Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Trip Planning 101 Part IV: Booking Hotels/ Transportation

There are many options when it comes to transportation while traveling

This post is part of a series on planning a trip. The other posts covered choosing a location, booking airline tickets and Creating an Itinerary.

I feel like if you've been reading this far you should have at least gotten to Trip Planning 201... and yet here we are in another 101 class.....

After determining your itinerary,  you have to decided where you will stay and how long you will stay in each place. Moving hotels too often can be exhausting, so its often better to choose a 'home base' from which to explore nearby areas. Keeping that in mind, look through your itinerary and choose your overnight locations and how many nights you plan to stay in each. Below is my example from my trip to Israel and Jordan:

Once you know where and for how many night you will be staying in each place, you can start planning out transportation. This if often a case of taking into account the issues of time vs. money.  For example, a short flight might be the quickest option, but it is probably also the most expensive option. If you have a longer trip, you have the time to take a bus or train, but if your only a two week holiday, you might opt for the flight.

Some options to consider:
  • Rental Car - This is something that I never considered when I first traveling overseas. The idea of driving in a foreign country can be intimidating but depending on the number of travelers it can sometimes be the cheapest option. It also provide you with more flexibility and allows you to see more things. Make sure to check the local driving regulations/conditions as well as what parking will be like in the cities you plan to visit. 
  • Train/Bus - This is often the easiest and cheapest way to get from point A to point B. Make sure the bus/train runs the route on the day you need to make the trip. Buses and Trains don't always take you to the places you need to go and can limit your itinerary.
  • Taxi - In countries where driving yourself isn't an option you can often hire a driver for anywhere from a few hours to your entire trip. This can get very expensive depending on where you are visiting, but it is definitely one of the most convenient options. 
Consider a row boat...but you probably don't choose it as your main source of transportation
 I recommend researching all options before making a decision. Oftentimes things are more affordable than you think. Once you have chosen your modes of transportation, make sure all your plans are still feasible. If it will take you 23 hours to take a bus between two overnight stays (and its not an overnight bus) you might want to consider a stop along the way. Your plan should now look something like this:

    Now its time to book hotel or hostel rooms. As I have said before, a lot of times you don't need to do this in advance, its all personal choice. Booking hotel rooms is just a case of plotting your days in each city on a calender and then looking up those dates at your desired hotels to make a reservation.The way I typically locate hotels/hostels is by looking them up via or and cross referencing whats available with their reviews on tripadvisor.

    Once you've figured out your transportation and hotels its time to start researching what you will do in each city. Also, check out my tips on packing for more thoughts on preparing for your trip.


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