The first thing when planning your next holiday is to know where you’re actually going/ want to go for your next holidays.
But sometimes that’s easier said than done!
If you ask yourself
Where to go for my next holidays? How to decide where to go on vacation? Where to go for a great family holiday? Or Where should I go on vacation this summer?
Then take a moment to think about what it is that is important for you on holidays.
Are you the beach bum or culture vulture?
Does camping in nature seem more like your thing than spending you’re days getting pampered in 5 star hotels?
Also what is your budget? Are you traveling alone or with kids? Couple holidays?
Each of these things require it’s own kind of planning. I can’t help with every detail of the planning or tell you what the perfect country/city is for you. But I can give you a few guidelines and some pretty awesome and helpful tips. Tell you the best websites that will help you get you’re holiday planning started.
First, lets start by saying that there are several different types of holidays. Choosing which one is the best for you will already narrow down your potential destinations list and will give you a good idea on where to actually book your holiday from (travel agency, online flight and hotel deal or DIY with airbnb/ couchsurfing etc.)
Types of holidays to consider for your next holidays
- City Breaks
- Disney Holidays
- Cruise Holidays
- Golf Holidays
- Ski Holidays
- Wildlife and Nature
- Train Journeys
- Ecotourism Holidays
- Beach Holidays
Sometimes you see “Family Holidays” or “Luxury Holidays” listed but I think that’s too broad. Everything can be a Family Holiday if you make it into one (you can go up Machu Picchu with a toddle with the right kind of planning).
And for Luxury Holidays… Unless you plan on staying in a specific hotel that’s more of an attraction than an actual hotel (try Marina Bay Sands in Singapore) you will find luxury options wherever you choose to go.
Figuring out if you want to be active or have a relaxing time will narrow down choices by a lot, too.
Where to go for my next holidays- The super cheap deal edition
But let’s say you don’t actually care so much for WHERE to go, but are more looking for “some place I can actually afford to go to.”.
I’ve been there. Sometimes I don’t care so much where I go, I just need a couple days away for the sake of getting away and seeing some sun (I look at you, grey, sad English sky).
If I want to go away for a couple days and don’t care, I also don’t want to spend an awful lot of money because usually these trips aren’t planned.
Good news: If you’re looking for cheap holidays, don’t care where to go and are also flexible with you holiday times then it’s totally possible to find cheap deals to ANYWHERE.
Not having to go to specific place at a specific time basically opens up the world to you.
There are always airline ERROR FARES you can take advantage off.
Cheap deals to certain places will always pop up if you’re just patient enough.
Hotel prices will drop, airline pricing is dodgy anyway any they don’t just keep going up.
Pro tip: There are actually (more or less proven) methods to book cheaper flights on certain dates. Such as booking flights on Tuesday around midnight, or Wednesday mornings (and make sure to go into incognito mode), when airline reset their prices to match the the competition. I read up a lot about that but personally it never really worked for me…
Here are some websites and tools and that will help you to find the CHEAPEST POSSIBLE flights or holiday deals for your next holidays.
This one is probably the most known.
Kayaks “Explore” tool is so great as it allows you to scan parts the globe for the cheapest flights.
All you have to do is put in your home airport (also tick nearby airports for best results), dates (you can choose by season, month or just put “anytime” for best results.) and then your max. budget and time you’re willing to spend on a plane.
This tool really is amazing! 27£ trip to Portugal here I come.
I am willing to share this super secret website with you.
Basically, Secret Flying is all about finding you airline error fares (when they accidentally drop the price by way too much). Sure, you can’t choose you’re home airport (or anything else for that matter) but it can’t hurt to have a look once in a while. You might just find that perfect long haul holiday for less than the price you pay to fuel your monthly Starbucks coffees addiction.
For this one you have to sign up by email.
It’s basically very similar to Secret Flying. I assume it’s one guy (probably not) scanning the internet to bring you the best flight deals straight to your virtual post box.
If you want daily flight deals you have to pay, but even for the free version (you get deals once a week) it’s possible to find some cheap bookable deals.
Where to go for my next holidays- The “I am still not sure” Edition
If you know under which category you’re perfect kind of getaway falls, but your still not sure which country/ beach/ mountains full-fill your wanderlust dream, then try out these websites to find further ideas.
Awesome websites that will help you choose a great destination once you (kind off) know what you want.
If you still unsure, FLIPKEY offers great destination ideas for any type of vacation. Simple and easy. I would say it’s best for people based in America, though.
This one is one of my favorites. Vacation matchmaker lets you find the best spots by continents, budget and things like “adrenaline activities”, “party like it’s 1999” and “great coffee culture”.
It can’t get much more specific than that, huh.
Jauntaroo takes the matchmaking a bit further. Just like any other good matchmaking site, it lets you choose a few preferences (like vibes, activities and weather) before bombarding you with potential matches.
Of course it also lets you decide on a max. budget to make sure you’re perfect dream getaway isn’t actually “out of your league”.
More for fun than serious holiday planning: if you google “next vacation quiz” you will get a couple buzzfeed quizzes that can give you some “perfect holidays suggestions” by just answering 10 simple questions.
You know where to go for your next vacation but now what?
Did you figure out the perfect destination for you?
Great! (pad myself on back because, lets just assume, it’s totally because of my tips)
What to do now?
Figure out what you still need to book!
Got a flight but no hotel? Want to buy a packaged holiday?
Let’s start with booking things separately.
I would always recommend to book your flight first as that’s usually the most expensive bit of your trip.
Also if you have no flight you can’t go on holidays (unless you drive or take the train of course).
An accommodation on the other hand can always be found somehow.
Pro Tip: Looking for flights directly on an airline websites is never really a good idea. Those prices are, most of the time (not always!), much higher than looking for deals through a third party website.
Website I recommend to find a good flight deals
As mentioned before, Kayak has its great “Explore” tool. But it’s also not bad at finding specific flights and deals. Just like with many other websites, it lets you set route alerts. This means you get an email whenever the price for your chosen route changes.
Momondo is my go-to flight search engine. It’s easy to use and great to compare airline prices. Personally gave me the best flight deals.
Skyscanner is not bad. It can give you a great overview and you can see where to go from there.
Pro tip: If a third party flight finder redirects you to a deal on a different travel website, check the reviews for that websites first (maybe on trustpilot). Some of these websites might not be trustful.
Most websites will have a handful of bad reviews though, so sometimes it’s up to you to judge which ones might have a point.
Reading through a couple reviews can be helpful. If they just talk about bad customer service that’s one thing. If people call that website a scam or claim to have never received their tickets (or got a cancellation a day before their trip) it might be best to stay away from that deal- however good it might be.
Websites to find hotels/ accommodations (that I have used and never had any problems with)
I love tripadvisor for holiday planning. But I also booked great hotels through it.
It usually gives you a good overview of the best/ or cheapest hotels in an area. The prices are also not bad!
A big plus: Seeing actual customer photos rather than the Photoshopped and perfectly angled shots that hotels put on their websites will save you from some disappointment.
Perfect for: Solo travellers, Couples, Friends
My mum loves booking.com and here is why: The prices are not bad and the more you book through their websites the more discount you get for you’re next bookings.
You can sign up for email alerts and they will keep you informed whenever a good deal shows up.
If you book through their website and you have trouble with you’re accommodation they can also help you sort things and rebook you to a different place.
Perfect for: Couples, Families, Solo Travelers
Airbnb is such a god sent! I booked countless holidays with Airbnb and never had any issues (just make sure to check the reviews). Not only do you get more space than in a hotel, the people you meet are also amazingly helpful, most of the time.
It usually is much cheaper than booking a standard hotel (and so much better!).
Perfect for: Big groups, couples, families, solo travelers, Friends, Budget Travelers
If you’re very social and like to not only rent someone’s apartment for a week but live with them right on their sofa, then couch surfing is the right thing for you.
It’s free. All it requires you is to have your own couch to lend to someone when they need an accommodation in your town.
Perfect for: Solo traveler, Budget travelers, Adventurers
The best packaged deals websites (that I tried and liked) for your next holidays
I am not too much of a fan of packaged holidays (it takes away the freedom to customize you’re own trip).
But I see how it can be beneficial to families or people hate who going through the hassle of spending hours or weeks looking for the perfect hotel and flights.
Most of the time it’s also cheaper than booking things individually.
Fleetway has weekly new deals and is ATOL protected so you know they won’t just run away with your money.
Their deals are really good and you can search by country and destination which is great if you already know where you want to go!
The good thing about fleetway is that it’s easy to book ad-ons like excursions or popular trips.
Travelzoo was the winner of the “British Travel Awards 2017”. I booked through them a couple times and always had a good time and no problems. The packages are good value and website is easy to navigate.
And wow, that’s it! I assume your totally ready to plan and book your next vacation now!
Once you managed to book your perfect trip it’s time to lean back with a cup of coffee… and start planning you trip in more detail!
You thought that’s it? Nah, the planning never really stops (if you are like me at least).
If you know of any other great websites that can make planning and booking your next holidays easier let me know in the comments.
Also let me know if any of these tips help you and where you chose to go for your next vacation.