For some time, I have been on the move. I always want to go on a trip, whether by plane or by car, to visit a city or just to get some fresh air. This is how I plan my trips.
Some of my travels
Let’s start this article on planning a trip with some links to destinations that I’ve shared with you:
- My “projectSFO” series, about San Francisco
- The video of my trip to Amsterdam
- The last weekend in Brussels
It might give you some ideas for your future wanderings (which is a word we don’t use enough I think).
A journey begins with Google Flights
The first step in planning a trip starts with finding a good flight. Of course, this only works if you go to your destination by plane…
I’ve used Kayak, SkyScanner and other flight comparison sites for a long time, but I finally fell in love with Google Flights. The simplicity of the search, the power of it, the ergonomics allowing you to add a flight to your price trend monitoring… it’s all there, and it’s pure happiness.
I regret that this site does not have a mobile application, to be able to easily follow the status of my flights, or simply look for new ones when I am not near a computer.
When choosing a destination, you can simply ask Google Flights to find prices for a stay of X days, and browse the pages to see the prices update in real time. It’s stunning!
I realize that I spend a lot of time window shopping on Google Flights, to compare flights, destinations, periods. We are clearly caught up in the game. But once you like a destination, it remains to know what to do there…
The hotel, with Booking.com
Once the flight prices are known, it remains to be seen how much will accommodation cost on site. It’s fine to have a 30 EUR flight, but if each night there is in 3 figures, it will not necessarily be a budget stay.
Here, no alternative in my opinion: it’s booking.com, directly. It’s fast, simple, there are a multitude of criteria, and I’ll be surprised if you don’t already know this site. If however it was the case, you will earn 15 EUR by going through the link above.
Google Trips as a base
Google Trips was only available as a mobile app, which was very convenient for travel. But last week, Google merged Trips and Flights into a bigger sectionaptly named “Google Travel”.
(EDIT: Google announces to stop Google Trips, the tools being present in Google Travel and Google Maps)
From here you can quickly see what’s popular in the city you’re visiting. Google Trips will show you photos, articles related to your destination, typical days of activities.
It’s pretty well done, and it evolves very quickly; the app was really limited last year, and is much more interesting if you are planning a trip today.
The tool is interesting, but today, I only use it in an approach phase, to find out what might be interesting to do, to get an idea of the size of the city, the trips, etc. .
But as I am someone who considers food to be an important part of discovering a country, I also use Foursquare City Guide.
Foursquare City Guide to Go Further
Foursquare, renamed “City Guide”, suffers froman interface that has not evolved for years. However, the information collected is relevant, and gives more details on what it will be interesting to do once at destination.
At the top left of the interface, you can choose “Top Picks”, or only restaurants, or bars, or parks, etc. Foursquare ranks everything by rating, like all services, but reviews are much more honestbecause often forgotten by the “star hunters” of the communication services.
What I often forget
When planning a trip, I quite often forget to look at what events will take place on site, like a festival, concert, or party of any kind. My basic criterion is the price of the stay, then the interest of the city, and not a particular festival, which could oblige me to change my dates, and to pay more.
Everyone will be free to adapt the tools presented here to their main objective.
Anyway, I hope this article has taught you a few things. If you have other techniques, or questionsfeel free to share them in the comments.
Edit of June 16, 2019 : Google announces to stop Google Trips, the data being present in Google Maps and Google Travel.