You booked your transportation and accommodations. Now what?
This is where the fun begins! What will you do while traveling? What should you see? Where should you eat? How much faith should you put in traveler reviews?
I tend to research things until I can’t see straight anymore. Stick with me through my planning journey, and you might pick up a useful tip or two. In part 2 of this little series, I revealed that I’m going to London this summer. With zero international travel experience, I’m learning things I never thought about when dreaming of going to London one day.
Plan things to do ahead of time.
Consider how long you’ll be at your destination, how long each activity on your MUST SEE list takes (add a 1-2 hour buffer), and how far away each activity is from your hotel or vacation rental. It doesn’t make much sense to plan two or three activities in one day that are on opposite sides of the city and back again.
IMPORTANT REMINDER: Leave time to really see where you are. Take in your surroundings and enjoy! Don’t book yourself so solid that you have to be constantly rushing from one thing to another. That will make time fly by that much faster!
Planning an itinerary ahead of time will help you use your precious time efficiently, and you won’t have to worry about figuring out what to do each day upon waking. Have a plan! See and do as much as you can. Treat it like a once-in-a-lifetime experience (it may well be). You can always move things around on the fly, but you’ll have peace of mind knowing you have a plan.
If your destination is extremely touristy, look into package deals. New York has a New York Pass. London has a London Pass. Both include bus hop-on-hop-off tours and admission to many attractions. There’s even a Dining Card available through the same place as the London Pass that I think we’ll consider. It offers up to 50% discounts and is only £15. That’s an easily recoverable price!
Will you rent a car or rely on public transportation? Package deals through Expedia save you money and can include flight + hotel or flight + hotel + car.
Renting a car isn’t necessary for cities like New York and London. The London Pass has an option of including a travel card that gives you unlimited access within central London to the world famous Underground network as well as bus services, overground trains, and the DLR.
Restaurants and Convenience Stores
Google Maps is a wonderful thing! Use it to get to know the area you’ll be staying in. I used it to figure what area I wanted to stay in, to plan an itinerary, and to note some good standby restaurants and convenience stores. It’s good to know where you can buy forgotten items or emergency needs.
may probably will be buying a small fan for the hotel room, which doesn’t have air conditioning. It didn’t occur to me to check for this amenity since most hotels in the U.S. have air conditioning. The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park is an exception. Like summers in the Rocky Mountains, evenings in London cool off. Unless the room traps heat, an open window at night (the main time we’ll be in the room) should be enough for me to sleep well. We do sleep with a fan on year-round, and my husband is very much a creature of habit. So I’m pretty sure a £10 fan that can be left behind will be on our London shopping list.
It’s time for me to focus on planning. I’m not sure what I’ll share next.