TRAVEL PLANNING MADE EASY(IER)
Over the last few weeks we have published a lot of podcasts and blogs about specific travel destinations where we told you why we love that particular destination so much, what awaits you there and what you have to consider when planning a trip there. But this week we have a very special blog and focus: we'll let you look behind the scenes of how we plan a trip. In fact, during the preparation of the podcast and this blog we had to realize that we are doing the process intuitively by now and therefore it seems very simple to us. It actually took us a while to really organize our actions into manageable steps that we feel could help you. At the end of this process, we decided to divide the whole travel planning process into a three part series:
Choosing your destination
Booking your trip
Planning where to go and what to do at your destination
Today we want to start with part 1, the question "Where do you want to go or what do you want to do?" Part 2 and Part 3 will follow in the coming weeks.
All right, here we go. The question "Where do you want to go or what do you want to do? " is the question we believe is the most important to answer. Everything else hinges on this answer. Therefore, the first part of the blog deals with the answer to this question. Of course, you can also first approach planning a trip with the topic of time (how much time do you have) or budget. But we think that the vacation should be primarily about what you want to do or where you want to go. When, how long, and with what budget can be adjusted to this question and still leave you feeling happy and fulfilled from an amazing vacation.
If you noticed in the above question, “where do you want to go OR what do you want to do” we have asked two questions here. We did this on purpose. There may be many of you that are reading this and already thinking to themselves, I know what I want to do - time to leave this blog!
We believe there is still something here to help you in the planning process - so keep on reading.
If you are now find yourself in the other group that has no answer or maybe even too many answers to this question "Where to?" and simply doesn’t know or can't decide where to go, the second question can help you: what do you want to do on your next holiday?
To make it a little easier to answer this question, we have divided the types of holidays into five categories: Relaxation vacation, city trip, outdoor experience, culture / country trip and the all-in-one mix.
Have a look at our categories and maybe one of them appeals to you while reading through.
1) RELAXATION VACATION
Oh, who doesn't love a good relaxation vacation? Everyday life is stressful, you would like to take a deep breath and relax, but you can't do it in your own four walls? You think a trip would be nice, you really want to see something and go somewhere but you don't want any more stress. You just want to relax and recuperate. The idea of packing 4-5 books and your favorite travel partners bring you happiness? The thought of beach or spa or just nature makes you even more happy? Wonderful, then the next trip you need is a relaxing holiday.
Whether it is to the beach, to the mountains, somewhere in nature or to the next town or city does not matter. Whatever environment is the perfect place for you to relax is the right one. It doesn't matter whether it's a luxury spa hotel, a club with activities or the holiday apartment. Whatever you need to switch off and take away all your worries.
I myself love this kind of traveling. I come home and immediately feel 10 years younger and like I could conquer the world. For Chris, these vacations are much more difficult. There are just these people who cannot lie somewhere all day without asking when we are going to see something again.
Interested? Look no further than our Maldives trip for further inspiration.
2) CITY TRIP
If you are looking for relaxation, a city trip is probably the wrong way to go for your vacation - unless you find relaxation in hour-long pavement kicking, museums, sightseeing, restaurants and cafes. If you think that sounds exactly like what I need right now, then we invite you to explore other cities around the world. City trips are characterized by the fact that they usually last only two to five days and are therefore ideal for longer weekends. They are about experiencing the history, culture and pulse of the city from its foundation to the present day. Whether you do this by visiting museums, sightseeing or simply strolling through the streets and sampling the local cuisine is entirely up to you.
While relaxation is not Chris' thing, he is completely in his element on city trips. Museums, running, climbing heights, running, sightseeing towers, running, reading the guide book from back to front while running, oh yes, and running again. It's a good day when your head is bursting with new information and you can no longer feel your legs. That's exactly your thing? City breaks are our most popular category so far! Would you prefer London, Paris, Salzburg, Chicago or Florence?
3) OUTDOOR EXPERIENCE
For all those who now think both relaxation and the thought of swimming through a city in tourist crowds sounds terrible, perhaps this category holds something more interesting: the outdoor experience. Actually, you don't care about anything, the main thing is to be outside, far away from people and to experience the majesty of nature? An outdoor experience can be just about anything that is actively done outdoors in nature. It can be a hiking holiday through the mountains, a bike tour through Europe, a ski trip or crossing the ocean with a sailboat. Whether land or water, desert, forest, snow or tundra - everywhere is potentially your next destination.
For this kind of holiday you better plan a little longer than just a few days. Also, it is not so much one central place itself (as you will be moving away from it a lot) as the general area you are going to and what you would like to do that is crucial when looking to plan an outdoor experience.
Years ago I hiked with a friend of mine across the Alps from Germany to Italy armed only with a backpack. The first days were hard and our feet hurt, but even the rain couldn't ruin our good mood and nature experience. The feeling of climbing paths that you can't reach otherwise, being all alone in nature and having everything I need in my backpack is simply unbeatable.
4) REGION / COUNTRY TRIP
Besides city breaks, this is our favorite category. We love to discover other countries and their cultures and to find ourselves in them. There is nothing more beautiful to me than to set off to a completely unknown country ( naturally I have of course heard a lot and read a lot more before). But then to be in the country, to see the people and talk to them, to get to know their ways of life, their religions, their everyday life, their sights and sanctuaries is the greatest thing to me. In addition to the people, there is of course nature, the landscape, the climate zone, all these other conditions, which are of course incredibly closely interwoven with the culture of the people. And did I mention that I love to get to know the food of other countries?
Not a year goes by without Chris and I getting to know another country, the landscape, culture and people. And, if you have asked yourself beforehand how we fit together when traveling because we like such different things - we find our common ground in this type of trip.
Just as fascinated by this way of traveling as we are? We have a couple recommendations for you: Brunei, Cape Town, Louisiana, Iceland, Tuscany, and a lot more to come - what would you like to do?
5) ALL-IN-ONE MIX
We could have called this category Miscellaneous. But "Other" usually has the aftertaste of "Everything else that is pending" in meetings. And that does not apply to this category at all. The all-in-one mix is - as the name suggests - a combination of everything we mentioned before and comes with a much longer travel time required, so that you have enough time for everything. This is a colorful mix of the above trip ideas and it's pretty much tailored to everything you would want. Start with a city trip and after that a few days head to the beach to relax? Or a country trip with the ultimate outdoor experience or hike in between? Or just take the caravan and go?
You think that sounds fantastic and exactly what you want to do this year? Hang tight, we will publish an itinerary - 4 weeks through Eastern Europe with the caravan - very soon now!
PHASE TWO - HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE
Phew, that was a lot. And we've only covered the first question of part one.
I hope that there was also something for you, where you say: I want to do that, I really want to do that! So now you know what you want to do on your next trip you need to take the next step: when can or when do you want to travel and for how long? The answer to this is also as individual as you are and depends on many external factors: when can you take time off and for how long, and then other factors like: school holidays, vacations, public holidays, etc. Just as these external factors are annoying, they also help to limit your options and bring you closer to your destination. How? Just like this:
When can you get away? You have decided to take a relaxing holiday and all you can think about right now is your feet in the sand? You live in Europe, it's January and you have already been freezing for three months and you want to go somewhere warm? Since the northern hemisphere is relatively cold in winter, you already know that you will need to go further away than the Spanish or Italian coast. This takes longer and requires more, so maybe you need to take a couple extra days.
Suppose you live in the middle of the USA. You would like to do a cultural / country trip in the next 3 months, but you only have a few days. Then a 12h flight to South East Asia or South Africa is probably not worthwhile for you. No reason to despair. Just check out what is close to you, for example discover Louisiana in 5 days or much more. These were just two examples, but they show how the question of when and for how long has already severely limited the potential travel destinations. Then we can finally ask ourselves the last question: how much budget do you have?
PHASE 3 - BUDGET
The answer to this question can significantly limit both the distance you can travel as well as where your destination is. At the same time, both of these things bring you closer to your ultimate goal of choosing your destination. Many people may now think that the budget question is actually the question that should come first when you decide where and what you want to do for a holiday. Of course, the budget question is also related to all topics that we discussed earlier, for example how long I can take a vacation. Nevertheless, we have deliberately put it at this point, as we believe that no matter what kind of holiday you decide on, the costs are flexible, depending on how luxurious you want your trip to be.
Some people go on a long weekend city trip in a neighboring country for 1.000 € and treat themselves to a beautiful, exclusive hotel. Others travel through Southeast Asia for four weeks on €1,000, sleeping in hostels and eating at street markets. What we want to say with that is, it depends on you on which level you want to do your trip, as there are almost no limits to the costs. And that is why this question comes last for us at this point. So back to the question: On the one hand, the travel distance is absolutely budget dependent, because traveling further away is much more expensive than staying in your own country. Statistically speaking, people spend the most money on travel to and from their destination, closely followed by accommodation costs. This means that if you have set yourself up with a strict budget, you are most likely to cut your travel costs and choose places where it is cheaper to stay.
While the transportation and accommodation costs make up the bulk of travel costs, there are also simply destinations or countries that are more expensive than others. This is mainly due to the high cost of living in the country itself and the popularity among tourists. Places like Norway, the Bahamas and Dubai are among the top 3 most expensive destinations worldwide. Others list additional countries like Japan, France, Switzerland and Denmark.
On the other hand, there are again countries where traveling is particularly cheap. Forbes lists Colombia, Mexico and Hungary, among others. So if you have a few countries or continents in mind that are left over from the previous criteria, just google how expensive or cheap it is there. This will help you a lot to limit your travel destinations to a few.
THAT’S IT! NOW GET INSPIRED
That’s it, you have done it! You have gone through all the questions! And if you have answered them all for you, then there should be a few places left that are suitable for you and your dream vacation. Now is your last task: get inspired! Google the places, watch Youtube videos, go to Instagram and follow onsite accounts. If your remaining places include destinations that we offer as itineraries, check out the photos, read the blog, listen to the podcast where we tell you why this place is worth visiting and watch the videos we made of the destination.
That was long and hard now. So we have summarized the most important steps for you once again:
You know, where you want to go? -> Congratulations, you are done here! You don't know where you want to do?
Then decide what you want to do: relaxing, city trips, outdoor experience, culture / country trip, or the all in one mix .
When do you want to go and how much time do you have
What budget are you willing to spend
Inspired and destination selected? Then let's go to step two: detailed planning and booking. But more about that in the next few weeks. We hope this was helpful for you.
If you have any questions or remarks, please feel free to comment or contact us directly.
Laura & Chris