Wednesday, 10 April 2013
"To journey is better than to arrive"
A quote by Robert Louis Stevenson...do you agree with it? One of my great loves is to travel around. I have never yet been brave enough to "go travelling" but every year I try and save some time and money to go on a jaunt or two. I love the anticipation and the deliberating over where to go, when, where to stay? I know some people actually find the arranging part quite fraught and a friend of mine posted on Facebook a few weeks ago that she was struggling to find a hotel for a trip to London. This is totally my bag!
I sat down at my computer, got my brain into the zone and began to search for her. After about 10 minutes I had narrowed down a selection and messaged her with my findings. Shortly she came back to me having booked one of them- a happy customer! Not only is it a great feeling to have helped a friend but the best bit is that I actually had a great time searching out the best fit for her criteria. I like the challenge and the research, which I suppose, makes me a bit of a hotel geek! My family, friends and boyfriend all say that I have a knack for picking a good hotel, so shall I let you into my secrets?
The truth is, there is no secret. I treat each search the same way- know the criteria and doing some decent research. If I am lucky enough to know my destination well, it makes life much easier. my golden rules are:
Know where you're going
Find out more about your chosen destination. Where are the points of interest? What do you want to see? Are some areas easier to stay than others due to transport links? Is the area as safe as any other to stay?
If you're like me and like books, then buy one on your destination and indulge your passion. I tend to favour Lonely Planet or Dorling Kindersly books but each to their own. If you're on a budget then scour the internet, look on forums or simply do what my friend did and ask around. Trip Advisor can be a great resource if you use your common sense and are willing to take what you read with a pinch of salt. I'll save more on this topic for another post.
This is important for a few reasons...how long are you staying for, 1 night or 1 week? What time of year are you going? This can effect the price and the desirability of your location dramatically. Do you want a jam-packed trip or are you going away to relax? You don't want to stay miles away from everything and spend precious sightseeing time travelling back and forth. If you have the time, plot your desired points of interest on the map and try and pick accommodation in the middle of them all, or nearest to a cluster to maximise your time.
Know your budget but be reasonable. You may need to make compromises or may want to sacrifice an extra night's stay if it means you can afford nicer accommodation.
So those are the main points, fairly straightforward, it just takes a bit of forethought!
Other points to consider are, who you are going with- is it a family trip or an adventure with friends? How will you and when will you book your trip? Do you need a visa? Is your accommodation just a bed for the night or does it make or break your trip?
If you find booking trips stressful then look out for my next travel post when I'll be giving you more advice on booking methods, translating brochure and website language designed to lure you in and how to get the best value for money. I'll give you a list of my favourite websites and apps too, so you can look forward to your next trip being stress free and savvy.