It’s an amazing feeling planning a trip to a place you’ve never been, the excitement for me is always paramount to that Christmas morning feeling. Here’s a couple of things I always try to include in my trip planning to make sure it is a success!

Time – As far as I’m concerned its always better to see a few places properly than to rush around several places without seeing any of the real side of them. I always try and vaguely guess how long I’ll be in a place and check I have enough time to cover everything I want to do. Of course, this is never set in stone and changes during the trip because I find I want to spend an extra day here or less time there etc.

Friend’s recommendations – You always get the best recommendations from people you know who have been to your destination before, so it’s always good to ask around and find out if anyone you know is keen to offer you some advice.

Guidebooks – These can get outdated pretty quick but they’re always worth a look when you’re planning your trip or your route! They have great ideas for main stops and routes to take and you can fill in places along the way through your own personal research. I always like to travel with a guidebook as at the least they can be a useful resource of hotel addresses if you are struggling to find somewhere to stay.

Shutterbee – I just found Shutterbee and it’s a great way to get some friend type recommendations from other travelers. You can discuss travel tips and even communicate with other travelers at your destination. You can also scroll through and share pictures and it’s also a great place to get inspired if you don’t already have a destination in mind. One of my favorite features is the ability to colour your personal travel map, filling in the countries and places you have been. It’s a great way to see how much of the world you have visited and you can then share this your friends through your social media accounts.

Communication – I guess a lot of travelers like to travel without a phone or local sim, but for me the first thing I do unless I’m in a country for a very short period is buy a local sim. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing worse than being super involved in your phone when you should be paying attention to the place around you, but having google maps to work out where things are and the ability to communicate with anyone you might meet has always been a huge bonus for me!