast in advance. Many people (including me) find a good hotel breakfast a great way to start the day.
A hostel does not have the same level of luxury, which is not a bad thing at all. You can choose to sleep in a shared bedroom in a dorm, in order to save some money. Not everyone will appreciate a dorm room however. Many hostels also offer private bedrooms with private bathrooms. You pay a bit more than a bed in a dorm room, but often a lot less than a room at a hotel.
Nowadays, new hostels offer more luxury. These hostels are the perfect combination between the comfort of a hotel and the lower price and cosiness of a trendy hostel. A hostel is often a lot less stiff, often has a nice common area and is sometimes even more modern than a hotel.
Booking website can be used to find a perfect accommodation. I personally prefer to book directly at the hotel or hostel for a cheaper price. I use the following booking websites:
Step 8: What are you going to do?
Plan your perfect adventure abroad. There are probably a number of places that you would want to visit and do.
Step 9: Pack your luggage and enjoy your trip!
Do not bring too much!
Before departure, do not forget to write down the address of your first accommodation on a piece of paper, in case your phone battery is finished. Don’t forget to plan ahead how to get to your hotel from the airport. It is advisable to bring some local currency in cash for the first hours. Plus, if you need a rental car, look here.
And enjoy your trip!