Wednesday, October 2, 2013

travel research:

It has certainly being quiet around here! I have been a bit busy working on some other little projects, but have no fear all will back to normal in the next two weeks.
You may recall I briefly mentioned in my last post about the next trip coming up. Well I'm leaving this Friday evening and am so excited! For those who just tuned in, my sister and I are taking our mother on a surprise trip to celebrate her 50th birthday. We have given her a packing list, and will not reveal our destination until we are at the airport. I'll blog about the trip on my return, but you can find out we will head and see plenty of snaps via instagram.

Back to the post!

A few weeks ago, reader Camilla requested I share a little on how we go about researching and planning our trips. It's a great questions and something I'd love to share!


Researching future travel plans is one of my favourite things to do, ever, whether it be for an upcoming trip or just general inspiration for trip ideas. The goal for me is to, firstly, make the most of where we are and find all the best possible things to do, see, eat and experience. And secondly, find places that are beautiful, a little bit different and unique. 
Often our time is limited at a destination, and I feel it is important to be aware of what our options are before arriving in order to hit the ground running. By no means am I into locking in and planning every single detail. No way. It's about striking a balance, as it's good to leave things open to spontaneity - and often these are our most treasured memories.
So do keep your options open, but be equipped with a list of things you really want to do, experience and eat! (life's too short to eat bad food!)

To find the information I am after I use a variety of sources, some of which are quite common, but still very useful.

our collection of LP guides

Lonely Planet - I'll start with the most obvious one. I love buying a hardcopy LP guide for an upcoming trip. It gives you a really good overview on where you are going, the history, customs, maps and what to see. I never use it as be all and end all guide, but it definitely is a place to start when researching.

Magazines - Lifestyle magazines and these sort of sections in newspapers are another great source. It's these types of publications that highlight a destination that I may not have thought of or that may show another angle, with lots of good food, shopping and cultural recommendations. Many places we have visited have been found in these sort of publications, and there are many more filed away in my mind for any future trips. A couple of examples include our boat trip in the Philippines, which I read about in a newspaper, and all of the amazing eateries and shops we visited in Beirut, which were found in Vogue Living magazine.

A story on Tawlet, Beirut featured in Vogue Living. wrttien by David Prior, photos by Pablo Zamora

Forums - Both Thorn Tree and Tripadvisor forums are goldmines full of information. Especially when it comes to itineraries, and what is actually feasible in a set amount of time. I also use the search function for tracking down uncrowded beaches, interesting markets and all sorts of other random things. It's definitely worth trawlling through both of these sources if you have a bit of time.

Blogs - There are so many incredible blogs that are full or travel inspiration. Checking your favourites regularly will fill you with lots of ideas of places to visit and hints and tips for specific things to check out. A few of my favourites include The Goodwin ProjectMr and Mrs GlobetrotMy Suitcase Heart and Wayfare

People - While travelling, talking to fellow travellers and  locals is always a good way to seek the information youe are after. If we're after somewhere good to eat, we will always ask a local where their favourite restaurant, cafe or bar is. We have never been disappointed. 

TripadvisorWe usually book our accommodation ahead depending on the length of our trip, or if it's a really popular place to stay. If we are on a fairly short trip one and trying make the most of it, we'll book our accommodation prior to arriving. However, on our bigger trip in 2011 we were more flexible. So far, every booking I have made due to a Tripadvisor review has lived up to my expectations, and it's a source I use regularly for accommodation options. How do I know if it's a dodgie review? Usually if the reviewer has only contributed one review, I disregard it. I'll add, too, that there can be some very useful tips when looking at the restaurant, attractions and shopping areas of Tripadvisor too.

Friends + Family: you can never beat first hand recommendations. If we know someone who has been where we intend to visit, they are our first port of call for ideas.

To conclude it's all about balance. Being equipped with research but not over planning will ensure you will make the most of your destination, whilst being open to spontaneous moments and exciting finds. Using a variety of sources when will ensure most angles are covered and you'll have some well rounded research up your sleeve.

Happy planning!


  1. thanks for the link! i am with you, trip planning is THE BEST.

  2. also, i recently came across this site which made me excited for our summer travels -

  3. Terrific advice and loving those links!! Thanks x

  4. I think the author has made the blog after traveling in the whole world it is providing so big information in very less words the world travel guide it can be said as world travel guide also.


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