Sunday, February 23, 2014

My essential holiday preparation tools

This is a page about the things I always seem to use when planning a holiday. After 16 years as an avid traveller I have streamlined my planning process, so I thought I'd share these things with my readers.

My Macbook is always close to me at home and often when out too. When planning a new trip I usually start by putting my destination into Trip Advisor. It is a great website for quickly finding hotels, restaurants and activities. I use the map feature to find the perfect destination with plenty going on in an area.

I use my tablet (iPad) when relaxing on the sofa or in bed. There is a Trip Advisor app, but I usually just use Google as I like to look for location specific blogs and forums at the same time. I sometimes use Google Blog Search to filter out all the travel agent websites and get to some real opinions and experiences about places.

There are some good apps for travellers. My current favourites are Wunderlist (todo list) and Evernote (notes) for planning trips. There are also ones for tracking expenses such as Trail Wallet as well as city specific guides. Many are free so it is best to download a few and see if they stick.

Ski Training Device
Lots of my holidays are ski based and the Sweetspot trainer from SkiA is essential. It is cheap and very effective for getting me in shape for a skiing trip. Sometimes I only ski once a year, using the Sweetspot blocks for a few weeks before going helps my muscles remember how to balance correctly. It also provides a mini workout for the leg muscles specifically used in skiing.

One thing that I will still use paper for is guidebooks. I have tried electronic versions on the Kindle and iPad but they are nowhere near as good as the old paper versions. I most often use Lonely Planet as they are the biggest company, but I will also use Footprints and Rough Guide depending on date published and reviews (I check Amazon for reviews).