Tuesday, September 6, 2016

5 Tips To Help You Plan Your Next Trip

I know, I know - I been slipping all summer. I have tons of topics I want to blog about but finding the time these days is impossible. Before I finish my last Dubai post, I wanted to drop a quick post as I have gotten so many travel questions all summer that it's best I have a go to post to refer others to. Please believe I love to share information but what I don't enjoy is being everyone's search engine. Folks get paid for this ish. I aint getting paid. I don't think people realize when they ask for help, that I am taking time to google things that they can google on their own. I have no desire to be a travel consultant. So with that said... here's 5 Quick Tips to Help You Plan Your Next Trip.

1. Set a budget. Know how much you want to spend. Once you know how much you want to spend, you can make better choices about lodging, the types of lodging, location of lodging, etc. It helps to google costs of things in that specific city. If things (food, excursions, transportation) are super cheap then that allows you more cushion to do more. Google prices of taxis, rental cars, activities, etc. These are all things that can literally be found on the internet free of charge. There are threads where people talk about these things all day long. I made the mistake of not looking into transportation before going to Barbados and cabs literally butt-fucked us. I assumed so much based on how cheap things are in Trinidad and Jamaica. Lesson learned because that mess won't happen again.

2. Research activities. I can't tell you how many people think because i've been somewhere one time, I can give them the inside scoop on a location and tell them every single thing to do, where to go, where to eat, etc. Nah son. All I can tell you is what I did. But there's so much more to see beyond what I did. I want you to see those things. So research. Type in things like 'Top 10 Things To Do In [insert city here]" or "Must Try Foods in [insert city here]." All of this information is readily available. If you have a specific activity you're interested in doing, look up that activity. See what people said about it. Look into places that offer that activity and compare the prices. I remember how blown away I was when I looked into Skydive Dubai a little too close to my trip. For one, you had to book like light years in advance. Then you had to be under a certain BMI. Like, whet? LOL & it costs like your first born. It's all good though. It's still on my bucketlist!

Looking for places to eat? Go on yelp.com or download the app. Type in the location and sort by ratings. Voila. Yelp don't lie. People even recommend specific dishes. Looking for a hotel, go to tripadvisor.com. Look at the what the people are saying about hotels in that city and what was around their hotel. You'll also be able to view traveler pictures of the hotel, not just the fancy ones posted by the hotel. Look at the ratings and the prices for the hotel and determine where you want to be from there. Need more information? Call the hotel. Those folks have no problem sharing info with you if it will get you to book with them. The information is there and ready for you to read it.

3. Set a tentative itinerary. After researching activities, places, hotels, foods, etc., you should have a good idea of what you want to do on each day of your trip. Set a flexible itinerary that will help you try to cover all the things you want to do. This is to ensure you get the most out of your trip. For example, certain tours I wanted to do and certain museums I wanted to visit in Bogota were only ran/open on certain days during specific times. Creating an itinerary allowed me to make sure I covered everything I wanted to do while there. Have a list for must dos and a list for would like to dos. Therefore if you have time left over after your must dos, you can fit in some would like to dos. Make the most of your time so you can get the most out of that city. Day 1 - 9am - Noon: Visit Mount Kick In Ya Doors and browse local market. Noon to 2pm: Eat at Chez La Poyesha's and take some photos by the fountain. 2-4pm: Take Garden Tour in the City only offered once a week. Boom!

4. Talk to people who have visited. Nothing wrong with asking someone for their feedback as long as you've done your own personal research. Hey Sharkeisha, what was your favorite place to visit when you went to [insert city here]? Yeah? Do you have pics? How much was it? How far was it from downtown? Post on social media. Mofos love giving advice on social media. Simple. If you're staying in an airbnb (my personal favorite), ask your hosts for their top recommendations about the city.

5. Be flexible. Traveling is only expensive when you have very rigid plans that you have no desire to change. If you have the ability, instead of trying to travel on specific dates and to specific locations, go where and when the flight deal brings you. Flight deals are God's gift to travelers. The tricky things about flight deals though is you often have to travel during times when the flight deal is valid. If you just want to go somewhere, be willing to go to a location where there's a deal. Some recommended sites are theflightdeal.com and airfarewatchdog.com. Browse deals from your departing city and see what you find. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Welp, that's all I have for today. I hope this helps somebody! If you have a specific question I didn't answer, feel free to post a comment. More than likely someone else has the same question. Smooches! xoxo