As you can imagine from my travel posts, we have been traveling a lot these days. So, I thought of putting down essentials to travel smart and making the best use of your outing. Here they are based on my year’s of experience:
- Prepare well in advance: Nothing can replace good research and that is where many websites and blogs come in handy. When we have to travel, we plan well ahead in advance to see what we have to see at any location; how much time each spot will take; hotels close by and their rates based on desired options; parking aspects (if driving on your own) at busy locations; distance and travel time between two attractions; entry fees for each spot; and, where can we take the best shots.
When I also write on travel, I like to put down certain nitty-gritties that would help the readers with certain unique aspects, which they might not find on the net otherwise. It is only after visiting the site that one gets to know about them (or by being smart and doing research).
- Budget travel: There are ways to save money – Buying packages for multiple attractions at a place; using bonus points of credit card for booking; traveling during off-season; traveling to a nearby airport rather than a popular one; booking early to avail special ‘advance-purchase’ rates; and, even sleeping at the airport to save some bucks if you have flight early morning.
We do all this, that is why our planning for a 10-day trip starts more than 2 months in advance. We have to absolutely make sure we have done our homework well, so we don’t regret later.
- Working out the emergencies: What if it rains at a place where you were supposed to spend the time outdoors? Well, if you were looking to see museums in that city the next day, you can just swap the itinerary for those days. But for that also, your layout for both days should have been planned that way, since you wouldn’t want to spend time thinking when you are on the road already!
Weather can indeed play a havoc with your travel plans, so do plan a workaround. Sometimes, some activities can only be done in certain weather conditions, so keep an eye on that too.
- Keep backup options: No matter how much planning you do, there could be last minute changes for various reasons (say, the flight got delayed). If you thought you wanted to spend half-a-day at a Botanic Garden but didn’t like it so much, what do you do? You could have kept some back-ups for that day, just in case you had some extra time. One can prioritize the spots for any day and proceed with them in that order.
Since we spend too much money on our trips, we would want to make the best of it. And, create some good memories too!
- Travel blueprint: Now that you have done your homework and are ready to fly, the best you can do is to print or carry a soft copy of the entire research you’ve done. It is difficult to just memorize everything that you have concluded on. We normally carry a hard-copy too, apart from keeping an electronic version.
Sharing with you one such blueprint for our longest trip (yet) starting today in California – we have created templates over the years and the new details just go in there: