Tips, Tricks & Guides

Travel Planning Tips

Hi Travelers

As I sat here planning my next trip to Puerto Rico at the end of the month, I had a brilliant idea. I want to put together a travel planning guide for you all. I know how overwhelming it can get when you finally pick a place to go. Okay, now what? Where should I stay? How do I get the best flights? What do I have to do and see and eat?

I do so much research from the moment I chose a destination up until days before I depart. So I’m sharing with you my secrets to planning the best trip ever, and when you subscribe to my newsletter I’m going to send you a FREE travel planning guide PDF to download and print out. I don’t send out any spamy emails, but you will get some exclusive tips and tricks and be the first to know when I post new content!

Alrighty, now that you’ve got your free planner, let’s get to the steps you should take when planning your trip. 

1. Check the Travel Advisories in the Area You're Traveling to

This is a great tool for solo travelers, family travelers, or really anyone who is cautious and would like to know the level of criminal activity in the area you’d like to go to. You can click here to go to a color coded map with the level of advisory for your destination. 

2. Search Skyscanner for Flights

I love using Skyscanner if I’m choosing not to fly non-rev. Search on an incognito tab so that your cookies aren’t being tracked and you can ensure the best price on flights always. I like using this map mode, especially if I have flexible dates and destination ideas.

3. Use Google Maps to Research the Area

I always pull up google maps so I can get a good idea of the lay of the land. I want to know where I’ll be flying into and roughly the area that I’d like to stay in so that I can narrow my search when looking for a place to stay and how to plan activities.

4. Find a place to stay

I LOVE using Airbnb, it has changed travel in the most amazing way! I prefer to book Airbnb or vacation rentals from VRBO so that I can get a more “local” vibe to my stay. You can find the most unique places. It may not be for everyone however, so you may want to spend your time looking into resorts and hotels. I like using and for this. You can sign up for memberships and get better pricing and free cancellations.

5. List out Activities

This, in my opinion, is the BEST part! Do some research on the area to find out all the FUN things to do. I like to check for pricing and location to find out if I need to rent a vehicle or if the tour includes transportation. Use Airbnb Experiences or Atlas Obscura to find some unique things to do.  

6. Research the Best Places to Eat

I love looking on yelp to find local restaurants. You get REAL reviews from people who have eaten there before, and Yelp also tells you if there is somewhere new to try that may not have many reviews. (If you’re curious like me, this is a lot of fun!)

7. Check for Nearby Grocery Stores/Convenience Stores

Because we all need snacks at the end of the day!! It’s also fun to cook a meal in the home if you opt to stay in a vacation rental or suite. Plus it can save a lot of money!  **I love a good budgeted trip! My FREE panner has a budget section for you** 

8. Research Language and Currency Norms

Every country is different. I like to know what I’m walking in to.. Is it common practice to tip or not? Are there certain hand gestures or types of clothing I should avoid? What are some common words like “hello” and “thank you.”

9. Outfit Planning

Check the weather for your destination. If you’re planning way ahead you can get averages online. Then I like to make a general packing list for my outfits, like; 3 tanks, 4 pairs of shorts, 2 dresses, 2 swimming suits, 1 jacket, 2 shirts, sandals, boots, pajamas, etc. 

10. Before You Go

Don’t forget to call your cell phone company to see what type of service you will have or what their international plans are like. Also, call the number on the back of the credit or debit card that you are bringing to let them know your plans so that your card doesn’t get shut off while you’re there.

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Please don’t forget to subscribe above so you can get my free travel planning guide. It is a PDF printable that includes a budget planner, outfit planner, places to keep your activity and restaurant ideas, and a page to jot down the country info and reservation info! 

Did I miss any steps? What do you ALWAYS do when planning your trips? Leave me a comment below 🙂 

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Hi Travelers, thank you for coming to my little piece of the internet. Lets see the world!


  • Maggie

    These are great tips! I definitely do all of these haha – trip planning is one of my favorite parts of traveling! (I know, weird). Monomondo is another great resource for tracking plane ticket prices. And I LOVE grocery shopping in foreign countries – not only does it help save you money, it’s so fascinating to see what other countries sell in their food stores!

  • Soumya Gayatri

    This list includes all those things that I would do before packing my bags. And I like the fact that you have included a search for convenience/grocery stores near where you stay. Earlier I would not do that. But now I understand they can be so helpful. Great for saving some dollars as well as getting stuff that you have forgotten at home.

  • Bilal

    Wonderful breakdown of things to prepare for! Personally, I love using Skyscanner to catch the best deals and also Google Maps! Google maps is the best navigation around the world.

    • AStravels

      I’m like a kid in a candy store when I visit that Skycanner map! It makes budget travel SO simple! Yeah, Google Maps are so incredible! A lot of times this is how I find activities to check out close to my hotel! Thanks for the comment 🙂

  • Alexander Rivera

    Great planning list. I especially like researching where you will eat. As a foodie I’m always trying to plan where to eat on my trip lol. Also, the one about calling your cell phone carrier and credit card companies. Thanks for the info!

    • AStravels

      Thanks for commenting Alex! I always have at least one or two places that I am planning on eating at when I visit! Yes, I have forgotten to call credit card companies before and ended up using a payphone at a bus stop in Costa Rica to call my family back home when my cash got taken and I couldn’t use my card! Thank goodness for families.. and payphones! And thank goodness that wifi is becoming a much more common thing Lol

  • Natalie Took

    Great tips here! Completely agree with them all. I always use Skyscanner to check out flight prices, but then I also check directly with airlines, I’ve managed to save an entire 50p that way!

    I learnt the hard way to let your cards know you are going abroad… Never happened again!

    • AStravels

      I love that information! It is always such a good idea to check with the airline directly! Thank you for sharing! Yes, not being able to use your card while abroad can be such a paralyzing feeling! So frustrating!

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