Over the last 12 days, I visited Lisbon, Seville, Deia and Barcelona. This was a trip six months in the planning. Here are a few of my recommendations to you for planning your next dream escape.
Why Spain and Portugal? Primarily because I hadn’t been before and they are safe. As a solo female traveler (who has done the whole violent country thing) my mom likes to buy off on safe adventures. Spain and Portugal are also a little cheaper than the rest of Europe and reportedly great for retirees… not that I’m anywhere near there, but who doesn’t like to pretend shop for future neighborhoods?
- Kayak.com: Kayak is my favorite website for two things, comparing flights and housing an entire itinerary. You don’t need to book everything via Kayak, you can just send confirmation emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and add tours, hotels, flights, cars, or anything else to one trip itinerary. I love having all of my confirmation numbers, check in times all in one place, and then writing little notes to myself about whether breakfast is included or I requested an early check in,etc.
- Viator.com: Before leaving on this trip I had two tours booked (one in Lisbon and one in Barcelona). In actuality I went on four tours. Viator is a great option for viewing all of the tour options in a city and comparing inclusions, pickup times and prices all in one place. I have also booked Viator tours in Rome, Capri, San Francisco and Nassau.
- Pinterest.com: I am a big fan of creating a board on Pinterest for each destination I am planning. It is a wonderful place to keep articles, photos, restaurant reviews, basic language translations, and customs for referencing later.
- My newest trip planning App is Tripomatic. I upgraded for the map availability when I was offline and not connected to WiFi and found this to be great. I started using it to roughly plan my daily itineraries and it was fantastic to have the routes mapped to each of the sites I wanted to see, in order to walk in a logical path. Also, I found the restaurants that were featured in the App to be very good. I went to at least three of them during this trip.
In addition to these online resources, I enjoy reading the New York Times 36 Hours articles, watching Rick Steves and Anthony Bourdain, and in general learning what other people loved and disliked about a place so that I can weigh how I want to spend my valuable vacation time and dollars best!
I hope you will enjoy reading about my Iberian Peninsula likes and dislikes soon! Please share your tips for a great trip, I would love to learn from you.