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So you’ve decided to go on a trip. There’s a lot you will have to take care of to avoid unpleasant surprises. You need to build an itinerary, reserve places to stay, switch to an international mobile plan, and more.
But even before you go ahead with those tasks, you can lay the groundwork with some efficient planning. Here are a few important things you should consider doing before planning a trip.
1. Block Internet Trackers
Everywhere you go online, you leave behind a digital footprint. Flight aggregators and other similar websites take advantage of this to shoot up prices based on your web activity. For instance, if you’ve been looking for tourist spots in Miami, a service like Booking.com might show you increased fares for hotels because it knows you’ll need them soon.
Therefore, it’s crucial you block these trackers so that they don’t end up influencing the prices. Getting rid of trackers will also speed up resource-intensive travel platforms such as Booking.com and Skyscanner.
To do that, simply install an extension like Ghostery in your browser and research your trip as you would normally. Ghostery will restrict websites that track you in the background. Alternatively, you can exclusively use Brave Browser for vacation planning since it comes configured with those measures by default.
Visit: Brave Browser
2. Set Up Flight Alerts
Flight prices fluctuate constantly and you have to catch them at their lowest for the best deals. Lucky for you, there are a handful of apps that can keep tabs on the routes you’re interested in. Google Flights has a facility which can notify you every time there’s a price update.
For setting it up, head over to Google Flights and search for the tickets you want to eventually book. At the top, you will see a Track Prices option. Enable it and you’re good to go.
Now, Google will automatically email you each time the fare shifts. If you’d like to turn it off, you will have to go into the Tracked Flight Alerts tab. You can access it by clicking the hamburger menu icon present at the top left corner.
3. Organize Emails With Labels
Preparing for a trip means a flood of confirmation and automated emails in your inbox. You can’t delete these straight away either since you’ll need them later. What you can do is organize them before they pile up and the easiest way is through Gmail labels.
In Gmail, you cannot group emails into various folders. Gmail uses Labels instead which helps you quickly find a particular message. You can create sub-labels as well.
Therefore, for a trip label called “Japan”, you can develop sub-categories like Flight Tickets and Hotel Reservations. Gmail’s left navigation drawer houses the Create New Label option.
4. Sign Up for a Smart Trip Planning Service
If you find scrounging for emails with labels a little cumbersome, try third-party smart itinerary apps. These services comb through your emails and sort all the essential bits in a neat interface. Some of them even arrange the bookings in a timeline enabling you to get a better sense of your journey.
Plus, you can add items such as restaurants and tourist attractions to your trips. Hence, you’ve access to everything in a single place and on the majority of platforms, you can download your trip plans for offline use.
TripIt is one such service and to build a trip, you’re required to forward emails to a custom address. Once you’ve done that, TripIt compiles them in a timeline with their timing, duration, confirmation numbers, and more.
Google also has a web app called Trips which automatically grabs all the data from your Gmail account and organizes it in the order of your trip. However, at the time of writing, its Android and iOS clients were being shut down. It can be only used on a browser.
5. Save Money for Trips
A stay at a lavish beach resort or an expensive activity like skydiving might seem out of your budget but with a bit of planning, you can save for just about anything. And you don’t have to do it yourself either. Intelligent apps like Digit take the hassle out of this process.
Digit learns from your spending habits and figures out how much you can set aside for your financial goals every month. The app takes into account your income and indispensable expenditures such as rent. It then comes up with a comfortable amount you can save and transfers it into a separate account. Digit has a free one-month trial, after which you will have to pay a monthly fee of $2.99.
6. Find Destinations Based on Your Budget
Once you’ve locked down a budget, your next job could be to find a destination that falls in that bracket. Of course, there’s a service which lets you work that out.
On a website called Wander, for instance, you can enter your departing city, total budget, dates, and it will pull up the locations that fit your wallet. Wander fetches both the airfare and accommodation tariffs for your travel dates, hence it should cover the majority of your expenses.
Want to browse destinations by other factors like the weather? The internet has you covered there too. Here are a couple of unique travel planning apps to find your next trip.
7. Figure Out the Most Optimal Means of Transit
Air travel isn’t always the most optimal means of transit. Often, reaching your destination by road or sea saves time as well as cost. To know which method suits your situation, try Rome2rio.
Rome2rio is a free discovery tool that helps you decide whether you should travel by ferry, train, flight, bus, or a car. Once you search for a trip, the website brings up comprehensive details for each available method including the costs, duration, route, and more. It also offers combinations, so you can mix and match to find the most efficient travel route.
8. Find Someone to Travel With
Solo trips can be refreshing and are quite common today. But if you’re not comfortable traveling alone or want to share the memories with someone, you can easily find a companion online.
There are a handful of communities you can explore for connecting with other travelers who are in the same position as you. On networks such as Workaway, all you need to do is post where you’re going, for how long, and a bit about what you’re looking for. Instead of creating a new entry, you can also browse the existing posts and contact the person you find the most appealing.
Plan Your Travel Like a Pro
Trip planning can be a chaotic process. But it doesn’t have to be if you take care of all the finer aspects. You can save hundreds of bucks in airfares by setting up flight alerts, rescue your inbox from the expected deluge with email labels, and solve a series of other annoying tidbits with the aforementioned tips.
Once you reach the actual itinerary stage, there are several smart apps you can use for planning your travel.