Traveling to new places is exhilarating. The mere thought that you’ll be going to places that you haven’t been before, meeting new people, and experiencing new cultures can definitely lift anyone’s spirits up. It can, however, be a bit intimidating too, especially if you don’t know anything about where you’re planning to go. That’s why it is important to do some research about your travel destination before you go—yes, even when you’re traveling with friends. This way, you’ll be better prepared, avoid unpleasant surprises, and fully experience the joys of traveling.
If you’re planning a trip, here are some of the questions you should ask yourself before going:
Where do I want to go?
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Of course, the first step is to decide where you’re going. This may sound obvious but you’d be surprised how many people actually just pack their bags and go without even thinking about what they really want to do on their vacation. So, what’s your end goal on your travels? Are you looking for an adventure? Do you just want to laze around and relax? Are you just looking to party with your friends? Or maybe you just want to do a bit of everything? Ask yourself what you really want to do on your vacay and check out first if the place you’re planning to go to offer the activities you really want to do.
Where can I find info about the place I want to visit?
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So how would you go about doing research on your travel destination? Well, with the power of the Internet at your disposal, learning about the place (from the climate to the local cuisine you should try) you’re planning to go to is just a few mouse clicks and keystrokes away. To help you get started with your research, here are some helpful sites you can look into:
- Wikipedia/Wikitravel - I know some of you might be thinking: “But, but Wikipedia isn’t reliable.” Although it’s only reasonable to doubt information coming from a crowd-sourced encyclopedia site like Wiki, you’ll be surprised that a lot of info you can get from there are pretty accurate, especially when it comes to travel destinations. Plus, you’re not going to be getting all the details from there; it’s just where you can get a general idea—like spots to go to, things to do, or the climate, etc.—of what you can expect during your trip.
- Travel blogs - Nowadays, the Internet is filled with travel blogs where you can get useful information. The best thing about these blogs is that most of them are written by travelers who have been there—meaning, you’re actually getting first-hand info about the place you’re planning to visit. Most of these blogs also contain useful details like how much it costs to go there, how much pocket money you would need, where to eat, where to stay, and what activities you should try. Furthermore, if you want to know specific details about the place, you can actually ask the blogger directly by commenting on the blog post or by emailing them. We’re pretty sure they’d be more than willing to provide you with the info you need and actually give you sound advice about traveling to your planned destination because any engagement they get would be helpful to their blog sites.
- Youtube videos - If you’re a “visual” person, meaning you’d want to see first where you’re going, then Youtube is the way to go. Yup, Youtube is also filled with useful videos—from vlogs to promotional videos—where you can actually see pretty much all the travel destinations around the globe. You can also get hundreds of tips on the how’s, who’s, where’s, and what’s of the tourist spot you’re planning to go to.
- Reddit - This is another great site to get specific info about any travel destination around the world as you can easily find forums where a lot of people can actually give you great tips and advice. You can start your own thread or you can just do a search to see if the question you want to ask has been asked before.
- Tripadvisor - Of course, how can we forget the largest travel website in the world? In this website, you can read reviews about hotels, restaurants, attractions, travel agencies, and other travel-related businesses around the world. Plus, you can actually book your hotel accommodations from this amazing travel site.
- Hashtags - If you’re on Twitter, Instagram, and/or Facebook, you can take advantage of the power of hashtags to get info about a travel destination. Typing #Boracay on Twitter and Facebook’s search bar, for instance, would instantly give you all the posts, tweets, articles, blogs, and pictures pertaining to Boracay. If you want to check out a particular destination’s picturesque views, you can look it up on Instagram using hashtags.
- Hotel official websites - Another way of getting first-hand information about a travel destination is to go directly to a hotel’s official website. Alta Vista de Boracay’s official website, for instance, is filled to the brim about Boracay, like where to eat, where to buy pasalubong, what activities to do in Boracay and other recommendations. You can also get Alta Vista de Boracay’s contact number (landline and mobile) here to be able to talk directly to its friendly hotel staff.
- Government official websites - Lastly, government official websites such as the Department of Tourism or the local province’s websites are also reliable sources of information about a travel destination. Here you’d know when’s the best time of the year to go, how to get there, what climate you can expect, what activities to try out, and a lot more. You can also get news about particular festivals and other events the province has to offer.
Will I be traveling alone or with a group?
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Knowing if you’re going to be traveling alone or if you’ll be going with your friends can help you plan your trip better. For instance, you’ll be able to prepare how much money you’ll need for the transportation, accommodation, food, activities, etc. when you go alone versus when you travel with friends who can share the expenses with you. This will also help you map out the activities you’d want to do with or without a group.
How much money would I need?
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Will you be traveling on a tight budget or are you planning to go all out? Whatever your plan is, make sure that your finances are in order. This way, you’d know how much you’ll be carrying with you and how much you’re going to be spending on transportation, accommodation, food, activities, etc. Also, it’s best to prepare some extra cash just in case.
What do I need to bring?
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Most will probably tell you to “travel light,” especially if this is your first time going to a certain travel destination. However, you also wouldn’t want to get caught in a situation where you’d need an extra pair of shorts and you don’t have one. So make sure to plan ahead and bring everything you’d need.
How do I get there?
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As earlier mentioned, everything you need to know traveling to a place is on the Internet—and this includes how you can get there and how you can go back home. Book and note all the transportation details online beforehand. This way, you wouldn’t have to think about how to get to and from your destination and you’d be able to enjoy your travels more.
Where should I stay?
Photo from Alta Vista de Boracay Official Website
Aside from transportation, it’s best to book an accommodation for the duration of your trip. This will help you manage your overall expenses, not to mention that you wouldn’t have to worry about where to stay once you get to your destination.
How long will I be gone?
Before going on a trip, you also would have to think about what you’ll be leaving behind. If you have a dog or if you’ll be leaving an important project in the office, for instance, make sure that you have someone trustworthy enough to take care of them while you’re gone.
Learning how to be a smart traveler doesn’t take much. Getting info on the destination you’re planning to visit is definitely made easier nowadays with the power of the Internet at your fingertips. You just have to know where and how to look. And the great thing about it is that you can do it via your laptop or even on your mobile phone while you’re just lazing around on your bed on a Sunday afternoon.