I may not be able to travel anywhere right now, but I’m still planning future travels for whenever that may be. I like to thoroughly research everything before going on a trip from transport, accommodation to food, photo spots and important info. I never really had a list, just things I knew I needed to research.
I decided to take the time to organize everything better, and so ended up with a list of 115(!) things to Google before your next vacation. Some of these will apply for a domestic holiday, but my list is aimed at an international holiday (takes so long to get anywhere from Australia I only do big trips around 5 – 7 weeks to make the time / cost worthwhile) so there ends up being a lot to plan.
I have a printable version of the list (with checkboxes) and a blank checklist for you to add your own tasks – download link is at the end of this post.
More travel planning posts
- My all time favorite trip planning tool: Visit a City
- Travel Planning: 50 Things to consider when planning an itinerary
- How I use Excel to organize all my travel plans (research, itinerary, hotel, tours, bookings, packing list etc.)
- Travel Planning: How to choose a hotel (my step by step process)
- Visit a City versus Google My Maps: which is better for visually planning your travel itinerary
- 10 Methods for planning & organizing your next vacation
- How I plan and make travel photobooks (plus download my workflow printable)
- How I use Microsoft Word to plan my travel itinerary (my template & planning process)
- Things you must see in [country / city]
- Top things to see in [country / city]
- Top things to do in [country / city]
- Best viewpoints in [country / city]
- Other people’s itineraries for 2 day, 3 day etc.
- Maps that plot the main attractions at your destination so you don’t waste time criss-crossing public transport
- High versus low season of the destination you are visiting
- Compatible / sister provider to your home mobile
- Cheapest option – is there a flat rate fee per day for data roaming? How much data does it include? Is it available in the countries you are visiting?
- Sim card brands and where to buy + approx. cost
- Best way to get to [your hotel, famous attraction]
- Train directions from
- Google maps
- Rome to Rio (to compare cost)
- If there’s a discount pass if you’re under a certain age, student, senior
- How to get from the airport to your hotel
- Cost comparison between joining a day tour and using public transport
- Airport layover – what shops and attractions are in the airport
- Is it cheaper to buy the ticket in advance or on the day?
- Direct flight time and cost versus an indirect flight
- Airline alliances with your home country’s airlines
- Do you need to pre-buy train and bus tickets? Is it more expensive to buy on the day?
- Seat selection – research the best side of the plane to sit on for a view of your destination on arrival in the plane, best train carriage
- Round the world ticket cost versus booking individual tickets
- Luggage restrictions – weight, dimensions, no. of suitcases
- Main attractions in [city or country]
- Best day trips from [city] (go more detailed as well e.g. season, Christmas time etc.)
- Best time of day to visit [attraction] to avoid the crowds
- Is there a skip the line option? If so, how much is the ticket?
- Opening hours for attractions and are they open on Sundays?
- Cost of visiting attractions and are there days where the entry ticket are cheaper?
- Special events at the attractions e.g. what time is changing of the guard at Windsor Castle
- Age requirements for discounted tickets (student, senior etc.)
- Parking / public transport options and cost to get to the destination
I have a separate process / list for this. See this post.
- Is it safe?
- Nearby restaurants
- Distance from public transport e.g. walking time to nearest train station
- Distance / travel time to attractions you want to visit
Room & Hotel Facilities
- Free wifi (unlimited or how many GB per 24 hours?)
- Mini fridge
- Bath or shower?
- Room size
- Extra cost for cot / extra bed
- Is there a lift? (especially in older hotels and Air Bnb’s)
- Private bathroom (some have see through ‘walls’ into the sleeping area)
- Breakfast included?
- Free cancellation?
- Check in and check out time
- Free parking / on-site parking
- Kids club / childcare
- Pets allowed?
- Non-smoking room?
- Airport transfer shuttle bus (free or paid? What times does it operate?)
- Transfer shuttle bus to nearby attractions (free or paid? What times does it operate?)
- Tripadvisor reviews (especially for the time of year you’ll be visiting)
- Hotel rating on:
- Hotel Website
- Check photos of the hotel room (especially from other travellers – refer Tripadvisor)
- Travel blogs (not sponsored reviews)
- Which room locations are less noisy (i.e. so you can request a room at the back of the hotel or from level 4 or above etc.)
- Price check
- Hotel website (booking direct)
- Price stalk (for approx. 2 – 4 weeks to check for price fluctuations, promotions etc.)
- Basic phrases e.g. hello, thank you, entry, exit, how much?
- Foods e.g. chicken, beef
- How to ask for bottled water
- Medicine equivalents in the country you are visiting e.g. panadol
- Free viewpoints
- Best spots to photograph famous landmarks [e.g. the Eiffel Tower]
- Best photo spots in [season]
- Filming locations [TV show or movie you like to watch e.g. Emily in Paris]
- Photography tutorials e.g. how to photograph the Northern Lights
- One of (your currency) to (destination currency) such as 1 AUD to USD
- Exchange rates (usually cheaper to get via your bank)
- Tipping etiquette
- Budget e.g. expected cost for 1 day in [city or country]
- Banks that partner with your home bank e.g. less fees
- Time zone conversion. E.g. when it is 10am at home, what time is it at your destination (so you know when to book flight times and plan your itinerary around when you can call home if you need to)
- Safety e.g. is it safe to walk around [city / country] after dark
- Sunset times (if you want to visit an attraction at night or avoid being out at night)
- Visa requirements
- Vaccine requirements
- Popular scams
- What you are and aren’t allowed to take photos of
- Things that are illegal or advise against doing
- Nearby laundromats near your hotel
- Check if there are any entry or exit fees for the country / countries you are visiting
- Power point plug configuration and voltage
- Monsoon season, risk of bushfire or other natural disaster
- Research travel insurance
- Shops you want to go to e.g. stationery shops
- Major department stores
- Chocolate shops
- Gelato shops
- Foods to try
- Typical cost of a main meal in [city / country]
- Where to find [food that is famous in that city or country]
- How to order at a restaurant e.g. when to ask for the bill
- Popular snack foods you can buy at the supermarket
- Foods you are / are not allowed to bring in to the country you are visiting (and bring back to your home country)
- National holidays
- Places to go (or maybe avoid if they’re busy) during holiday periods
- Packing list for [city or country] in [season]
- Average temperature for [city or country]
- Do you need to cover up? What is the dress code?
- Useful tools e.g. read reviews of travel pillows, baggage weigh scales
Pre-Planned Itineraries / Group Tours
- How many people will be on the tour?
- Age group
- Single supplement fee
- Research the nominated hotels (reviews, how many star rating)
- How much free time at each destination?
- Cost of joining the optional tour excursions vs. going by yourself on public transport
- Reviews (Google, blogs)
- Compare itinerary and cost between tour companies offering the same (or similar) itinerary
- Baggage allowance
More travel planning resources
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