Planning a trip takes effort. But doing a bit of research before you go can save you time.
And because time is precious (especially on short trips!), I put together a guide to show you how to research your trip. It includes tips on the best travel websites, guidebooks, and online travel communities. So you don’t miss any “must see” spots!
Here are my recommendations for planning your next trip!
How to Research a Trip
It’s important to research your trip before you go, and plan your time wisely. It’s disappointing when you don’t get to see and do everything you’d hoped!
Because even if you love to wander, you probably want the fun kind of wandering, NOT the “I want to see the Eiffel Tower but I have no idea how to use the Paris metro” kind of wandering. 😉
And even if you collect and use miles & points to get there and stay, you’ll still need to decide what to do at your destination!
Here are some excellent resources to get you started:
- Million Mile Secrets Trip Reports
- Rick Steves guidebooks (Emily likes his recommendations!)
- Lonely Planet (certain guidebooks are free for Kindle with Amazon Prime and they have an active online community)
- Google Reviews on Google Maps
- Official tourist websites
- Maps (it helps to have hard copies or to download maps before you go, so you can use them offline!)
- Social media (you can ask folks on Facebook for recommendations)
What We Use to Plan Our Adventures
Our Trip Reports are useful because you’ll get first-hand accounts and reviews on the places we’ve been, like where we’ve stayed, the restaurants we visited, and more! Plus, we show you how you can use miles & points to get you there.
Sites like TripAdvisor are helpful because they have reviews from thousands of travelers all over the world! And it’s easy to search for reviews on things like attractions, hotels, and restaurants.
He also uses holiday-weather.com to check monthly temperatures, hours of sunshine, and precipitation at his destination. And searches for upcoming festivals and events wherever he’s going before he begins an adventure.
For example, there’s the International Jazz Festival and Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal each summer. If you’re into that kind of thing, planning a trip during that time of year could be worth it!
Million Mile Secrets team member Meghan uses the Lonely Planet travel guides. They offer lots of budget-friendly options, and even provide a short history of each destination.
She also likes the easy-to-read maps that come in the guides, even for some small and remote towns!
That said, when she and her husband drove through the UK, they turned to technology and bought a Garmin GPS unit to help navigate. She claims it’s one of the best travel purchases she has ever made!
It helped them easily navigate the hectic streets of London, and kept them from getting lost amongst miles of farmland in Scotland. It was a
And don’t forget to check-out my review of Maps.me, the best offline map app! I used it to navigate in Djibouti during my trip to East Africa.
Plus, you can always ask your friends for suggestions on what to see and do, and what to skip! Just because a particular tourist spot is popular doesn’t mean it’s worth the hype. Lots of folks use Facebook and social media for recommendations.
If all else fails, remember to just start walking. 🙂
Researching a destination before you go can save you lots of time. Every hour is precious when you’re on vacation!
But you can use guidebooks, travel websites, maps, and apps, to help you plan the perfect trip. So you don’t miss any important stops along the way.
What tools do you use to research your trips?