From Sitting & Wishing to Researching & Going

While dreaming about your next vacation is easy, to be able to actually pull all the strings together and execute an excellent itinerary is a different ball game. My best friend and I have shortlisted a country for our first trip to Europe together. Where and when isn’t important, but what is – and in the midst of researching I realised that planning a trip is a gigantic task: it’s like removing that big rock from the end of the tunnel in order to discover what lies ahead.

I am still in the process of researching as I write this and I think I must share my thoughts with whoever is reading this post. In my previous post I’d talked about whether or not it is important to do some research before you pack your bags and leave. And I realised that going unprepared can be no less than a thriller movie, yet I would definitely need some amount of information before I set my foot on a foreign land. My friends believe I am Type A, and even though I mostly differ with them I cannot not agree when it comes to planning a trip.

The amount of information available at the click of a button is mindboggling and intimidating, to say the least. And it is quite natural for anyone to be lost in the web of the wide world. Many of us don’t want to come back from a “well-planned” trip with a constant fear of missing out on the “must see” places. And since there is no easy way out (other than finding yourself an excellent tour planner, of course), you have to enter the labyrinth and tactfully find your way out (without losing hope).

We began by zeroing down on the place we want to visit, and these three factors helped us select our destination:

  1. Its connectivity from your country – flights, trains, layovers, etc. – Skyscanner and Eurorail is what we are looking at to book our tickets.
  2. How expensive would it be – the cost of living, restaurant costs, travel cost – websites such as Fareness and Numbeo can come handy.
  3. Choosing the right dates – you wouldn’t want to reach a place on a national holiday, unless you are looking for solitude – a website I came to trust for Europe-centric destinations is Public Holidays.

And just when I thought, “Phew! Huge load off my shoulder” came the “wheres and whats”. Here’s how we decided: Both of us made a list of things we want to do – taking walking tours, visiting museums, wine tasting, and breathing history in each activity we undertake. It is very important to have a partner who wants to do different things from you but is equally enthused about the activities you are interested in. Hence, making the list was a breeze for us.

Once your “to-do” list is ready the simplest way to pick the right location for that much-awaited vacation is (no points for guessing) … Google! It not only suggests various sites for you to refer to but it also handpicks destinations for you – highlighting the activities that may interest you, and revealing a few important details that the city is famous for – thereby making “places to visit” a no sweat affair.

Currently, we’ve got 25 cities on our list and we’ll soon be shortlisting at least 10. What will come handy, for us to decide what will make it to the final list, are the places we are going to stay in. AirBnB and CouchSurfing are the two websites we are banking on.

I hope I was able to help all you confused souls like myself, because a lot of people must be getting bogged down by that ocean of information accessible on the Internet.

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