ITINERARY PLANNING IN A BREEZE

Planning a vacation on line can be a bit overwhelming, specially if you are going for the first time to a destination. What should I see? Where should I stay? Where can I eat? How do I move around? Itinerary planning can be overwhelming.

Thanks God technology has changed our way of traveling, and organizing your online travel planning for a successful trip can be easier and more fun than you think! You can be an awesome online trip planner, too! Once you know, of course, what trip planning tool to use.

Here are the 5 Websites That I Use To Plan a Vacation Online:

Add social media to your box of vacation planning tools! I travel for the pleasure of seeing different landscapes, colors and people. And Pinterest is definitely the social media where pleasure and visuals mix in! Before I start my itinerary planning to a new destination, I create a secret board when I start pinning the pics that I like the most about that particular place. Later on, I will be reviewing them to decide what places I’d really want to see. That helps me focusing on my favorites, so I can organize my schedule and program around them. By the way, you can follow my boards here!

I like this trip planning tool for food and restaurants even more than Tripadvisor to find restaurants, because the content is created by local food experts, and they don’t only review places to eat, but they also tell you what is the specialty you need to try there. So useful to decide if you will be adventurous enough to try that place, or you rather go somewhere else!

A very pleasant way to keep up with content about the sites that you’ll be visiting. When you are planning your vacation, you can create custom magazines for Twitter or Facebook users that often create content on the area you are visiting, or follow blogs via RSS, or just flip through the many travel magazines that are already available on Flipboard. It’s also very useful to create a special magazine for your trip, where you add the content that you want to keep to review later.

This multifaceted software can also be used as a trip planning tool. I create a notebook for my trip, and label my notes with tags such as “hotels”, “restaurants”, “transportation”, or the name of the town (when I am visiting several different places in the same trip). Then it’s so easy to sort them out to consult materials, choose and make decisions.

To me, the very best vacation planner and all-favorite trip planning tool: when you are planning a vacation online you end up with lots of reservations and documents about places where you’ll be staying, flights, reservations… This free vacation planner automatically adds the bookings that you receive online to a Trip folder, where you have all your data perfectly stored and organized by date and time. It allows you to create maps if you are planning a road trip, and you can also manually upload other documents such as notes and pictures.

AND BONUS! Tripadvisor's dirty secrets

6

Tripadvisor

You might have noticed changes in the largest collection of testimonials about tourguide services, hotels, restaurants and more. I used to scan it to find out ideas for places to stay, restaurants and activities and double check ideas that I find from other sources. What many users are unaware of is that these last years Tripadvisor strategy has been moving from a candid review website to an aggressive online travel agency that is consistently hiding their famous review rankings to present first and foremost lists of products and services that are sold through them… charging a 20 to 30% commission to the providers (and that includes tour guides). 

They also recently started adding another small percentage on top of that, charged to YOU, THE BUYER since they started using their big data to establish dynamic pricing (similar to flight prices changing depending on dates or demand). So their “lowest price guarantee” only means that if you do your research and find something cheaper (and often booking directly with the tour company, or hotel, or tourist site will), they’ll refund you the difference. But what you find there isn’t the cheapest price you can get – only providers can offer the cheapest market price. 

What other trip planning tools do you use?

Marta

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