Author: Jess Mizzi
Jess is a tour guide living and working in Hong Kong. Aside from traveling the world whenever she can, Jess is the girl behind Expat Getaways. A travel blog full of itineraries from trips she has taken from Hong Kong, as well as, travel hacks to make your trips easier.
One of the questions I get asked all the time is how to plan the perfect itinerary?
There’s no easy answer and it all comes down to loads of research. Sometimes a whole trip will evolve from a single activity. For example, I love the ocean and was desperate to see whale sharks in the wild. I knew that the Philippines was famous for whale sharks and the easiest place to see them was in Oslob near Cebu.
I didn’t stop there though and once I did a bit more research I learned that the encounters in Oslob are definitely not environmentally friendly. In fact, they have changed the migration patterns of these gentle giants. After more and more research I found we could visit Donsol on the island of Luzon where snorkeling with whale sharks is much more regulated to benefit the sharks. It’s also providing eco-tourism opportunities for the locals.
One thing led to another and next thing you know I’ve planned a 5 night itinerary based around snorkeling with whale sharks and scuba diving with manta rays! You can read the full itinerary here: http://www.expatgetaways.com/diving-ticao-island/
My advice for planning?
Research is key to planning the perfect travel itinerary
Research, research, research. Look on Lonely Planet for inspiration. Check out TripAdvisor for some ideas. Read every travel blog you can find. But always look for more than one opinion to get the full picture. You can even utilize social media to help you find inspiration.
Ask yourself if what you’re booking is ethical
Once you’ve found your perfect tour or hotel look on the companies website and check their “about us” page. Are they a local business or run by some conglomerate? Do they support the environment and local culture?
Book Direct for Peace of Mind
Once you’ve found the right fit, do your best to book direct. Booking agencies like Viator, TripAdvisor and hotel booking sites take a huge chunk of commission. If you go direct 9 times out of 10 the supplier will match the price found online and will be a lot more grateful for the business!
My next trip
The planning is all done and I’m off to Africa for three week with my husband! First stop Zanzibar then onto Victoria Falls, Botswana and Cape Town. We’ve got a mix of beaches, wildlife and wine and doing everything from budget camping to a 5-star tented safari. Be sure to follow Expat Getaways on Instagram for updates on all the action!
Be sure to check out Jess’s blog and follow her adventures on social media: