We are going to share a behind the scenes look on how we plan our travels so you can plan the ultimate vacation. We often get questions about how we choose where to go next, where to stay and how to get the best booking deals on flights, hotels and tours. Booking a trip can not only being overwhelming but it can also be confusing as you want to get the best deal possible and stretch your dollars for the trip of a lifetime.
The internet has made everything more accessible but it has also made things harder as you need to plan in advance to get some of the best deals out there. We want to share a step by step guide on how we make our own travel arrangements to help you plan the perfect vacation.
Step 1: Set a travel budget
This might sound silly, but honestly setting a travel budget should be your first step. It will narrow down your options and give you a better idea on where you can go and how much you can spend when looking for things to do.
Step 2: Find inspiration on where to go
Our second step, once we have a set budget is go and look for inspiration on new places we would like to visit. It is great to use apps like Instagram or Pinterest to find more info of inspiring places to go or what is out there. We also like going to our favorite bloggers’ website to see where they have been lately and look for the most interesting spots. The more info you can collect the better, not only for this trip, but for any other upcoming trips as well.
Step 3: Minimum research
Before you invest time looking for flights or hotels do some initial research to find the best time to visit a particular destination. Focus on the weather and the seasons. As an Ecuadorian, Jazmin is used to sunset at 7PM year round with warm sun daily and has forgotten that during winter some places get dark by 3PM. A long layover does not work very well in the dark and does not make for a fun visit. Do not let that happen to you and do some research in advance.
Step 4: Look for flights
Once you have narrowed your options of destinations down, start looking for good flights deals from nearby airports. We start by looking at Momondo, Kayak, and Skyscanner. They often have similar prices but depending on the location you can find a really great deals. If you are looking for flights within Europe, Skyscanner, normally has better deals than Kayak.
All of these platforms offer slightly different options to help you find the best deal possible, from +/-3 days to an explore page that offers the cheapest flights from your airport to any destination.
Step 5: Look for hotels
Once you know where in the world you want to go, it is time to find a place to sleep. Before you even start your search you need to establish what type of accommodations you are interested in, be it hotel, hostel or rental.
I am a big FAN of Hotels.com as they have an amazing loyalty program. But, we also check other places like Airbnb as it can be cheaper to stay in an apartment than a hotel. It all depends on what we are looking for and with how many people are traveling in the group.
Step 6: Plan your itinerary
Here is where a majority of your research comes along. We normally start with researching a destination on Google and see what shows up. From there we visit our favorite fellow travel bloggers for more ideas on what attractions to visit. Many people, just like us, have itineraries based on their interests or niche already made on their website, where you can easily get inspired to create your own or copy one. We hope Travel To Blank can be one of your starting inspiration points.
We also use this awesome platform called TraveLibro where people share what they did on their trips step by step. It is super helpful to plan your itinerary, as you can see more of each place the person visited and see if it is something that is interesting for you.
Step 7: Make the booking + Buy Insurance
Once you have completed all the stages above make sure to book your trip before the prices go up! We always recommend travel insurance as super important when you travel. Click here to find the travel insurance for your trip. You cannot imagine how many things can go wrong even during a weekend giveaway and it is best if you are as covered to mitigate emergency expenses.