We have been planning this trip in our minds for years. Like 10 years. Or 11. But when it came time to actually put the trip together we still needed to have an actual plan. And a place to sleep. And an idea of where to go. So below are our five most helpful resources for planning a travel adventure.
- Rick Steves. In reality, this is the only resource you need. Rick Steves and his amazing resources single-handedly made our trip amazing (and no he’s not paying me to say that; but Rick Steves, if you read this, I will gladly join your team!!)
- Find the resources for your desired destination. Buy the book. Download the app. Dive in.
- It would be best to get these resources while planning the trip because he gives solid advice on where to stay, how much things cost, and even how to plan your days.
- Google Maps | My Map. Did you know you can make your own map in google maps? Whether you are staying in one city and want to outline where you are going each day to get an idea of how transportation needed, how much you will be walking, etc. or whether you will be going to multiple cities within one trip, this google feature is super helpful! Plus it helps you get to know the area a bit before you get there, so you don’t look like a lost tourist the entire time. This tutorial was super helpful!
- Air BNB. The perfect way to travel Europe. We booked all of our accommodations through Air BNB and were more than pleased! We were able to stay in nicer places for less money than if we had gone the traditional hotel route. Plus, we were able to meet locals and get to know the cities in a more authentic way.
- Google Docs. We used Google Docs to store all of our documents.
- We started our master document with our custom google map, then added our itinerary for the 10 days. This document included all of our flight information, train information, etc.
- Within each city listed on the itinerary I added our accommodation reservation information, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, etc.
- Under each city I also included our top 3 things we wanted to do in each city and any coordinating information (cost, location, details, etc.)
- This would also be a great way to keep your budget as well.
- I printed all this information to bring along but just in case we lost it for some reason, having it in a google doc meant we could access it at any time via our phones or computers.
- Budget + Money Plan. Create a budget for the trip. Create a list of priorities (check priority list against Rick Steves advice for what to see and where). You will not be able to do everything. So creating a priority list will ensure that you get to do those top things and if there is room in the budget you can add a few more things in. Use a budget tracking system as you begin booking travel expenses and use throughout your trip. Make sure to set aside room in the budget for any gifts that you will want to bring back (and room in your suitcase!)
NOTE. We had planned to use a separate credit card (American Express) through Europe that we would be able to track separately from our normal expenditures that month. However, many places in Europe, especially smaller cities or towns do not take American Express (many small towns we visited only took cash.) Just be prepared for that!
Have you gone on a big travel adventure recently? Or do you travel often? What are you best resources for planning big and small adventures? Leave your favorite tips in the comments below! I would love to know!