Sunday, 28 August 2016

5 Steps to Booking Your Perfect Holiday!


Although summer is almost over, that doesn't have to be the end of holiday season. I find that its normally cheaper, and quieter to go away out of season, so I always try to book my holidays either in the spring or in the autumn (although I'd never say no to jetting away for the summer too!). There's plenty of travel planning going on my end as I've got a couple of trips in the diary for the end of this year, and am already starting to plan 2017, so it's no surprise that I'm constantly surrounded by brochures and scouring the net for the best travel deals out there. Not one to keep things to myself, I thought I'd share my top 5 tips for booking your perfect holiday, ensuring you're getting the best deal and you're fully prepared to make the most of it while you're out there - enjoy! 

1. Get Pinning!

Pinterest is like the IKEA of holiday inspo - you can find everything conveniently in one place, and you can get lost for hours in there. I love to waste my evenings lusting after dreamy holiday destinations and if you're stuck on where to go next, it's a great place to start. I'd highly recommend setting up a 'travel inspo' board on Pinterest, as you can easily pin all of the places you'd like to visit (and some you didn't even know you wanted to visit!), along with some great blog posts on what to do when you're at your dream destination! 

At the moment, my board is full to the brim with Santorini, Mykonos, Italy and Hawaii, four places I'd love to visit in 2017. With so many destinations in this world of ours, it's hard to know where to start, do I'd recommend starting out with something a bit more broad like 'summer destinations' or 'winter sun' depending on the time of year you'd like to go, or the type of trip you're looking for - you'll soon realise that you've picked a couple of favourites! 

Once you've got a list of potential destinations, then you can really start researching them in terms of cost, best times of the year to go and any particular hot spots you'd like to visit while you're out there. I'd set aside a few evenings for this though, as trust me, Pinterest is like a black hole - once you're in, you can't get out! See all of my Pinterest boards here



2. Find the best deal!

When you've just spent hours narrowing down potential destinations on Pinterest, it can sometimes be a bit of a let down when you discover that it's a hugely expensive location (this always happens to me - Santorini, why must you be so eye-wateringly expensive?). When it comes to trips away, I'm definitely a bargain hunter, I always want to find the best deal and save money where I can, and I definitely don't think I'm alone with that! After all, the more money I save on one trip, the more there is for the next! 

When booking my trips away, I always head to a comparison websites and airline websites first, as they often have some of the best deals around. I also like to spend some time researching whether booking flights and hotels separately will work out cheaper as often it does when you've got budget airlines like easyJet offering flights for as little as £20!

My favourite booking websites:

Expedia.co.uk - Expedia is a great one-stop-shop for booking your entire holiday, and the size of the company means they're able to score some of the best deals on the market (I booked my entire 5* trip to Dubai on !xpedia for under £500!).

Booking.com - Perfect for finding some great hotel deals if you're on a budget.

easyJet - One of the best sites for picking up a bargain flight, hello £20 returns!

Sky Scanner - If you're looking a little further afield, then sky scanner is a great place to compare airlines and find the best deal!

Mr & Mrs Smith - Perfect for  boutique hotels or that something special. 



3. Plan your packing!


Planning your packing may seem like an unimportant task, but jetting away only to realise you've forgotten something crucial can really dampen your mood whilst on holiday (forgetting my bikini on a holiday to Miami wasn't one of my best moments!). Do your research on where you're going in terms of weather and culture. If you're jetting off somewhere sunny, make sure you have a hat, good pair of sunglasses, comfy sandals and some suncream, and if you're off somewhere cold - remember your thermals! It's also important to research the culture of the country, for example, if you're going to the middle east, it's important you have clothing which covers your shoulders and knees, as you don't want to get into trouble while you're abroad. 

4. Pre-book excursions and plan your itinerary! 

I'm quite an organised person, so whenever I'm going away, I like to research the local area and make a list of some of the places I need to visit while I'm out there. Planning my itinerary means I have don't miss any key hotspots, and also allows me to plan how I'm going to get there, how much it's going to cost, etc - however I usually like to leave a few days free for wandering around and for anything I discover while I'm out there. I love sites like Like A Local and Lonely Planet for guides and tips on how to avoid the tourist traps, the best places in the local area and general travel advice. 

5. Stock up on the essentials!


Whenever I'm shopping for my trips, I always get excited about buying the pretty beach dresses, floppy hats and glitzy sandals, but it's also important to stock up on those boring essentials. Suncream, after sun, bug repellent, plug adaptors and portable chargers are all key to making sure you have a great time on your trip. I always check out TK Maxx for these items during the summer, as they've always got great deals, and Boots will always have your back!


Bon Voyage!

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