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Planning & Travel Tips

The planning and travel tips section includes posts that will help you plan your vacation. These posts have information about choosing hotels, getting around, logistics, budgeting, travel fears, and many more tips to help you plan the best trip possible. The information here will answer your questions about how to put your trip together and simplify things for you.

Travel planning tips and inspiration

There are a lot of details that go into planning a trip, and I understand that it can be overwhelming for a first-time traveler.

Read through the following posts to learn how to plan a trip in an organized way, find a new way to travel, and get inspired to take your next – or your first – exciting trip.

23 Ways to Travel With a Purpose: Bored of taking the same type of trip? There are tons of ways to travel. Get inspired!

7 Simple Steps to Research and Plan a Trip: Planning your vacation can be overwhelming, but we’ve broken everything down into a step-by-step process to help simplify things for you.

What Kind of Traveler Are You?: You might be traveling in a way that doesn’t suit your style or personality or interests. Learn how to look at what works for you in life and how that can translate into the perfect trip.

New Traveler Gift Guide: Check out our recommendations for holiday gifts for the new traveler in your life…or for yourself!

Europe is Bigger Than You Think: Many people try to pack in several countries on a trip to Europe, but the continent is rather large. Get a sense of the distances so you can plan a more realistic – and FUN – vacation!

Understanding the Schengen Zone: Many countries in Europe are part of the Schengen Zone, and this affects how long you’re allowed to be there, how border crossings are handled, and more.

Travel Slow and See More: When you travel too quickly, you don’t really get to see much in each place. It can also be exhausting, which means you might not even enjoy your trip.

Maximize Your Vacation Days: Learn how you can stretch that two weeks of vacation into several trips a year.

travel planning tips

Choosing accommodations

Finding a place to stay is one of the biggest, and often most frustrating, parts of planning your vacation. The posts in this section will help you sort through lodging and accommodation options and pick the best place to stay. While hotels are the most common, don’t overlook apartment rentals and hostels, depending on your travel style and destination. Follow these tips, and you’ll be on your way to a comfortable vacation.

How to Choose the Right Hotel for You: Everyone is different, so we all have different priorities. Read this post to learn how to pick a hotel that suits you and your needs.

How to Read Hotel Reviews: Let’s be real, reading hotel reviews kind of sucks. But if you know how to approach it, you can filter out the comments that don’t apply to you and make a better decision about whether you want to book the hotel.

What is it Really Like to Stay in a Hostel?: Whether you’re 19 or 79, hostels can be a great choice for many situations. See what it’s really like, and give it a try.

tips for choosing accommodations

Getting around

Planning transportation for your trip involves more than just booking a flight. There are a lot of pieces, and they can greatly affect how stressful your vacation is and how much time you have on the ground to explore the destinations you want to visit. The posts in this section will help you evaluate your transport options, choose the right ones, and reduce your stress.

How to Save $500+ on Your Next International Flight: This could be the key to saving lots of money on international flights, especially if you can be a little flexible.

Losing Time in Transit: Visiting too many different destinations on one vacation can lead to too much time on planes, trains, and buses. Wouldn’t you rather spend that time exploring the city, eating the food, soaking up the culture?

So You Think You Want to Rent a Car: In the US, people drive almost everywhere, so it’s common to rent a car when traveling to another city. But this might not be the best option when traveling to Europe. Find out why before you book a car rental for your next European vacation.

How to Fight Jet Lag: Jet lag can really eat into your vacation. Here are some tips to help reduce the effects of jet lag and get on the right time zone quicker.

How to Get Through the Security Line Efficiently: Don’t be that person holding up the rest of the line. Learn what to do to get through the security checkpoint with as little hassle as possible.

Also check out the layovers and stopovers category.

tips for getting around, transportation, and logistics

Budgeting and saving

Money is an unfortunate necessity, especially when it comes to travel. It becomes a big factor in where and how you travel, so it’s important to plan wisely. This section covers money issues like saving for travel and dealing with money on the road.

How to Make a Travel Budget: Making a travel budget is an important part of travel planning, and it can help you determine how much you need to save, which destinations fit, and where you can splurge.

Important Travel Documents to Bring on Your Trip: Unfortunately there can be a lot of paperwork involved with your trip. It’s not just your passport though. Check out these other documents you might need to bring along.

saving money and budgeting for travel

Travel fears

I understand that travel can be scary, especially if you’re a first time traveler. I’ve been there! I want to encourage you to travel despite your fears. I hope to help you see how wonderful travel can be – it crushes fears and makes you a stronger person. Topics like solo travel, safety, language barriers, and other things that might be keeping you from booking that trip are addressed here.

Are You Afraid to Travel Alone? Benefits of Solo Travel: Don’t let that fear stand in the way of taking a trip, even when you don’t have a travel partner. Here’s why you should give solo travel a try.

Taking Your First Solo Trip: If you’ve never traveled by yourself before, it can be intimidating. Here’s everything you need to know about your first solo trip.

Can You Drink the Water?: Often people think only the water where they live is safe. But this isn’t true! Learn where it’s safe – and where it isn’t – to drink the water, and how to find out before you travel.

Is a Fear of Getting Sick While Traveling Holding You Back?: No one wants to be sick, especially when they’re away from home. Here’s how to prepare for it in case it happens to you, and what you should do if you get sick while traveling.

What If You Don’t Speak the Language?: Dealing with a language barrier in another country can be frustrating, but it can also be fun. After years of traveling, these are the tactics we use to work around the fact that we often don’t speak the language in the country where we’re traveling.

Is Traveling Safe?: The media makes it seem like the world is a scary, dangerous place. But much of the world is just as safe – if not safer – than home. Here’s how to figure out if your fear is just in your head or if there’s a legitimate reason to avoid a specific place.

tips for overcoming travel fears

Tips for taking tours

Not all tours are created equal. Beyond that, different destinations call for different ways of traveling. There are definitely some places and experiences that are much better when organized as a tour. Here is a set of posts on how to decide if a tour is right for you and how to pick one.

When is it Worth Booking a Tour?: Tours can be a great way to travel, but they’re not all created the same. Learn how to determine if you should book a tour or do it on your own.

Advantages of Taking a Tour: There can be some real benefits to taking a tour, even if you’ve shunned them in the past. It just might make your vacation more enjoyable.

Disadvantages of Taking a Tour: But there are some drawbacks too. Weigh the pros and cons to determine what works with your needs.

Tours – Which One is Right for You?: We’re all different, so our needs for travel can vary too. In some cases, taking a tour is the right answer, but sometimes it isn’t. Learn how to figure out which tour will be a good fit.

Traveling with Day Trips: Having a base and taking day trips can feel less stressful than constantly moving cities and changing hotels. Read about why we love traveling this way, and why you should do it too.

How to Plan Your Own Day Trip: Often there are tours you can book that take you on a day trip to somewhere outside the city you’re visiting. And while this can be a great option, sometimes you’d rather do it on your own. Here’s what you need to know.

What to Pack for a Day Trip: Here are our recommendations for what to bring along when you go on a day trip.

Alternative Vacation: Signing Up for a Language Program: Participating in a Spanish language immersion program was an unusual way to spend a vacation, but it was an amazing experience. Read about how it went and why you might want to consider something similar for your next trip.

Can you take a food tour with allergies or dietary restrictions?: Food tours are one of my favorite ways to learn about a culture, but I have some dietary restrictions. Don’t let this stop you from booking the tour. Learn how to manage your dietary restrictions and food allergies and hopefully still have a fun time.

Food Tours: the Perfect Way to Explore a City: Here’s why we think food tours are fantastic, and why we feel so strongly that you should book them when you travel.

How to prepare for a food tour: Food tours aren’t the same as regular walking tours. Here’s everything you should know ahead of time.

How to Pick the Perfect Food Tour: We’ve taken dozens and dozens of food tours over the years. Check out our advice for choosing the right one.

Why Group Size Matters on a Food Tour: The number of people on your food tour will have a big impact on how much you enjoy it. Read our advice before booking one.

What to Expect on a Food Tour: If you’ve never taken a food tour, you might not know what to expect. Here’s everything you need to know.

Also check out the itineraries and tours category for info about specific destinations and tour reviews.

tips about taking tours

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Ali Garland author box detailsAli Garland is a travel packing expert who loves to explore the world. She has 20 years of experience traveling with only carry on bags. On Travel Made Simple, she shares her best tips for packing less, dealing with layovers, and more tips that will help you have the best vacation. Originally from the US, she now lives in Berlin with her husband and their Yorkie. Read more about Ali here.

Ali Garland author box details
Ali Garland is a travel packing expert who loves to explore the world. She has 20 years of experience traveling with only carry on bags. On Travel Made Simple, she shares her best tips for packing less, dealing with layovers, and more tips that will help you have the best vacation. Originally from the US, she now lives in Berlin with her husband and their Yorkie. Read more about Ali here.