How to Research a Trip: Part Two of Travel Planning

Before we get going on how to research a trip, have you answered all the questions in the first part of how to plan a trip?  If you haven’t, we’ll wait for you whilst you read 6 Questions to Get Started with Planning for Travel.

Now that you have all the basic information about your travel plans we can move onto trip researching in detail.

Travel planning tips | How to research a trip | Vacation planning

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Steps to Research Your Trip

1.  Where are the Attractions

Now that you have your travel destination decided upon and what activities you would like to do there.  You need to find out where ALL these activities are located.

To research this part of your vacation start by Googling attractions at your trip destination and make a note of all the attraction locations.  Alternatively, you could grab a copy of a Lonely Planet Guide* (or similar) to research the travel attractions.  Personally, I like Lonely Planet guides as they offer plenty of travel tips at the back of the book.

Note: This is the first step in determining where you are going to stay.

Top Trip Tip:  Buying a copy of the Lonely Planet Guide* (or similar guide) of your vacation destination now is well worth it.  You will use the resources in the guidebook continually in your trip planning and during your vacation.

Step 1 in research a trip: where are the attractions

Where are the attractions?

2.  How to Get Around

Step two of determining which location you will stay during your vacation is to ascertain how are you going to get around your travel destination?

  • Is everything within walking distance?
  • Can you catch a taxi?
  • Hire a car?
  • Or is there public transport?

Look at the options, availability, ease of use and costs associated with each of these choices.

Top Trip Tip:  Public transport is a great way to save money whilst on vacation.

step to in travel planning is to research how are you getting about

How are you getting around?

3.  Narrowing Down the Location

Once you have established the activities and attraction locations that you want to visit, decided how you are going to get around, you will then be able to narrow down exactly which location you will want to stay within your travel destination.

To choose your trip accommodation location look at:

  • How easy it is to get around from
  • How close the attractions are that you wish to visit

If you find the attractions are all spread out, then choose a central location to all the attractions, yet close to your transport option.

TOP TRIP TIP: When choosing this location also consider additional amenities such as supermarkets and laundrettes.

Step 3 of vacation planning is to choose a location to stay

Choose a location to base yourself

4.  Choosing a Place to Stay

Now that you have chosen the best location to base yourself during your trip it is time to research the best accommodation that meets your needs.  Two of the questions you will have answered in getting started with travel planning is:

  1. Who is travelling with you?
  2. What type of accommodation do you all require eg. hostel, campground, self-catering, hotel, resort and star level.

The answer to these questions will help you find the best accommodation fit for you.  Start this part of your vacation planning by Googling your prefered location and type of accommodation.  The search engine will offer you individual accommodation websites and also reference articles (like this one I wrote on Family Friendly Penang Hotels) to start your research.  You can also refer to your Lonely Planet Guide* for alternative options.

Then (and this is the time-consuming part) it is a matter of reading through each accommodations website to find the best fit for your travel plans.  I like to look through the websites in this order:

  • Facilities available
  • Style of the room and amenities
  • Price and vacancy

Once all those sections have been addressed you will have a short list of accommodation possibilities.  Then read online reviews.  My suggestion is to read multiple reviews to get an overall feeling of the establishment.

Top Trip Tip: Prior to your trip accommodation research make a list of all the facilities and amenities you require eg. WiFi, restaurants, gym, kids clubs, pools, games rooms etc.

Step 4 of Trip planning is to find the best accommodation fit for your needs

Find the best fit accommodation for you

5.  How do You Get There

The final step in researching your trip planning is to organise how you are going to get to your travel destination.  First of all, are you flying, road tripping, catching a train or a ferry?

Researching a Flight

Start by visiting a flight comparison website like Webjet or Skyscanner.  Type in your dates, departure location and travel destination.  You will be provided with flight times and prices.

Decide what’s important to you:

  • Flight time
  • Inflight amenities eg food and entertainment
  • Price

Then compare these prices with the airline website and travel agents.

Planning a Road Trip

If you need to hire a car? Start with a car hire comparison site to find the best options including pickup points.  Is it close to your accommodation or airport?  Then calculate the distance you will drive to determine the cost of fuel.  Review roadmaps to create an itinerary of stops.

Booking a Train Trip

Google trains and your travel destination to find the appropriate train company.  Then refer to their website for train departure times.  If it is an overnight train do you want a seat or sleeper compartment?

Catching a Ferry

Do a search for the ferry company that services your travel destination and review times and prices available.  You may find options that include overnight ferries and this may mean making the decision between a deck chair or cabin.

TOP TRIP TIP: If catching overnight flights, trains or ferries consider:

  • Your quality of sleep
  • How you will feel on arrival at your destination
  • What you have planned to do that day.
step 5 of researching a vacation is to determine how you are getting to your destination

How are you getting to your travel destination?

The Next Step to Planning a Trip

Now it is time to book.  You can either do it yourself directly with the carrier and hotel websites, use a third-party travel booking system like Hotels Combined, or go to a trusted travel agent.  The decision is up to you and really depends on how confident you feel doing it yourself or utilising the services of a professional.


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Once you have made your booking it is time to move onto Part Three of Travel Planning: The Pre-Travel Checklist.

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Steps to research a trip and pefect your travel planning

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Sally-Ann

Hi, I’m a Perth born and bred travel tips blogger/writer with 20+ years experience in airlines, hospitality and tourism. I love sharing my travel lessons learned to help you have a better holiday with my travel tips for trips.
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10 Responses to “How to Research a Trip: Part Two of Travel Planning

  • This post is so helpful, it shows that by planning ahead you can have the best trip possible. I also enjoy the research and planning phase because ti makes the vacation start earlier and gets you more excited for it. I’m sharing this with my followers to help them with their planning! #TheWeeklyPostcard

  • I know some people who can use this. 😉 So many people we talk to start by choosing a cheap hotel, and then complain that they had to hire a car or walk forever to get to what they wanted to see! Or worse, they didn’t know what they wanted to see in the first place. On the other hand, at least they ventured out to travel! 🙂 Great tips, Sally. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • Well, at least they did do that Rob and Ann. But as you say thinking you have found the best and cheapest hotel deal can cost you a fortune at the other end.

  • The best part of traveling and visiting a city is using its transport system to better understand how the city moves and functions. #TheWeeklyPostcard!

    • Yes, we’re huge fans of the public transport systems as well Lolo and my son gets a real kick out of it as we always use the car at home.

  • Great tips. There really is so much planning that goes into a successful trip. Where you stay definitely plays a big part in that. #TheWeeklyPostcard.

  • I’m very much a Lonely Planet kind of person as well! I love how the writers display an in-depth knowledge of the area they’re covering, and it’s a great way to learn about some lesser-known places of interest because they just cover so MUCH. The maps are very helpful too! I’ve taken to downloading soft copies on my phone which is so much easier to refer to when on the go 🙂

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