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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Travel Tips & Tricks #2

In October Hendrik and I took our big vacation for the year.  We traveled to Bangkok and Phuket, Thailand; Bali, Indonesia and had long layovers in Dubai both coming and going.

In 2 weeks we traveled:

  • 25,853 miles flown (this is insane)
  • 3 different countries- UAE, Thailand, Indonesia
  • 7 flights
  • 2 extra bags bought
  • 1 proposal accepted
  • 13 hours ahead in time from our home time zone

This was our busiest trip to date and to get everything done and stay sane here are a few tips that I used this time and every other time we travel.
In 2016 I came across a travel website that I gave a chance and then I utilized it to the fullest!  Until our honeymoon (upcoming) I have never used any sort of travel agent other than myself and websites. I will review that process when we return next month but I won't be using a travel agent in the future unless I absolutely have to, not that it was a bad experience it's just unnecessary to me.  

  • Trip Masters

When deciding and trying to find itineraries for Caleb and I I stumbled across Tripmasters.com.  They have a ton of ready built itineraries that you can customize to meet your needs or you can just build your own from scratch.  I love the feature that allows you to change your dates and adjust pricing...see screen shot below.  

as you can see from above you can chose easily different dates around your initial date selection to see how the price may change! By waiting 2 days on this particular trip you can save over $500!!!
The overall website is so easy to use and makes researching your trip fun.  The booking process is seamless and easy!  Before booking me and Caleb's trip in the Summer I researched the website to make sure it was legit and had good reviews.  I only found people raving of the service.  I booked our trip and all the way up until our departure date received emails from Trip Masters letting me know steps I needed to take, documents I needed to have in order, and the overall itinerary.  On departure day I was a bit anxious but only in hopes that the travel experience was as seamless as the booking process had been.  But my worries were fruitless as all our flights and hotels were perfect they had all our information and nothing was wrong.  

I was so happy with Trip Masters that I used their website again when booking me and Hendrik's big trip in the Fall.  Again a seamless and painless experience from start to finish.  Oh and did I mention that the affordability is OUT OF THIS WORLD!  You will never be able to get all these flights, hotels, and other add-ons at the price that you can get them combined at Trip Masters...believe me I've tried.

Going forward I will continue to use Trip Masters for trips but not trips with Hendrik and I.  Trip Masters is really a website that I want to utilize to visit an array of cities/countries.  Both in my Summer and Fall vacations we traveled and moved around A LOT!  I don't mind that but when Hendrik and I travel together we do prefer a bit more down time and relaxation.  When I vacation with others I'm in it for all the experiences not so much the relaxation part.  

Long story now even longer...if you haven't yet then GO CHECK THEM OUT www.tripmasters.com 

  • Other websites that I've came across and love roaming around but have yet to actually use are Oyster.com and Jetsetter.com I can't wait to use these sites in the future.
  • Travel journaling is something that I've been doing for years.  At first it was really random by just grabbing the hotel note pad at the end of each day and jotting down quick notes of the day's events and what we did, ate, etc.  After several years I finally started using a plain green leather bound journal that had just been collecting dust on my desk for years.  Now I use that journal and take it on each trip.  At night I write down the entire day's details so when I'm home I can reflect and write AWESOME blog posts.  I encourage others to travel journal even if you don't have a blog so you can reflect on those entries as well as pictures and really relive that trip.
  • If you are new to travel or unsure of foreign hotels and such then chose hotels and airlines that you are comfortable with.  Years ago when I would travel alone I would stay only in Marriott's.  I would do this for the comfort level both emotionally and physically.  I trust the Marriott brand and they have hotels all over the world so your options are limitless.  The same thing for Delta.  If possible I always try to fly Delta so I can wrack up frequent flier miles on the same airline and I trust their service.  
  • Long layovers are something that I've never had a good opportunity to experience until this past Fall while traveling to Asia.  I knew that Emirates Airlines flew to Asia and that gave me a perfect excuse to hit up Dubai on the way through.  The layovers that I got on my flights through Dubai were the perfect amount of time.  A total of 36 hours 12 going and 24 coming home.  Check out THIS POST to see how we utilized our time on the layovers.  If you ever get the opportunity then set your flights up so you have a long layover.  It adds a whole other location to your vacation and is a perfect way to expand your adventures.  The only downside is the lack of rest but that's what flights are for LOL!  

I hope these little tidbits helped y'all or will help in your future travels.


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