Sometimes it can be a real struggle making some decisions. I’m not really talking little choices like BLT or chicken & stuffing sandwich for lunch – although it can be tricky sometimes! I’m thinking more along the lines of where is next for us to visit, where should we stay when we get there, what is there to do when we get there & so on.
So my first stop is always – do a bit of research! Not as boring as it sounds if you really wanna go to a place. For example, I’ve just booked a trip to Paris, and the only things I knew of where the Eiffel Tower and The Louvre. So I bought the Lonely Planet guidebook (which after much trial & error is the only series I can ever be bothered to read) and found out what else there is to do there. My favourite thing about Lonely Planet guidebooks is the list of top things to do, info on different areas of the city, and in depth info on key sights. How else would I have found out that prostitutes in Amsterdam have a union? Not sure if its me being geeky but I love a bit of background info. In the Paris guide there’s a few pages on how to best tackle The Louvre, including hints on when to go & to which entrance to avoid queues…so handy! If you have no idea on which city/country you even want to go to, well that’s even better! Whip out a map and point somewhere. Like it? Go there. Don’t like it? Point somewhere else. Or….ask people where they’ve been that they enjoyed. Chances are you’ll know of it & will have already considered going or not going there.
So the next struggle I always have is where the heck are we gonna stay?! Is there a good or bad area? Where’s easy to get to and from? So my answer? Cheat. I googled ‘map of sights in Paris’ & just tried to find somewhere in the middle(ish) of everything and close to some kind of tube/metro/u-bahn stop. One thing I always look for is that the nearest stop is on a main line or easy to get to a main train station which will link you to other places. This wasn’t much of an issue in Amsterdam or Barcelona because we were so central we walked everywhere. Berlin was another story – you might be able to walk everywhere, but, as in London, it’ll take you FOREVER and you won’t have energy to look around whenever you get where you’re going.
So after I’ve looked for a central ish location, a nice hotel that won’t break the bank and good transport links, the next decision to make is….when. As you probably already know, flexibility is key to saving pennies. Always look at different dates for your flights and hotel to see if it’d be cheaper to go a week before or after, even a day either way can be cheaper!
Another good thing about Lonely Planet guides is that they give you an idea of things to do in advance, like buying tickets or discount passes. Sometimes you have to spend to save! I’m currently contemplating the museum pass for Paris. It’s quite pricey, but if it’s going to save some pennies then surely it’s worth it? Still can’t decide. There’s just too many choices!
Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I don’t think I’ll be having to go through all of this again in the next few months. My boyfriend and I have made the decision to save like squirrels (with their nuts…you know…for the winter) so we’ll finally be able to go travelling! I’m pretty sure we won’t last long and we’ll be booking something before the summer comes, but good intentions and whatnot.
Before I have to worry about any of that…I still have Paris to look forward tooooo! Can’t wait to pile on the pounds trying all of the yummy cakes and bread I’ve heard so much about!!
Happy travel planning peeps!!