TRAVEL & TIPS PART II: How to map and make the most out of your trip

LONG WA.jpg

When I travel abroad, one of my main goals is to see the most around and make sure I don’t get to waste time zig zagging back and forth the same places or running in circles.
For that I keep myself very organized before heading anywhere choosing all the spots I want to visit.
Here it is step by step on how to map your trip and make sure you get the most out of it:

STEP 1: Making a list of all spots to visit.

Well, we need a starting point so choose your location.
If I could recommend: London, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, Germany and Spain and very easy to navigate and with tons of great places to see.
Once that’s done, I start with a notepad and a pen by my side and a simple search on Pinterest.
You can choose to start with key points like:
⁺ London
⁺ Places to visit in London
⁺ Favorite London spots


Here it is an example:

Screen Shot 2019-06-20 at 5.01.24 PM.png

Open all pins and read all blog posts that you find interesting and add them name by name to a list, keep taking notes of all places you see out there. Don’t worry much about distance or if it is on the way or close to where you are. Just write down each and all places you like and make your list.
Once your list is set, we are ready for our next step: MAPPING IT OUT.

STEP 2: Mapping all your locations.

There are several ways of mapping your trip but creating a pin pointed map on Google Maps will be your best options since you get to connect the dots afterwards figuring it out what would be the best route to go.
For this, our main goal is to: VISIT SEVERAL LOCATION FROM THE CLOSEST TO THE FARTHEST WITHOUT WALKING IN CIRCLES.
For that, we will use Google Drive:

Go to NEW > MORE > GOOGLE MY MAPS

Screen Shot 2019-06-20 at 4.50.56 PM.png

1. In the search bar, start typing the first location from your notepad.
2. Click + Add to the map.
3. You will see your first pin point being added to the left side column.
4. Name your trip, it’s cute!

1.jpg

Keep repeating the same 3 first steps to add all the locations to your map.
⚠️ DO NOT forget to add your airbnb / hotel location to the pins since that will be our starting point.

STEP 3: Finding the best route.

Now that your map is all set with all the places you have found and would like to see, we will start creating a route that works best from where you are staying.
A few disclaimers here:

⚠️ You probably will notice that some locations will be super far or maybe even crossing into another country (especially if it is Europe). That’s totally ok and its totally up to you if you want to stretch that far to go see something. It’s whatever works best with your schedule.

⚠️ I tend to walk A LOT when I travel abroad. I like to go from point A to B, to C, to D and so forth walking because I believe you always get to find nice corners while looking around. In case you don’t want to walk, you can probably take public transportation or Uber.

⚠️ I also like to see A LOT in one day so I tend to start early and pack most of my days. Plan according to what fits best for you.

Here it’s the step by step of this next process:
1. Click on ADD LAYER
2. You will see an untitled layer showing up (2), name it DAY 1. That will be all the places you will include for your first day route.
3. Click on DRAW A LINE (3). A menu will drop giving options of how you want to get around. I have chosen WALK.
4. Click on your airbnb / hotel pin point (4) on the map to start since this is where we will leave from every single day.
5. Then take a look at your map and see what would be the best next step to head around your stay pin.
⚠️ I would recommend tracing your path as a circle that always takes you back closer to your stay.
6. You will see your first point being added to the left side column (6).
7. Click ADD DESTINATION (7) and repeat the process until you have routed all your points.

Here it is a photo and a quick video of each step:

2.jpg

After that, keep creating layers and grouping other locations separating them by days until all the places you want to see are traced and ready to be explored.
That’s it!

Now you have your locations mapped and that means: no wondering around wasting time and going in circles.
Once getting to your destination, pull up the map and open it with Google Maps to follow the route.

Hope you get to explore many cool places!
xx,
Vic

TRAVEL & TIPS PART I: 5 basic steps to plan a trip for less.

J + A-45 copy.jpg

Hey guys, I have decided to try blogging. For the 10th time - lol.
I started a web series called TRAVEL & TIPS where I get to share with you all the little details that takes to plan the most perfect trip abroad saving the most money. So here we go:

⋒ STEP #1 - CHOOSING DESTINATION:

First things first, we have to choose our destination & what time of the year we want to go there.
Once that’s picked, we can check basic things like what the weather and season is like for that specific time.

⋒ STEP #2 - BUYING TICKETS:

Buying the plane tickets can be the most expensive part of traveling abroad but it doesn’t have to be.
Planning ahead and always staying aware of good deals is key when it comes to saving money.

1. My very first step is checking flight prices from home airport base to the city where I want to flight to and setting up an alert through Google Flights.
2. After that, my next step is to check the same route but instead of leaving from my local airport, leaving from airport around my own state that could possibly be bigger and serve more flights.

ie: My local airport is Nashville, if I want to head to London, I would check how much that costs:

NASHVILLE - LONDON: $1343 round trip.

After that, I will check the following airports leaving to London: Atlanta, New York and Chicago.

ATLANTA - LONDON: $1189 round trip.
NEW YORK - LONDON: $534 round trip.
CHICAGO - LONDON: $989 round trip.

From these, the most affordable is NY. After that, I would check how much would cost me to get to NYC from Nashville:

NASHVILLE - NEW YORK: $213 round trip.

Overall, flying NASHVILLE - NEW YORK - LONDON would save me $596 total.

If I had to recommend something very important, never get stuck searching for flights from your local airport only. Try to check airports around you and see price options.
If the overall goal is to save money, then taking an extra quick flight somewhere else can save you tons of money.

⋒ #3 - CHOOSING WHERE TO LAND:

Sometimes we want to go to a very specific place and doesn’t matter how much you search, tickets are not that affordable. That shouldn’t be the reason why you decide to not visit that location.
The same way we chose possibly a different airport to leave from since tickets were cheaper, you can also check to land somewhere more “popular“ instead and from there, taking another flight or a train.
That is also a great excuse to add another stop to your trip and make sure you get to visit more locations choosing to spend less.

ie: Lets say I want to head to Rome, in Italy, I would do the following research:

NASHVILLE - ROME: $1685 round trip.
ATLANTA - ROME: $1423 round trip.
CHICAGO - ROME: $1412 round trip.
NEW YORK - ROME: $977 round trip.

From the options above, my best bet would be NEW YORK - ROME, but as my search on step #2 showed, I could try to get to LONDON from NYC for $534.

LONDON - ROME: $112 round trip.

Overall, If I choose to make a stop in London and from there head to Rome, I would save $331 dollars, which I could pocket that or use that money to rent an Airbnb and get to visit a second country.
Remember, when I travel, my main goal is to get the most out of it spending the least.

⋒ #4 - FINDING THE BEST PLACE TO STAY:

Choosing a place to stay can sometimes can be pricy as well, but again, it doesn’t have to be.

  • HOTELS: A lot of people choose hotels, which is great but since the prices for that are so high, I almost never check it or included it in my options.
    Also, when I travel, comfort is very important, but so is saving and considering I am spending very little time where I sleep, I don’t need a hotel.

  • HOSTELS: Some people love hostels and some people don’t. I’ve never had any issues when staying at hostels abroad but I also was not completely comfortable.

    Sharing a bathroom and a room with several people from all over the world is not that easy. Personally, I like to leave my computer around and have the freedom to shower whenever I want and not have to lock my backpack into a locker every time I leave.
    Although the price to stay a hostel is great, it’s not that far from staying at an Airbnb and having the place all by yourself. For that, I am willing to spend a couple of bucks more just so I can have the peace of mind and comfort I want.

  • AIRBNBS: I freaking loooove Airbnb! It’s incredible. If you have never been abroad but has used Airbnb before locally, your mind will be blown away by how it works wonderful out there.
    The prices are great, there are tons of options and it’s always incredible having the chance to live like a local at someone’s house.

⚠️PS: New to Airbnb? Here its a code for you to get 40$ off your first stay / sign up. ⚠️

My research for that has one simple goal: STAYING CENTRAL.
That meaning, close to tons of public transportation, restaurants and easy access to other locations I want to go.
That way you can save on transportation, time and get the most out of it.

⋒ #5 - GETTING AROUND TOWN:

If heading to Europe, public transportation is always your best option.
You will also have Uber available to move around but if our main goal is to save money and see the most, the good ol’ bus and metro will be your best friend.

My recommendation is to always have access to internet in your phone so you can have Google Maps easy whenever you need to know where to go and what buses to use

Wooooho! That’s is for part I.
I know everything was very basic but my goal is to share every little step to make sure you get the most out of it.

xxx,
Vic.

J + A-44 copy.jpg