Travel Tips

Destination Research Before Booking

One of the biggest lessons that I gained from my trip to Melbourne is that a little destination research goes a long way. I booked my trip and headed off with no idea what other factors could impact the price of flights or hotels in the destination.

There are three things that I could have done a little better with if I had put in a bit more time and effort. These included how I choose the time off and how I went about booking my flights and Accommodation. Before this though there is one thing you need to do, and that is Destination Research.

Start With Destination Research

Every major city in the world at some point in the year has events that will impact people traveling there. Whether it is a public holiday, a one-day convention, or a week long event.

The easiest way to find out about what might be going on in a city is an internet search. There are two easy options to try “Upcoming holidays in *city name*” or “What’s on in *city name*.” It is worth reading a couple of the results just to make sure that you don’t miss something. As some sites will only promote their events. However, I would expect that in the first couple of results you will get a good idea of what might be happening.

There are two reasons for doing this destination research. The first is that when you arrive or while staying in a city some services may be impacted. Public holidays can see limited tours and public transport, or altered times for tourist attractions. The second is that major events can have big impacts on the cost of travel to the city and accommodation rates on some days.

Destination Research - What's on

Booking Time Off Work

In some ways, this is where I made my first mistake. But let’s not call it a mistake, let’s just call it a lesson in what not to do next time. I just booked a week off work without doing any destination research.

Although to be honest, this is not a mistake it was the next step that was the biggest lesson. I could have chosen to go just about anywhere that I wanted with this week off.

Booking The Flights

Once my week at work was confirm, I decided to get in and secure some flights. Often flights do tend to jump in price as the time gets closer, so I wanted to get this done. Since the dates were already somewhat close.

I had decided to visit Melbourne for the week from the 20th-27th March. The flights were a little more expensive than I was hoping but were not to badly priced. It was on the next step that the realization something might be happening.

Booking Accommodation

I left it at having the flights booked for about a week, before starting to look at accommodation. I was expecting that I would pay a little more for a room on Friday and Saturday night. However, what I found, did shock me a little, without having any prior knowledge as to why.

Not only did I find Friday and Saturday to be double the regular weeknights, but Thursday was also quite expensive. It was at this point that I decided a little destination research might be in order. The result is that the week I had booked to fly to Melbourne, is the week of the Formula 1 Grand Prix. Which of course explained the reason for the fairly expensive accommodation.

An Expensive Lesson

In the end, I found a hotel that was still expensive, but not as bad as most. I could have gone for the option of paying to change the flights and visit another city. However, when you consider the fees to change the flights, I decided just to accept the lesson from this experience and still enjoy the holiday.

When have you paid for learning a lesson with traveling or booking a holiday? Why not let me know in the comments below.

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