Develop a good travel planning routine ... some resources and example

I typically travel to the same places these days for work however; occasionally there is a new city to explore. I have an evolving system of getting a feel for a place before arriving through pre-trip research.

These days it involves a series of websites saved as favourites and a couple of other routines:

* Develop a currency conversion system - normally for a few different scales - 1, 10, 100, and 1000. You can write this on a piece of paper and keep it on you but it does not take muck to memorise Currency converter

* Reading other travels experiences from real travellers rather than picture perfect travel books. All too often, you hear the answer to "how was it" as "not what the travel brochure showed". This site often has top 10 things to do versions that give good ideas to plan days to Virtual Tourist

* Visiting a library to checkout any coffee table books or travel books

* Visiting Wikipedia provides a good synopsis of the history, climate, industries, culture and people Wikipedia

* Virtual roaming is the best way to get a feel for the environment on Google Earth. If there is topography it helps to see obvious sunrise and sunset sites Google Earth site

* Finding out what azimuth the sun will be at and what the sun set and sun rise times can be found at the following site. Azimuth, sunset, sunrise times

* Find out what the weather is likely to be like - min/max/average temp, number of wet days for the month, long term forecast, wind

Underground weather

* Local customs and if people allow you to photography them or not. I normally Google this to come up with an understanding over the basics in Wiki. Other traveller accounts from Virtual Tourist also help to paint a picture

* I also consider and plan my person security situation as the article Travel Security

* One practice that is worth developing is to check in with someone - either local or at home and establish some emergency numbers just in case

When I arrive, I try to get a perspective of possible location from the concierge and any locals that I know or might meet. It is often very very different and the locals often offer up many more interesting places than the concierge would think you are interested in. A city tour is often a good way to get a feel for the city however, if traffic is bad it can end up a long and frustrated exercise to see not much. I often do not have time for city tours.

I then plan travel options to get to the locations that I want to see after this research and ensure a safe and practical way to get around. Wherever possible I try and photograph places from different angles however that is often during return trips once I have looked at what I captured during an initial trip.

What routine do you have or what else do you research before travelling?

Many happy travels to you all

Photo credits: Bevanward.

Your article must be written in English

August 26, 2010


All good tips:) My routine is similar to yours, so nothing much to add. I might note that on meeting locals, my habit is to talk to everyone. The shop keepers, the servers and cashiers at restaurants, people I am standing in line with. Even if I don't know the language, I have gotten use to communicating one way or another, with a big smile on my face. One of the best "tips" I ever got was from a local standing next to me on a ferry boat. We were admiring the view together and it turned out she was from the city I was visiting next.

August 25, 2010


Interesting article and very useful...I’m always using wikipedia before I go traveling, is good both for picture and for general info.

August 24, 2010


Thanks for the praise and comments ... there is certainly a lot we can learn of each other! Take care and happy shooting

August 23, 2010


Great blog and wonderful photos! Thanks for sharing!

August 23, 2010


Don't forget a checklist of your items to ensure you can inventory while you pack and also while you pack to come home. Travelers like me who do a lot of scuba diving and underwater photography have gadgets up the wazoo. I'd like to ensure I have everything going and coming back. Also, it is really important to get travel insurance. I cannot stress this enough. Getting hurt or losing un-insured equipment can ruin a bank account fast, especially if you have to be evacuated from a thrid world country. remember the tsunami in Indonesia?

Nice piece. Thanks for sharing.

August 21, 2010


Thanks for sharing your thoughts. What I am doing quite much is to check the stockphotos on different sites to see what pictures has been taken and find something that could be different. Now with availability to ********photo through the iPhone app this is quite convinient. Cheers.

August 20, 2010


great advices and surely something to keep in mind while preparing a travel

August 20, 2010


Beautiful images!

August 20, 2010


Great article! Thanks for sharing! :)

August 20, 2010


Great tips. Wish you many happy travels too.

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