Do not be afraid to be ambitious, plan that trip! It’s ok if you’re not going on your dream trip in the near future. It could be a few years from now, either way go ahead and start planning your itinerary.
Search Like You Mean It
Check out hotel and flight prices for the time of year you would like to travel to your destination so you can get a feel of what you might have to pay when you’re ready to book. It’ll also help you know how much money you need to save up for the booking. Begin your research on hotels until you narrow it down to a few so when you have the vacation time or money (or both) to book your trip, you’ll know exactly who to pick!
Get Your Goals, Girl!
Be ambitious! Write down a list of things to do and places you want to see on your future trip. Find out if it will be close to your hotel, hostel or B&B. How will you get to all of the sites? Public transportation, taxi or by foot? How much would a bus or train ticket cost for a day trip? You can even go as far as finding out admission prices, hours of operation and policies. I did all of those things 2 years prior to our trip to Italy. A few things changed such as hours and admission costs – but nothing drastic. The hotel I had my eye on in Rome Best Western Art Hotel Noba was even booked at a cheaper price! I was very familiar with how to get to all of the tourist attractions from our hotel (thank you Google maps). I even knew what bus number would take us to each place and the bus schedule. Yep – I was that hard core. Which leads me to…..
Stalk, Stalk, Stalk
Oyster. No, not the kind that you eat at a seafood restaurant. I’m talking about the kind that you use for scoping out real details about a hotel! Oyster.com is a website that actually sends investigators to hotels around the world who review and take photos of rooms and hotel grounds so future guests can get a true image of what the hotel or resort looks like in comparison to what is advertised. So far, we have not had an issue with fake hotel promo photos at places we’ve stayed and I hope we can keep that good record up!
Another great tool is Google maps. It’s not just for a temporary fix for your wanderlust (don’t act like you’ve never Googled a particular street in Prague or Dubrovnik!) Google maps will show you a street view of the prospective hotel’s area so you can see if that “view of the beach” is really a view of a deserted parking lot. I’ve also used Google maps to plan out how far we’d have to walk or take a bus to get to a tourist site. Trip Advisor is also a really good tool to use. When choosing a place to stay after saving your hard earned money, always research beforehand – it will save you the headache and prevent a spat with your significant other.
It was very cool to go to Italy with a plan that was set in motion for almost 2 years before we even boarded the plane. The amazing thing was to experience my dream trip unfold right before my eyes. What was once a dream written on paper (actually a small binder of pages filled with information and Rick Steves guided maps to be specific) had become a reality. So go ahead and plan your trip! Your friends, spouse or family may think you’re nuts for doing so, but optimism is a real motivator! There is absolutely nothing wrong with having travel ambitions because one day, you just might be able to book that special trip!