Best Travel Planning Resources

Photo by Kelsey Knight on Unsplash

You’ve made it this far in creating your dream adventure- congrats! You’ve read through the steps, you now have a handy planner, and you have identified your travel style. Next up is where the real fun begins: planning! Outlining the best travel planning resources will send you on your way to seeing this travel plan start to come to life!!!

Have no idea what I’m talking about? You can read through the 5 Easy Steps to Planning an Adventure to find out!

While the days of guidebooks and maps as a sole source of information are long gone, I will be outlining both print and online resources. You can record your ideas in the adventure planner, but by no means should you limit yourself to that small space. When I plan I create Google docs, vision boards and bookmark so many things.

Let’s get to it!

Attractions To See

Pinterest

This is the first place I start when planning any adventure. Pinterest has it all! You may think it is just a site with pretty photos, DIY ideas and more recipes than you could ever make, but there is so much more to the search engine.

When I planned my honeymoon way back in 2017 I used Pinterest to find hidden gems in touristy countries such as France and Italy. Countless times I have used it to find dog-friendly beaches and locations for road trips. It is great for just about anything travel related. Type in queries such as “*Location* travel” or “Off the beaten path *Location*” and you are sure to have hours worth of blogs to read.

My favorite part of Pinterest is the ability to quickly save “Pins” to boards and come back at a later time to actually click on the links and read the information. The more you save, the more attuned the search results will become to your interests.

Check out my Pinterest for my posts and so many other travel boards!

Google Search

There is a reason Google is the most popular search engine. The amount of information and its organization is unlike any other.

While Pinterest requires sorting through information that is all equally laid out on a results page, Google seeks to give you only the best of the best. You will find blogs and websites that Google has deemed is an authority on the topic. This equals some of the best travel planning resources!

Once you’ve found the names of attractions, towns, restaurants or accommodations through Pinterest, a Google search will send you on a deep dive. This is usually a jumping point into many of the other resources listed here, so it is a great place to start your research!

Golden sand and clear water with small waves coming to shore. Looking out in the distance you see palm trees, clouds and mountains
Without using Maui Guidebook I never would have found this beautiful beach. It is not only my favorite beach in Maui, it’s my favorite beach in the world!

Guide Books

Once you’ve committed to a destination (or destinations!) you can go out and buy a guide book that is written by someone who knows the area well. These are amazing travel planning resources, as they are designed specifically for this!

If you are looking for a generic guide book, I always prefer Fodor’s. I have used their guidebooks all over the world and find theirs to be the best. There are more photos than other guidebooks (and I’m a visual person!) and the information is laid out in a really easy way to read.

My advice with guidebooks is to get as specific and local as possible. Planning a roadtrip? Search for a guide book outlining best roads or routes in the area. Going to be doing a lot of hiking? Hiking guides offer much more detail into what a hike will look like than a general guide book would. Interested in food? A guide book with the best local eateries will serve you best.

Another great way to get print information in the form of a “guide book” is to get your hands on tourism materials. Across the US, you can visit state tourism websites to get free copies of various resources. This is something I started to utilize recently, and there is so much free information out there!

Food To Eat

Trip Advisor

Although Yelp seems to be a bit more popular in terms of finding food, I personally find Trip Advisor easier. You can browse throughout the site on your mobile device without being asked to download the app or sign in a million times!

Trip Advisor offers you a lot of selection in narrowing down what you want. Are you a vegetarian? You can add that filter. Are you looking for somewhere that delivers? There is also a filter for that. There are so many reviews and an overall rating based on all of them.

Food can really make or break a trip. There is nothing like sitting down after a long day of traveling and having amazing, local cuisine. While you may not want to plan where you are going to eat when, starting with the where will ensure you aren’t scrambling at the last minute.

Looking down a small alleyway filled with plants and signs for stores. Planning to work through small streets can be your best travel planning resource!
Tours that take you down unassuming roads and alleys can often find you the best food!

Local Walking/Foodie Tours

If you identified yourself as a foodie in the “What Kind of Traveler Are You?” quiz you may want to plan on taking a walking tour that shows you the best food a city/location has to offer!

Viator is an online agency that partners with local companies to offer tours. I have had nothing but great experiences booking (non-foodie) tours through them throughout Europe. There is even an option on the website under each location to narrow your results down to “food tours”.

Sometimes the best way to choose what food you will eat is with the direction of locals. Food is a full on sensory experience, and walking through markets or listening to stories of how a family got into the mozzarella making business (I got to watch real mozzarella being made on the Amalfi Coast!) can really add to the experience.

Places To Sleep

Airbnb

Although some people prefer hotels (and if you are one of them, I have heard that booking.com is a good travel planning resource!) I am someone who almost always stays at Airbnbs when I travel. Airbnbs offer a cheaper alternative to hotels, with the added comforts of being in a home.

Searching for the perfect place to stay through Airbnb has become an art to me over the years. I do not simply type in a location, find the first available one and book it. Because I am staying in someone’s home and that in itself is a strange concept (it took me awhile to get on board with the idea!) I really need to vet a location. I comb through reviews looking for any hint of something amiss, and peruse through all photos to make sure it is exactly what I’m looking for. Using the filters to make sure a place will be dog friendly if applicable, or baby friendly, I am almost always able to find an amazing location.

Here are some examples of amazing locations I have found:

Yukon

Italy

Finding locations to stay like this on Airbnb, a great travel resource, will ensure you have a peaceful view to the lake from your yurt

Hipcamp

One way to really slash your budget while traveling is to camp. Although this is easiest when you are traveling domestically and can bring your gear with you, the idea of glamping has made this option a whole lot easier.

Through Hipcamp you can narrow your search for glamping options to find cabins and yurts to suit your needs. Two of my favorite accommodations throughout my travels have been staying in a glamping canvas tent in Maui and in a yurt overlooking a lake in Yukon. You can really get a feel for a place when you are immersed in it, and changing up where you stay can offer a completely new perspective.

Write down your best planning resources and ideas under the headings Attractions to See, Food to Eat and Places to Sleep

This list is really just a starting point for your research into travel planning resources. This phase of planning is usually the one that lasts the longest for me: I find new activities, plan new routes, and really take my time.

The purpose of this is to really help you narrow down the details. If you started out with an idea of traveling through the Balkans in Europe, now you probably have an idea of which cities and towns you want to see, some good restaurants or types of cuisine you want to try, and some potential options for accommodations.

Once you’ve got all these ideas together, it is time to move on to the next step! Stay tuned for tips on how to create the perfect budget tailored to your comfort level!

Did you miss the first step? Identify the type of traveler you are with this handy quiz “What Kind of Traveler Are You?”

Happy planning!

Samantha,

A Truthful Traveler