Travel

Travel Planning Tips That Will Save You Time, Stress and Money

06.30.17

Travel planning tools to save you time stress and money - Jessica Rose Williams

Travel planning can be really stressful and time consuming. I like to travel a lot so I’ve experienced this first hand, but I love planning. I’m a natural planner and researcher; both these things come easy to me. I’d go as far as to say research is my favourite form of procrastination, especially when it comes to holidays (vacation for my American friends). It’s overwhelming how many options there are. Trawling through endless websites, blogs and comparison sites can put your head in a spin. I’ve understandably heard people say they need a holiday just to get over the stress of planning it. With that in mind, I wanted to share my favourite tips and tools for planning travel with you.

Time

If you take just one thing away from this blog post let it be this; plan ahead. In my experience cheap last minute deals do not exist and searching for them is a sure way to drive yourself insane. Long haul flights are typically cheapest 12 weeks before and I find short haul only ever get more expensive. If you know you’re travelling at peak time, always book far ahead. Avoid booking flights at the weekend as this is when they’re most expensive. On the subject of time, don’t be afraid to travel in the off peak season or shoulder season (usually May / October) of the destination you’re going to, that’s when the best deals are.

Pinterest

It’s not just for pretty pictures and recipes, it’s an amazing visual search engine and shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s jam packed with travel guides, inspirational photography for ideas and travel blog posts. I find myself using Pinterest instead of Google more and more lately. Create a board for your destination of choice and just search as normal. I find it invaluable as a source of information and inspiration. You can follow me and my travel boards here.

Trip Advisor

An old favourite but still key to any research. My advice here is not to take the reviews as gospel truth, consider the people leaving the reviews. You can filter couple, family etc to make them more relevant to you. I would find your hotel of choice elsewhere and then use Tripadvisor as a final check to reassure yourself you won’t be coming home with food poisoning. Their price comparison for hotels is an added bonus.

iEscape

I can’t praise this website enough. As an introvert, I enjoy staying in quiet hotels where I don’t feel overwhelmed by too many people around me. iEscape specialise in small boutique hotels around the world, most of which they have actually visited. Their reviews are always honest, featuring good bits and bad bits. They have great UK choices too. My favourite thing about them is they’re great at providing inspiration and recommending somewhere that fits your style and budget if you get in touch.

Travel Blogs

I love reading travel blogs but especially as part of my travel research. My favourites are The Londoner and Fashion Me Now. I feel like I can always count on them for a hotel, restaurant, place of interest recommendation or ideas of where to head next if I’m struggling. Their sites are easy to use and their photography is stunning.

Incognito

If you don’t know about this tool I may be about to freak you out. Travel companies can see when you’re on their website. Yes, big brother is definitely watching you. Even worse, if they know you’ve browsing for a particular flight they will put the price up! Switch your browser to incognito to avoid that from happening. It’s easy to do and these links will show you how to do it for Mac and PC.

TOPcashback

Firstly, be aware that cashback sites are designed to encourage you to spend more, which is clearly something I don’t encourage, but used correctly they can save you money. Lots of sites such as Expedia, Booking.com and Car Rentals offer decent cashback rates if you buy through this site. It’s always worth checking here before you buy. I was happy I’d used it when I received a £300 payout earlier this year from our Mexico trip. I use Topcashback but there are others out there.

Airline Reward Schemes

Again, you need to be careful here because they are designed to make you spend, so if you struggle to resist temptation this might not be for you. I’ve been a member of British Airways Executive Club (which is nowhere near as fancy as it sounds) for a few years now and it works really well for me. It’s free to join these schemes and you earn air miles whenever you fly with them or their partner airlines. These soon add up if you travel often and I’ve had a few free reward flights out of it. There are lots of other reward schemes out there. Think about who you fly with most and see if they have a scheme you can join. They usually let you use any flights you took in the last 6 months when you join.

If I missed any or you use something I haven’t mentioned, let me know in the comments. I’m always on the lookout for useful travel planning tips and tools that will save me time and money.

Pin this for later

Travel tips that will save you time, stress and money

SaveSave

12 comments on “Travel Planning Tips That Will Save You Time, Stress and Money”

  1. Hi Jessica this is really helpful , I always use Tripadvisor like yourself, love the honest reviews, I, a tad naughty as uptill recently didn’t really add any myself, but after our trip to Brighton in Feb I did leave a review on AirBnB ! Got to say I didn’t realise about the Incognito site, that’s extremely helpful, I’ll defo be using that! Trusted Pinterest is great for planning and following travel blogs, I also love the londener , and will check out fashion me now! We are spoilt for choice now, I think it’s easy to get a tad overwhelmed when doing research for a trip, long gone are the pop to travel agent days, it’s great for us ‘stay at home ‘ and shop online kinda people, but still great to get some valuable advice thankyou x

      1. Must admit I’ve only used it once , maybe I was lucky ? I have heard a few horror stories , think it needs tweaking a bit as it’s fairly new ,
        😊

  2. Such greats tips! I’ve never thought of using Pinterest as a research tool but that’s such a great idea. I honestly try to avoid travelling at all costs because I get so stressed out about it- but your tips might change that for me!

  3. Hi Jessica,

    I like how you broke it down. The Londonder is definitely one of my favorite blogs. Last year she shared with her audience about travel tips like Incognito, and a particular search enginge for cheaper flights.

    I realize travel planning is a headache for most.

    What I find to be the least stressful way of travel planning is to have only one plan.

    The one plan would be to book the least expensive flight to wherever that may be. Of course this only works for the person who has no destination in mind and is open to exploring new places.

    But whenever I have a destination in mind I usually look really late at night or on the first days of each month. As long as I don’t have a time or date in mind and if the fares look reasonable I book.

    Or if I am just browsing for the fun of it and I see a super deal I jump on it even if I did not have any intentions of going away on holiday.
    I then book it. And plan around my already spontaneously booked flight.

    I’ve booked multiple flights if we were “touring” what I do is look for the least expensive flight to any destination. From that destination I book the next destination and the next as long as it’s all the least expensive they are all one ways and finally book a flight home.

    I also like booking with airlines that offer great deals but I never check in baggage nor pay for meals.
    Or I love my miles. Ive been to several places thanks to the miles.
    I also look at all my airport options for the least expensive.

    Those are just some of my tips.

    I think if someone has an ideal trip then it can be stressful when wanting a perfect trip.

    1. They are all really good tips! Thanks for leaving them on here. You definitely have to book when you know the price is right. There is no point hanging around. The times I’ve waiting to contemplate and then the price has gone up, arghhh so annoying! Love what you said about trying not to have an ideal trip to make it less stressful. I can really struggle with that because I’m such a perfectionist. Working on it though.

  4. iEscapes is my jam. I always, always check it for hotels, and I agree, it gives really honest reviews. Another great one is Design Hotels (https://www.designhotels.com/), which is similar to IEscapes, but more design-led hotels. All boutique and beautiful.

    I also am a HUGE fan of both The Londoner and Lucy Williams of FMN. They are two of my favourite blogs of all time. I aim to produce travel posts as good as they do — one day, maybe. Sigh.

    All of these are wonderful tips and ones I use frequently. I actually have never thought to use a cashback site, but it’s such a good idea considering how often we book travel (8 trips this year, whoops).

    Another brilliant post! Thank you for sharing!

    Eire | http://www.wolf-and-stag.com

    1. Thanks s much Eire! I hadn’t heard of Design Hotels but it sounds like my kind of thing. Will take a look. Your travel content is fab! I love your travel posts so much. There’s nothing wrong with 8 trips a year, as long as it makes you happy.I think we will have done 7 this year. I love going away so much. So happy you enjoyed the post x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *