Travel Tips

My Go-To Tools for Planning a Travel Adventure

I don’t know at what stage things changed, but these days booking a holiday isn’t just deciding where to go and getting the cheapest flights.

It’s a military mission.

Gone are the days where we’d book a week in Croatia and just see what happened. Now, we have a complete logistical nightmare trying to map every minute of every day to get the most out of our time away.

The decision to go to Disneyland turned into two weeks in Florida, a mini 3-night road trip, and two more day trips out of town.

A trip to Vegas became a 4-day roadtrip to LA, a visit to Disneyland and ticking the bucketlist for three different states.

My dad getting married in Germany – where he lives – fast became an 8-day Scandinavian adventure by train via three different cities. (Did I mention this was the same year we did Florida…and Iceland.)

I’m exhausting myself just thinking about it all.

Somehow, along the way, we’ve managed to work out how to make the most of our holiday days, and that largely comes down to the tools we use. Without further ado, here are my go-to planning tools.

Expedia

Number one on my list has got to be Expedia. I don’t know where I’d be without this bad boy. No matter what stage of the planning we’re at, Expedia is my first go-to.

Looking for destination ideas? Expedia.

Looking for a great bundle deal on flights and hotels? Expedia.

Booked your trip and now looking for local activities? Expedia.

Decided you want to hire a car? You guessed it – Expedia.

FYI – this is in no way an affiliation. I’m not being paid nor do I gain anything from this recommendation – this is simply my opinion.

Why is Expedia so great? you might ask…

Don’t get me wrong, we don’t use Expedia for everything but it is an invaluable research tool. It’s a great place to compare prices, see everything in one place and we’ll then often research elsewhere to compare (like Booking.com, AirBnB, LastMinute.com, TravelUp etc.), using Expedia as our benchmark.

Often we do go back and book anyway, but it doesn’t hurt to have a look around elsewhere.

However, the most valuable reason why we often use Expedia is their activities, especially if you’re traveling to somewhere with a different currency (if you’re in the UK, this generally means going anywhere).

For our American trips this is definitely the most valuable tool. We can book in our local currency and have the etickets delivered direct to my phone. (They’re often cheaper, too. For example, when we were in Vegas we booked to go up the Eiffel Tower at Paris through the app the day before, paid in GBP and probably saved a third off the standard ticket price – that’s a win-win.)

Kayak

We all have our preferred flight app. I know a lot of people are a big fan of Skyscanner. Some prefer Momondo. Personally, I love Kayak – always have and probably always will.

For me it’s by the far the easiest to use. And has just simply gotten better over time with predicted price trends that tell you when to book and a flexible calendar that helps you get the best deal.

Uber

Surprised by this one? It’s only within the last year or so have I realised the true power of Uber. I’m more of a walker than a taxi-goer personally but there are other benefits of having this app to hand when it comes to planning a trip.

Whether we’re planning a staycation or going abroad, I often use Uber to work out just how far away things are. Sure, I’m unlikely to actually order a cab but it’s a good way to get to know the local area, figure out the cost of getting back if somthing went wrong, or simply seeing what reception is like in the area.

Sounds weird, I know. But I promise, hands-down, that I’ve used the Uber app to help plan at least the last three trips we’ve been on.

Instagram

I’d be a liar if I said I never got inspiration from Instagram. Of course, I have my go-to accounts that keep me inspired but it’s also an amazing tool for generating ideas.

Next time you book a trip somewhere, try searching the local hashtag or location and see what posts you find. I challenge you to spend 5 minutes browsing and I’m sure you’ll find loads of interesting activities.

The beauty of this method is you’ll often find things off the beaten track – our favourite type of activity. Sure, we can all visit the Shard in London but not all of us know the Sky Garden is just over the river and has amazing views of the Shard and the London skyline. (And it’s free!) #thankyouInstagram

Google

Good old Google. Where would we be without it?

You won’t be surprised to learn that Google is the next tool on my planning list. We spend hours typing in various questions, browsing different articles and researching the best things to do for the best price.

Many people will stick to the same routine when it comes to booking and planning a trip, but I find that our secret is to remain flexible. Sure we use the same tools and apps as a starting point, but we’re always willing to try new providers if that means we save £££.

The number of times we’ve found a great deal on Expedia only to then decide we’re going to book through eBookers or Booking.com because they give us a better deal – all thanks to the power of Google.

Friends/fam

You can never underestimate word of mouth. That’s why you read blogs like this in the first place, right?

If you know someone who’s been there, done that, they can give you the low down on what’s worth it and what’s not. This is probably the most valuable tool on the planet; it allows you to connect with someone over a common interest, save you money and guarantee a great time – what’s not to love?

Once we’ve decided to go somewhere, one of the first things we do is sniff out which friends and family have already been. Sometimes, it might even be the personal recommendations of people we know that influence the trip in the first place.


So there you have it. My go-to tools for planning a trip; some a little more unconventional than others. I’ll come back and update this list from time to time as I discover new tools and new ways of doing things, bur for now, I hope it helps!

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  • 2 FREAKIN’ YEARS
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We bought our forever home 2 years ago today! And oh my gosh it has been the biggest, scariest and most expensive adventure EVER, but I’ve loved every second!
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This place is our haven, our palace, our kingdom and it’s perfect 😍 here’s to many more years 🍻
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PHOTOS: a few of the rooms we’ve done already: the living room, the guest bedroom, the kitchen, the first floor hallway and the downstairs toilet. Not featured is my home office which has been overrun with WFH and is a bit chaotic 🤦‍♀️😂 #adventureswithnatasha #myhouseandhome #makingahouseahome #howihome #pocketofmyhome #homestyle #homeinspo #myhomevibe #beautifulhomesofinstagram #myhomevibes #storyofmyhome #realhomesofinstagram #heyhomehey #homedecoration #homedecorating #homedecorinspo #homedecorlovers #interiordecor #interiordecoratingideas #decorlovers #decorlove #interiordesigninspiration #interiorideas #decorationideas #decorideas #decoratingideas #decorinspiration #housedecoration #homeinteriordesign
  • Thank god the week is almost over. It’s been a tough one. Work has been crazy busy and I just feel like we need some time to breathe. Roll on the bank holiday weekend 🙌
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The weather has taken a turn for the worst so I don’t envision drinking fancy cocktails in the garden but hopefully we can start finishing some of the five million jobs we’ve half started during lockdown 🤷‍♀️
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Plus a family quiz on Sunday 💪 we’ve been doing pub quizzes every week for the last 6 weeks and it’s so much fun!
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What are your weekend plans?
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PHOTO: we visited The Silo Hotel in Cape Town after watching the BBC’s Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby series and it did not disappoint. This place was amazing! With incredible views of Table Mountain ⛰ 😍

#adventureswithnatasha #thesilo #thesilohotel #thesilohotelcapetown #africanamazing #beautifulafrica #exploreafrica #iloveafrica #visitafrica #capetown #capetownsouthafrica #capetownguide #mothercity #secretcapetown #capetowninfo #explorecapetown #southafricatravel #thisissouthafrica #southafrica #capetownlife #westerncape #easterncape #capetownbest #capetownliving #capetownmag #capetownvibes #capetownblogger #capetownphotographer #capetownfeed
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It only last for about two minutes but I did unashamedly cry on my own in a dark room for a moment.
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It happens. I mean, I’m a crier, so it really isn’t anything new in this house.
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Sometimes panic levels just get too much.
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Considering it’s #mentalhealthawarenessweek, it seemed well timed. Today I’m feeling upbeat, but that might not last. It can be very temperamental sometimes. For now, I’m going to daydream about beaches and bikinis 👙and hope the positivity lasts 😍
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#adventureswithnatasha #africa #africanamazing #africaphotography #gotoafrica #capetown #capetownsouthafrica #capetownguide #mothercity #secretcapetown #capetowninfo #explorecapetown #southafricatravel #thisissouthafrica #southafrica #capetownlife #westerncape #easterncape #capetownbest #capetownliving #capetownmag #capetownvibes #capetownblogger #capetownphotographer #capetownfeed
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*may be slightly tipsy in this photo. I can’t remember if this was before or after I befriended a giant Hershey’s Kisses

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  • 😜 Really, this should have been #TonguetasticTuesday, so instead I’m calling it #StickItToThemWednesday 😂
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The working weeks seem to fly by at the moment, I almost can’t believe it’s Wednesday already.
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If you’re looking for some escapism, my last African Safari post is now live on my blog, complete with photos like this one.
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Pop quiz time: how tall is a giraffe? 🦒
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Believe it or not, we almost missed seeing this guy. His markings are literally the PERFECT camouflage!

#adventureswithnatasha #safari #africansafari #giraffe #giraffes #giraffesofinstagram #safariphotography #safaripark #aquilasafari #africasafari #capetown #capetownsouthafrica #capetownguide #mothercity #secretcapetown #capetowninfo #explorecapetown #southafricatravel #thisissouthafrica #southafrica #capetownlife #westerncape #easterncape #capetownbest #capetownliving #capetownvibes #capetownfeed
  • Tuesday Spotlight: the Sahara Las Vegas resort in - you guessed it - Vegas!
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The Sahara is an iconic Vegas hotel that opened on 7th October 1952.
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In 1960 it was the filming location for the original Ocean’s 11 movie.
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In 1964, the resort paid $25,000 for The Beatles to perform, but due to demand the event was moved to the Las Vegas Convention centre.
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That same year there was a rooftop fire that caused $1 million in damage. The water used by the firefighters flooded the main showroom and soaked through to the main casino floor where gamblers didn’t want to quit playing.
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During the repairs, the hotel was able to stay open and marketing slogans said ‘Visit the Hottest Casino in Town’.
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By the early 1970s, the Sahara was on a decline. There were many attempts to capture more high rollers but none succeeded (including a NASCAR themed ride).
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The casino and resort finally closed its doors in 16th May 2011, after which it was bought and renamed SLS.
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After several changes in ownership, the Sahara reopened on 29th May 2019. While its traditional Arabian theme isn’t prominent throughout the hotel, the decor does pay homage to its past.
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The original sign (featured in this photo) is currently housed at the Neon Museum in Vegas.
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Learn something? I love reading up on the history of the Vegas hotels! You just never know what you might find out...I didn’t know Ocean’s 11 was a remake 🙀🤦‍♀️😂
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#adventureswithnatasha #vegas #lasvegas #saharacasino #thesahara #saharalasvegas #saharavegas #historyoflasvegas #vegasbaby #lasvegasstrip #lasvegasnevada #lasvegassign #vegasstrip #vegasnights #vegasvacation #neonmuseum #neonmuseumlasvegas #visitlasvegas #nevada #onlyinvegas #iconic #neonmuseumvegas #lasvegasblvd #lasvegasbaby #travel #travelgram #lovetravel #seethworld #travelling #instatravel

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