Trip Planning Tips


In a few weeks I'm going to be going on a two and a half week trip to Cape Town and up the Garden Route. I'm SUPER excited for this trip since it's my third time in South Africa but I still haven't been down to the Cape yet.

Planning a trip when you are unfamiliar with the area is very time consuming. Now that we have most of the trip planned I thought I'd share with you some of the knowledge I've accumulated through the process that might help you plan your own trip:

Research the best time to go
Timing can make or break your trip. Sometimes you won't have as much flexibility about when you can go on your trip, but if do you should make sure to do some research on the best time of year to visit your vacay destination. For us we chose the very end of September to early October to go since this is right when the weather starts getting warm in Cape Town, but right before kids are out of school for their holidays. It is also in the middle of whale season which I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we see lots of!

Booking the flight
Research the local, low cost, no frills airlines. Oftentimes local airlines won't show up in more major airline price comparison sites. The trip down to Cape Town is only a couple hours so we don't really need any extras for our flight. When I did my initial check for flights on Hipmunk, which is usually my first go to for getting a feel of what times and airlines will be cheapest, Kulula.com didn't even show up.  It ultimately ended up being the cheapest and the airline we went with.

Stay open minded for accommodation
Since we were going on a longer trip we knew that we had to keep our per night cost of housing down to a minimum. One of the big things that has helped us achieve this is AirBnb. If you never have heard of AirBnb (which likely have by now), go check it out! Essentially it let's people list their places for other people to discover and stay in.  There are different prices ranges and accommodation types to fit everyone's needs. Most of the places we are staying are between $50-$60 per night. We are also staying in a couple upperscale hostels with private rooms for about $45 per night.

Don't forget transportation
My boyfriend and I LOVE walking. Back when we were living in Mexico and our romance was just blossoming we literally walked everywhere.  In the towns we're staying in we plan to do a lot of walking and using public transportation to get everywhere, but we knew that to get from town to town we would need a car of our own. Although I believe it is possible to travel from Cape Town up the Garden Route by bus we wanted the freedom to venture out on our own.

Keep on the lookout for potential discounts for car rental. For example, my car insurance back home offers up to a 25% discount for many major car rental agencies.  I believe AAA also offers discounts.

Research things to do and places to eat before you go
Some people like to have exactly what they are going to do planned day by day. Others prefer to just see where the journey takes them. I prefer to do something in the middle of those two.

I really like using the Google Maps Engine. I first used the Google Maps Engine for a family trip to London a few years back. You can mark places you would like to visit, restaurants, and hotels (or anything you want really).  It made it really simple to see what points of interest and restaurants are clustered in the same area so that you can plan things that you might like to do together.

Now for how the actual trip goes I'll just have to wait and see! But I'll definitely be providing updates over the course of my trip along with anything that ended up backfiring on me.

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  1. When a friend of mine (accompanied by her mom) had to go through a treatment abroad UK
    , the family were involved with the preparation for the trip. They were to arrive 2 days earlier before the big day so they would like to spend those days to at least tour the country. Flight booking and hotel accomodation were done by my friend's cousin, while the nephew researched about the transportation and beauty spots. And her son suggested the Google maps which turned out to be really helpful. Anyway, the procedure went well but it was the escapades that dominated the story when they got back :)