This is another edition of Q&A with Bailey & Vince!
Our first few Q&A sessions will be posted here on the actual site, and we'll gradually transition them over to our newsletter. So....
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This week's topic is how we plan for our trips. Thank you to everyone that sent us a question for this Q & A!
Are you guys really detailed trip planners, or are you more spur-of-the-moment?
We're kind of a mix of both?
We like to create a list of places and restaurants we'd like to visit, but we leave our day-to-day schedule pretty open after that.
For example, anytime we go to NYC we create a list of all of these places we want to see. We group together all of the sights and bites that are in the same area (Upper East Side, Chelsea, Midtown, etc.) and try do those things on the same day to save time and minimize travel between activities. But we always make sure to leave time for spontaneous activities recommended to us by locals.
How do you research a brand new destination?
If you can believe it, we often start with Wikipedia! It usually has the broadest information about a new place, and that gives us a good base to move forward with. From there, we move to sites like Expedia and Travelocity to see reviews and learn more about specific activities. And don't forget travel blogs! We planned the vast majority of our Iceland road trip based on itineraries we saw on other blogs like Bruised Passports and Alex in Wanderland. We would never have had such a wonderful itinerary without their input and expertise!
How do you find the hotels you're staying in?
We start by searching for hotels where we are members of their loyalty programs. If we have points to use, that's even better! If we can't any hotels we're members of in the area we branch out to boutiques and Airbnb lodging. I personally am a huge fan of Airbnbs because they make me feel more like a local. They especially great when traveling in large groups because you can rent a multi-bedroom apartment or house and all stay together!
How do you pick which activities you'll do on a trip?
We like to try to find a mix of "touristy" activities and off-the-beaten-path activities. Tourist sights are often popular for a reason, be in their iconic nature (Eiffel Tower, anyone?), their beauty (Eiffel Tower, anyone?) or their history. So we do like to check those off our lists sometimes.
Beyond that, we like to ask locals (or blogs!) for more unique and less busy activities and restaurants so we can get a better feel of the true essence of the place we're visiting.
How do you avoid tourist traps?
Online reviews! If something is in the top 5-10 hits on Expedia for a city, it's probably a tourist trap, or at least super super touristy. That's not necessarily a bad thing (see answer above), but it can be quite deflating to fill your trip with guided tours and huge crowds of iPad-carrying tourists.
Honestly, the very best way to avoid tourists traps is to ask locals and get their input on sights and bites worth adding to your list.