We all got at least once this frustration, after coming back from a trip, the feeling we have missed something we would have loved to see while traveling. Nowadays, we don’t really plan trips months in advance anymore and sometimes, it all goes so fast we barely have time to prepare anything before leaving. Here is a list of small tips which will help you to easily plan your stay, even if only a few days/hours before leaving, and to always be sure to make the most of your stay every time you travel somewhere!
Watch some movies !
It used to be my favorite sections in the first travel guides I read when I was younger. It’s always a great first eye on the country, even if it’s not the right one! You will discover the landscapes, feel the atmosphere and maybe start to spot some hidden gems. And that’s a good movie to watch in the flight!
The best example ? Out of Africa, to absolutely watch before a trip to Kenya.
Read some books
Once again, about feeling the atmosphere, learn about the country history or heritage. Many books can easily be found at the airport station, or even better, on site. In Myanmar, for example, you will easily find La Vallée de Rubis, by Joseph Kessel, or Burmese Days, by George Orwell, are two bookings anyone traveling there should absolutely read.
Another example ? Can’t you feel the cold British countryside when reading Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë, or Gomorra, by Roberto Saviano to discover the harshness and violence of the Neapolitan mafia.
Follow hashtags on Instagram
This is one trick we have started to do not so long ago, but it was definitely a great idea. On your profile, search for some hashtags and “Follow” them. The best pictures posted on the app will be displayed on your feed. It’s even better when it’s only small places or specific areas. For instance #Sweden may be too generic and you will probably not get a chance to see the whole country while you are there, but #Montmatre sounds more reasonable to discover the bohème life in Paris and find the best places where to eat.
Find information on travel blogs
And there are so many! The best part is when you find someone who seem to travel as you do, to enjoy the same things when you are away. You will rely much more on the blogger’s opinion. Once you have few favourite bloggers in mind, always remind yourself to check their archives about the destination you wish to visit. You may find some great hidden articles.
For instance, we would not go to Ireland without carefully checking John’s blog, Carpe Diem Eire and its best recommendations, or our French (and famous) favorite one for a while: Carnet de Traverse.
Check official websites
It’s never the best source, because as mentioned above, we don’t all travel the same way, but it’s a reliable source most of the time and it can be a great help once it comes to plan some trips not many people seem to have done before. Right now, for instance, we are in Sweden, and we have not find many information about the remote areas we want to visit. However, the official travel website for travel in Sweden is pretty good and complete!
Establish a to-do (to-see!) list
You don’t need to know when you will be somewhere to start planning your stay there! While reading a magazine or checking a post on Instagram, you may find this amazing post in Barcelona. However, your trip is not planned at all yet, and was not even in your mind. It does not matter! Just save it in a “to do” list called “Barcelona” for whenever you will make it there. I have started this habit about 2 years ago and I feel I am not missing anything I wanted to see! And some destinations I have already done may even seem super exciting again!
I am using Microsoft to do to handle all my travel to do list. Once it comes to planning, we already have some ideas of what we want to do or to see.
Ask your host !
How many times when you were traveling you get the best recommendations of the local area you were staying in were coming from your host ? Don’t hesitate to ask question and recommendation. If they are fond of tourism and service and passionate about their location, they will be super happy to help you plan the perfect stay. That is still the best part of Airbnb, but this is also something you can do in hotels and guesthouses, of course.
Brainstorm before you go!
Never hesitate to ask your relatives about their past trips, the best restaurants they were to, the main attractions they did, the district they prefer to stay in a city. People always love to share their experience and in most of the cases, they will be super willing to help you planning your stay.
Don’t hesitate to ping someone you know live there, even if it has been years without talking to each other. First, this person would probably be very happy you think of them to plan your stay and second, it may be the occasion to grab a beer for few hours during your stay and discover the expat life!
A great app we are usually using in France and in most of ths big cities around the World is Mapstr. You can add there all the addresses you want to try, your favourite ones and add comments on it. Your map is then accessible to all your friends. Whenever you are lost in Paris and not sure where to eat because of the many options, check the map and find the closest recommendations from your friends!
For more travel tips, you can check our favourite apps while traveling!
Let us know if you have any other tips or recommendations we could use to plan our next trip.