You set yourself down of the couch with a laptop and coffee, surrounded by brochures and books, Google is open. You’ve seen all your friends traveling and want to try it this summer but you have no clue where to go. So you end up staring at it not knowing where to begin. I know this feeling it happened to me the first time I went to plan a trip. I think I’d been to the travel agents and gathered up a load of free brochures to flick through on the way home.
But where do you begin? Maybe you’ve only ever needed to look at the travel books after you know where you’re going or maybe you’ve never had to plan anything on your own or even look at one of the many travel websites out there.
Planning a trip is difficult enough as it is but deciding on where to go first and then what to book it through is the hardest part, the rest all falls into place (it’s all a very exciting and fun process anyway). In this post I want to tell you the websites I have used in the past, give tips on choosing where to go and which sites I have found to be the cheapest.
Sometimes travel websites appear to have amazing deals until you get further down the line and find out there’s lots of extras like: baggage isn’t included in the flight price or you have to pay to reserve a seat next to a stranger just so you can have the window. Silly little things you would assume are included just sometimes aren’t, those sneaky travel agents!
So booking flights, wow, stressful! They’re not only one of the key parts of booking a trip (unless you’re planning to use a boat, car or go by foot) but they can also be the most expensive part, so let’s try and keep them cheap. My go to website is Skyscanner, I have found it always to be the cheapest for booking flights in advance. I got my return flights to New York City direct from London for the summer for about £400 (and sadly that was after the flight prices went up, they were even cheaper than that!). Plus if you’re going to NYC check out my list of free things to do in New York!
Or maybe you don’t know where you want to go, just want a cheap flight to somewhere new. Skyscanner is the answer! You can put in your location and some rough dates and then select the option of everywhere and it will list the cheapest flights for your criteria. It might bring up some places you didn’t think you could afford or somewhere you might not have heard of. See if that helps narrow down where you want to visit.
Get some discount, you’ve earned it!
If you’re a student like me you’re probably taking every bit of student discount you can get. Well now some sites actually do student discounts on flights! (I guess that’s one benefit of have a huge student loan to repay…) STA Travel do student discount and for those interested in travelling to multiple places, a route planner! They have some great deals going on at the moment especially to places like New Zealand and Bangkok, with returns for students from £319, crazy low price so check them out too!
There is TONNES of websites you can use out there for this, but the ones I keep going back to just because of their great deals and easy booking system are Booking.com, Hotels.com , Laterooms.com and Hostels.com. All of the above are great in their own individual ways and I use all four to find the cheapest deals. I always find searching for the same hotels and hostels through different websites is the best way to go in order to find the cheapest deals. This can be a bit time consuming, so try Trivago, which compares travel websites and finds the cheapest sites to book them through.
Hotels.com offers a great system where you collect nights and get your 11th night free, I’ve had a free night in central London, New York City and near Lake Tahoe. It’s really worth booking through them and earning a free night, unless they are more expensive than the others (which they usually aren’t).
Or failing all of this you can always just pop down to your local travel agents and book through them if it’s all proving a little difficult. Below I have inserted a travel itinerary for the USA which I booked and planned using excessive amounts of lonely planet books, local events and maps of the USA. See if that gives you any ideas!
Like the look of that? Well if you want any help with planning a trip and booking it, get in touch or check out my post on road trips and planning them here.
Have you got any travel booking tips you want to share? Message me or comment below and share it with us!