How do you like to prepare for a trip? Since we are fairly new to traveling outside of this country, we do lots of research. There are places and things that I HAVE to see but on the other hand, I also like to see and do some things that aren’t as popular or are known primarily to the locals.
To begin with, I make a list of things that are known to me that I want to see. If I am going to Paris for the first time then I definitely want to see Notre Dame, The Louvre and The Eiffel Tower. I might also want to see the Catacombs of Paris and perhaps Moulan Rouge (just because I like the movie).
Next I go to Trip Advisor and see what they rank for attractions – there might be something there that I wasn’t aware of or is ranked higher than I thought it would be. I also look in the internet for free walking tours of the area – that’s how we did a tour of Chinatown when we were in Singapore. Many times Rick Steves offers free audio walking tours of major European cities. Most major cities also have free walking tours – all you need is to tip the tour guide what you think the tour is worth. We had a wonderful tour guide in Sydney with the Free Walking Tour guide that we had.
Speaking of the internet, I do a general search of “what to see in —“. I also go to various forums like Fodors Travel Forum and ask others who have been there for their suggestions. I do the same thing when on a cruise only I go to Cruise Critic and explore the Ports of Call section.
I also go to group travel tour sites and see what they are offering their customers. When Blogger Hubby and I did a road trip to the southeastern states we were aware that Road Scholar was also doing a similar trip. We basically copied their itinerary but did it when we wanted to and spent as much time as we wanted to. We did a boat tour that we probably wouldn’t have done unless we read about it on their tour itinerary.
The final thing that I do is when I get to the city that I am visiting, I’ll ask locals “what must I see before leaving your city that most visitors wouldn’t know about?” We’ve received some excellent suggestions. I most recently did this in Savannah and everyone directed us to Bonaventure Cemetery. I’ll do the same thing when looking for restaurants that won’t “cost us an arm and leg and has very good food”.
What do you do to prepare for a trip?