15 Oct 2016 22 comments

6 Tips For Planning Your Dream Trip.

Travel has always had a special place in my heart, something I always make the time (and the funds!) for at least a few times a year. Whether that be a quick trip to Brighton, a weekend in Paris or somewhere a liiiiiiittle more exotic…

I’m an organised traveller; before my trip I always plan out what I want to do. I’ll search and read up on how to get about, the best restaurants and all the places to avoid too.
I love seeing a city from a locals perspective, and I also hate crowds and queues and tacky tourist traps so planning is an absolute MUST.

I rarely have a bad trip to another city, so I’ve put together some tips and tricks as a seasoned city-see-er. I tried really hard to not sound like a trumpet…

01. Think about what you want from your trip. So maybe you just want a quiet break relaxing on the beach, or maybe you want a full-blown trip to New York with absolutely everything packed in. Or perhaps you want something in the middle – relaxing but never boring.
Consider what you want from your travels before you plan – and also discuss with whoever you’re going with too! It’s okay if you want to take a million pictures, or do nothing but sit by the pool for a week – tailor a trip to suit you.
When Jordan and I go away, I try and include a few surprises for him too – is there something related to Star Wars, craft beer or coffee that we could fit in to take the edge off all the Kate things we’re about to do? Let’s fit ’em in!

02. Use social media to find the best spots. This is key to having your best trip yet – before any big adventure I will spend hours researching the local spots and the must-see locations.
The first thing I always do is head to Pinterest; I usually search for keywords, e.g. “Paris restaurants” “Paris Instagram guide” “Paris city guide” “how to get around in Paris” “what to know about travelling to Paris” and go from there.
I adore The Every Girl and The Glitter Guide for travel guides, they always include the cutest spots!
Then, when I have a few spots in mind, I’ll cross-reference with Instagram. This is probably a bit extreme for anyone just looking for a place to explore, but for a blogger who wants cute pictures and to know the vibe, it’s a must! Search in ‘Places’ for the location for a good feel of the place – it works well for cafes, eateries, hotels, stores and landmarks.
Alternatively, search hashtags and blogger’s accounts for their favourite hangouts – they’re definitely going to know the coolest cafés and hidden gems.


03. Plan by area. If you’re off to a big city, it’s a good idea to plan your trip by area – for example, if you’re headed to New York, spend a day in Soho and Tribeca, another day doing Midtown and then another for Central Park.
I usually make a list of places I want to see in the area and then find them as we go – the TripIt App is pretty good for this!
This also works if you’re seeing a bigger area – we’ve been planning our Amalfi Coast trip lately and I made sure we spent enough time in Positano, Capri and Sorrento to see the best bits.

04. Consider timings. If you know the place you want to see is going to be busy, consider going early or late to make sure you can grab a seat and a snap.
I always find Googling the place is a good plan, as Google will show you the peak times for that restaurant or store, so you can avoid the rush.
This sometimes means stocking up on cupcakes at breakfast, but who can argue with that…

05. Play it coooool fam! You don’t need to go in with a bulky camera and stand in the doorway snapping away. I find it’s best to take a smaller camera (I use this one) when I travel and always ask first if you can take a few pictures – especially inside stores!
This applies to locations too – if you want to see the Charging Bull or the Hollywood Walk of Fame, do it! They’re not for everyone, and I personally usually skip the totally touristy bits because they’re usually a biiiiit of a letdown, but it’s all about making a trip that you love!
I really love the Airbnb ‘live like a local’ approach to travelling, and their neighbourhood guides are SO awesome for an authentic experience.

06. Accept you won’t do it all. You still have to sleep, relax and enjoy yourself so pack in the important bits and accept that there will still be things you didn’t get to see – I always tell myself that it’s good to leave with a reason to go back!
It’s best to really enjoy a few awesome places than feel like you saw everything through a camera lens and felt sick with exhaustion the whole time. It’s all about balance, I say.

Plan, prep, Pin to travel boards… it’s all part of the excitement of travelling!

Do you have any tips for planning your dream trip?

  • Soph Cullen

    loved this post, I’ve just been to mexico so this would’ve been super handy! xxx


  • like Samantha

    a very interesting post, i like to plan my trips too.


  • Great planning tips! 🙂

    La Bijoux Bella | by mia

  • Great post and very useful tips! I can’t wait to take another trip! My number one tip is to go with an open mind and a flexible schedule. There’s nothing worse than trying to stick to your pre-programmed activities when it’s obvious they’re just not working out. Just shrug your shoulders and plan anew! (I know it’s easier said than done.)
    Plus, I always try to discover the locals’ favourite places. The touristy ones aren’t very authentic most of the time…I love Airbnb’s guides for that reason, too!

    Mary | http://www.theblushfulhippocrene.blogspot.com

  • Yes! Love this, my dream trip is still a ways away but this is so useful

    – Natalie

  • I’ve never booked a holiday myself before so I found these tips really useful! I really want to go to Amsterdam!


  • Laura Mareno

    I’m always super organised with my trips too!! Research is key! haha awesome post:D


  • Grace Campbell

    I am looking at doing a lot more travelling next year, i’m definitely going to take your tips on board, thanks for sharing!!

    Grace x

  • I’m travelling on a Topdeck Tour through Europe in May for 23 days, so I don’t think we will have much of our own time to explore- but I’ve definitely been pinning away regardless. I am also excited to spend two weeks in London before and after our tour!

  • Charlotte

    Oooh I love these tips, no YOU’RE looking at flights right now.
    Plus, I’m with you about the queues and tacky tourist trips – I’d much prefer to spend my time investigating what the locals are wearing, or where they like to go and eat although now I sound a bit like a tourist stalker ?

    Charlotte | Two Cats One Flat

  • I am ALWAYS dreaming about my next trip and my next adventure… 🙂 Right now I’m thinking USA roadtrip, back to Japan or back to Hawaii!

  • Jenny

    I actually did a similar post on how I plan my travels on my blog (http://www.nnyley.com/blog/2016/how-i-plan-for-travels) and think we had some similar thoughts! Thank you for sharing xx


  • Good tips! I am always dreaming about new travel destinations!

  • Lucy Birchall

    Great tips! I’m in the middle of booking for Vegas next year (birthday trip to see Britney, scream!), so all of this is coming very much in handy! I’d love to book some cool trips like New York or revisit the Amalfi coast again (and actually explore this time!) in the next year or two. I always find travelling a little overwhelming and just hope for the best when I get there, but I really want to properly plan things out and make the most of my time there…!

    She’s So Lucy // Health, Wellness & Beauty

  • Love your cute little Canon!

    Vivian | LIVE . IN . LOVE


  • Maggie

    These are amazing tips! I suck at planning trips.


  • These are really great tips! My husband and I are planning a really big trip for May, so these tips definitely helped!

    Carrie | http://carrieelise.com/

  • Caroline

    Well, I have also made super organized trips, but also more spontaneous trips, and to be honest I enjoy more the spontaneous trips because they surprise me a million times more, at these trips I don’t have expectations and I don’t know so much about the place, almost nothing, even visualy or specially, so the suprises overcome the dificulties of these kind of trips.

  • Thank you so much for these great tips! I personally like planning trips because I like traveling at my own pace (I absolutely hate following a tour’s itinerary), so these little tips are super helpful/useful! <3 🙂 You're such a well-seasoned traveler, it makes me wish I can one day be like you too!

    XO, Elizabeth

  • Lucero Zambrano

    Amazing Tips!!
    Lucero Love XX


  • Loving these tips, great post! 🙂


  • Claire

    Thanks for all the tips!
    I personally also love a good old TripAdvisor investigation 🙂