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11 Travel Planning Tips

Maximize your travel experience with these helpful tips.



  • we generally scour Google to find tour ideas and then pass it along to our travel agent to help determine which is the best tour for us
  • we like to Google a variety of sites to get different reads on things since there are generally varying opinions on everything


Travel agent:

  • we like to utilize them despite many tools at ones disposal these days as they have the extra experience to ensure you get what you want and to troubleshoot any problems
  • we use Erin Wallace from Tier One Travel in Calgary
  • she has a good read on how we like to roll in terms of preferences on flights, accommodations, private guides and drivers, and the types of things we like to see and do


Guide books:

  • these are still a useful source of information and we occasionally will pick them up to study a country ahead of time as they are all encompassing
  • they can be handy to have on hand especially if you do not have internet service in certain areas although they can be cumbersome to carry around



  • we are constantly comparing travel experiences with our friends and we very quickly get to know what things they do that resonate with us
  • sometimes we travel with family or friends if we have common interests and the timing works out


Other tourists:

  • one of the best parts of travel is meeting people from other countries
  • they are a great source of information for the country you are in to find out what they have been seeing, information on other countries they have traveled to as they provide first-hand experiences, as well as their own countries



  • we have several travel and individuals that we follow that showcase fun places to visit around North America and the world
  • I follow National Geographic, National Geographic Travel, The Globe Wanderer, Earth Official, Earth Focus, and Endless Traveling (there are countless great sites to follow)
  • a month or two before we go to a country we will add some Instagram hashtags for that particular area as it provides some unique ideas


Trip Advisor:

  • this has been very useful as a review tool although some people question it’s level of honesty
  • I provide regular reviews for Trip Advisor given that I am a steady user of it
  • the frustrating part is that when you look up a particular location it sometimes sends you emails for a long period afterwards on deals for that location


Google maps:

  • our good friend from Dallas, Craig Tadlock, who has his own travel website (www.middleagemiles.com), gave us the suggestion to zone in on the area around our hotel or a particular area we are visiting to see what attractions, restaurants, cafes, stores, etc. are in that particular vicinity and this technique works great
  • we have used it numerous times, at the last minute, to find a restaurant nearby where we are
  • it is also a savior to try to find places and not get lost



  • we generally travel with guide/drivers on our international trips
  • our travel agent does a great job of making sure we have guides that are fully conversant in English and have tremendous knowledge of the areas we are visiting
  • guides add a fairly significant cost to the trip but are generally well worth it especially if you are spending a short amount of time in one area and want to maximize that experience
  • once the guide gets a feel for what our preferences are we often make some adjustments on the fly
  • a special shout out to Matej in Central Europe, Adam in Tanzania, Thomas in Ireland, and Omar in Colombia who made for amazing experiences



  • sometimes we like to read fiction or nonfiction books that are related to the particular country we are traveling to as they can give you a good feel for the fabric of the country



  • we like to watch some videos to get a feel for the areas we are traveling to and to see if there are any hidden gems worth seeing
  • it is sort of hit and miss as most of them are done by amateurs


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