How I Plan for Travels
I've been travelling quite a bit after I finished working in mid-August and on the weekends in between so thought I'd share with you how I plan my trips. Honestly, it really depends on where I'm going, if I know the city well or have no idea what to expect. So for example, if I'm planning to go somewhere like Marrakech, it really wouldn't take me too long to plan what I want to do as I have a pretty firm idea of the city now. But, if I were to go somewhere like Cinque Terre, I'd want to do a bit of research before getting on the flight. I also don't create a very scheduled itinerary for all my travels, I like to jot down a few restaurants, shops, and places to see and try to fit it in according to how I feel/availability when I'm actually there. Obviously with booked-out restaurants I try to call ahead and same with museums and sights, I try to book tickets online.
With all that being said, let's dive straight into this post, shall we? (appropriate pool picture below) Just a side note: all these photos were taken by me and Ashley when we went to Bali last.
For flights, I normally check Skyscanner for cheap flights but usually I'll travel from either London or Seoul so if I'm going around Europe from London, I'll use British Airways/Easyjet and if I'm going anywhere in Asia from Seoul, I'll use Korean Airlines. I try to use those airlines when I can, mostly because I'm a creature of habit but also because it's easier to stock up on miles that way. If you don't have an airline you're loyal to then I definitely recommend Skyscanner. It's really easy to use, especially because you can filter according to departure/arrival time, price, and stop-overs.
Where to Stay
For hotels and villas, some of my favourite places to look at options are Mr & Mrs Smith, the Luxenomad, Secret Escapes, and the Five Star Alliance. I have to admit that I'm guilty of browsing these sites during my free time, thinking about my next adventure... Before booking a room/villa though, I think it's always important to have a firm grasp on your priorities. I'm going to Bali tomorrow so if I were to take that trip as an example, my top three priorities for one of our villas were distance to the centre, private pool, and service. I feel like I'm stating the obvious, but this is important - once you know what you want from a hotel/villa, it's much easier to search according to your needs.
For longer holidays, unless we're renting a house, I like to move around a bit and stay in different areas, at different hotels. Using my upcoming trip to Bali as an example again, we're staying in two different villas to experience two distinct areas of Bali.
Where to Eat / Shop / Do
For activities and restaurants, I have a few sources I look at. First things first (I'm the realest), I google what to do in ___ and jot down the un-missable sights. VERY touristy but a must I think. For example, you can't go to Paris, without seeing the Eiffel Tower, right?
Second, I look at magazines and blogs online. My favourites include:
Conde Nast Traveller: a classic! They have a HUGE range of city guides available on their website, all divided according to where to stay, where to eat, and all that good stuff. On a related note, Vogue UK's travel guides are great too.
Cereal: I love this curated guide. They have a couple of physical guides but also have some city guides online. If there's a city on there that you're going to, definitely make use of it!
Trotter: Trotter is one of my favourites that I discovered through Instagram. There are four city guides on there: London, NYC, Paris, and Portland and they are all really beautifully curated with stunning photos and descriptions. I really love how the different city guides feature things that are distinct to that specific place. For example, the Paris guide has a section on best macarons and must try sweets - think this attention to detail is amazing.
12hrs: I really really love the concept behind this online guide. It basically guides you through a city in 12 hours, so assuming you only have 12 hours to spend in one city, it picks out all the must dos/sees/shops for you. They also have a blog section where they post individual places within a city but I like checking 12hrs if I'm stuck for time and want to see the essentials.
Suitcase: This has recently become a favourite of mine (I say recently but probably for like a year or so?) I admire how Serena Guen founded the magazine - I really think it's amazing and love how Suitcase combines fashion and travel into one magazine. They have five online city guides: London, Paris, NYC, Barcelona, and Rio de Janeiro but my favourite section is the "insider guide" posts where someone from a specific city lets the readers know of their favourite places. I also love the what to pack section - it's just so aesthetically pleasing!
Third, I mentioned several travel blogs that I love above, but inspiration and ideas can come not just from dedicated travel blogs but also from other fashion and lifestyle blogs. Ones I love are: The Blonde Salad, Five Five Fabulous, and Inthefrow.
Fourth, it doesn't just have to be blogs - looking at instagram is also great. Sometimes if I already have a few ideas on where I want to visit on my trip, I just search that name on the location section of instagram and (not to be creepy) stalk the popular images and the profile of the person who posted that image. Most of the time, the account holder will have several other photos from the same country with places you could add to your list.
Fifth, I'm not a huge lover of paper guidebooks for cities as I think these go out of date pretty quickly or just contain too much for you to really absorb but like I mentioned above, I really love the Cereal guides. Wallpaper guides are great too. When I can, I also try to look out for individual city guides made by influencers. For my Bali trip, the Lost Guides have been especially useful.
Sixth and lastly, I always ask friends and family for recommendations. I am lucky enough to have friends and family who are travel lovers like me and 9 times out of 10, someone would have travelled to a new city I'm planning to go to. I also like to ask on Instagram for tips and that's a great way to connect with other travel bloggers on that platform. Recently, before going to Copenhagen, I posted on Instagram and asked for recommendations and Morgan from 2 Blue Passports actually emailed me a HUGE list of places and restaurants which I really really appreciated (thank you!!)
So that's my process of planning a trip. I hope it's helped in some way and let me know if there are any tips that I could incorporate into my next planning stage or if you have any questions. Don't forget to follow me on Bloglovin to keep up to date with nnyley! The next few posts will probably be very travel heavy as I still have my cruise one to upload (we went to Stockholm, Helsinki, St Petersburg, Tallinn, Berlin, and Copenhagen) and obviously, if you're not sick of me talking about it yet, a post (or several) on my birthday trip to Bali! Really hope you guys are excited for them.