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Travel Series: Do Your Research & Be Realistic

Following up on our intro of the new series on travelling affordably, we’re here to give you a few tips on research.

First interesting fact: we love a shared drive spreadsheet. LOVE IT. We’ll use it to plan out our days on our travels and break it down into morning, afternoon and evening, plus breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sure, we know this doesn’t work for everyone and we always make sure to leave a few slots blank, but with always being so determined to make the most of where we’re going, it’s our secret to make sure we get to do all that we want to do.

Malta - research and planning

Having it on a shared drive means we can both always access the most up to date version, make changes and additions at any time and quickly fill any spare time with more planning. We find this directly helps us in saving money too.

Having been to a few notoriously expensive destinations recently (Miami and Mykonos most notably), it would be easy to go in unprepared, run into the nearest tourist trap of a bar and later find that we’ve paid three times more than we needed to for a bog standard exchange. By researching and sharing ideas for weeks in advance, we know where we’re going, where to avoid and how much to expect to pay.

On the note of expensive destinations, we have branched out recently with the mission of doing it on a budget, however the majority of places we’ve been to in the last few years haven’t been like that at all. We are of course so lucky to be in Europe and have so much to see and do on our doorstep, plus having our love/hate relationship with Ryanair makes it possible time and time again. But still, choose wisely and sign up for the Ryanair sale alert emails. The amount of times we’ve spontaneously booked getaways off the back of this is unbelievable. 

Gibraltar - research and planning

The one other major tip from us is timing. You may have noticed that in the last two years we have gone away in January, February and March, but not during the summer. Obviously the flights and accommodation are so much cheaper, even if it means that we lose a few degrees and have to take an umbrella. For us, good weather is a bonus whilst being safe in the knowledge that we’re saving money and doing what we love. I guess we’re also quite lucky that our birthdays fall in February and March so any excuse to tick something off the bucket list and we’re on a plane.

Simple as that – no magic tricks involved here, just good old fashioned research and preparation.

Next week we’re covering where to find the best travel deals so let us know if you’ve got anything you want answered before then. If you’ve also got any tips you’d like to share on research or your go to bargain place, let us know in the comments down below.

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22 Comments

  1. August 5, 2019 / 5:07 pm

    I don’t always do proper research when I go somewhere and I just look at the instagrammability, which of course sets me up for disappointment! I have noticed that timing can really change the price!

    • foodandbaker
      Author
      October 27, 2019 / 12:32 am

      It’s hard to not follow the Instagram worthy places but very easy to get disappointed! Timing is everything!

      Thank you for reading and commenting☺️💕

  2. Kayleigh Zara
    August 5, 2019 / 5:09 pm

    These are some great tips, and I know what you mean about timing. I personally always visit Venice later in the year because it’s so much cheaper this year alone I managed to bag 5 nights at 5 star hotel for just £158.. when in the summer it is more than that a day x

    Kayleigh Zara 🌿 http://www.kayleighzaraa.com

    • foodandbaker
      Author
      October 27, 2019 / 12:32 am

      Oh wow that is amazing! Can’t beat a good bargain, and what’s a few degrees lower for a good bargain!

      Thank you for reading and commenting☺️💕

  3. August 5, 2019 / 5:10 pm

    These are really get tips and advice! Your point on timing is crucial. If you don’t have kids and therefore have more freedom to go on holiday at any time of year, you should definitely use that! My boyfriend and I went on a boating holiday in Norfolk a couple of years ago and it was literally £150 cheaper the week after the school holidays when we went!

    • foodandbaker
      Author
      October 27, 2019 / 12:33 am

      Yes exactly! Luckily our anniversary is in September when kids go back to school!

      Thank you for reading and commenting☺️💕

  4. August 5, 2019 / 5:21 pm

    Love this post! I’ve always been too scared to do a bit of solo travel, but this is making me want to x

    • foodandbaker
      Author
      October 27, 2019 / 12:34 am

      Do it! This is your time to do so!

      Thank you for reading and commenting☺️💕

  5. August 5, 2019 / 5:24 pm

    I love that you have a shared schedule! One thing that I always find difficult on family vacations is not knowing what the plans are, which makes it very difficult for me to plan social energy and not return from holiday completely burnt out.

    Winter vacations are awesome and it’s an excellent way to be celebrating your birthdays! I wish I could be more spontaneous about booking trips but having a short prescription length for my meds means that everything needs to be planned around when I next need to pick meds up :-/

    • foodandbaker
      Author
      October 27, 2019 / 12:35 am

      Ah fair enough! I hope you get to have your next best adventure yet to come!

      Thank you for reading and commenting☺️💕

  6. Sunkissed Scribbles
    August 5, 2019 / 5:33 pm

    Brilliant post, I’m all about doing as much research as possible before travelling. I’d love to make my first trip abroad soon (not too far, only France) but as I’ve never left the UK before, it seems a bit daunting to me. So your tips are very useful info for me. Thanks for sharing!

    • foodandbaker
      Author
      October 27, 2019 / 12:36 am

      Omg amazing! You’ll love it! Where in France did you go and how did you find it?

      Thank you for reading and commenting☺️💕

  7. August 5, 2019 / 5:50 pm

    This is so helpful! I’d love to go travelling alone but definitely don’t have the guts – maybe one day! Love posts like this that help teach people the important things though x

    • foodandbaker
      Author
      October 27, 2019 / 12:37 am

      Oh I’m so glad you think so! Solo travelling is such a thing to do, also don’t have the guts but I do think we should at least do it once!

      Thank you for reading and commenting☺️💕

  8. August 5, 2019 / 7:16 pm

    We’ve never tried using a shared spreadsheet, but that’s a great suggestion as a couple that likes to plan together. We’ll definitely give that a try

    • foodandbaker
      Author
      October 27, 2019 / 12:37 am

      Pls do and let us know how you get on – we find is so helpful!

      Thank you for reading and commenting☺️💕

  9. August 5, 2019 / 8:33 pm

    Super helpful you guys! Whenever we do family road trips, my mom always gives a good proper research. I mean she plans the trip at least six months ahead to find the best deals on hotels, restaurants and activities. I like the idea you shared about going on vacay during the off season (skipping summer), you avoid the crowds and save tons of money because you’re going during the least popular time of the year.

    Natonya | https://justnatonya.wordpress.com

    • foodandbaker
      Author
      October 27, 2019 / 12:39 am

      Omg I’d love to meet you mum, that is the level of planning I want to reach! I always try to plan as far ahead but 6 months is goals!

      Thank you for reading and commenting☺️💕

  10. August 6, 2019 / 2:04 pm

    These are some brilliant tips!

    • foodandbaker
      Author
      October 27, 2019 / 12:39 am

      Thank you for reading and commenting☺️💕

    • foodandbaker
      Author
      October 27, 2019 / 12:39 am

      Can’t beat a good travel bargain!

      Thank you for reading and commenting☺️💕

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