Escape planning tools – quick links

Planning the escape plans can be easy. There are plenty of free resources available on the web to build that plan, customizing your trip with them becomes easy-peasy!

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Book your leave!
Public Holidays – MOM webpage
Tells you when are the long weekends to optimise the annual leaves. On the other hand, if you are looking for cheaper options, avoid the long weekends!

Check out the ticket prices! Decisions might change due to costs!
Flight tickets – Skyscanner
A one stop location for all the ticket prices

Know the weather to prepare yourself! Might not be a good time for travel if its typhoon season, extreme weather conditions, etc.
Weather – Accuweather
Tells you the historical temperature average of the month.
Supplement with – Best time to go
Which gives a nice list of places for different periods of the year.

Decide which area to visit with some popular choices first before the details!
Itinerary – I am old school and so mine usually comes from books (Lonely planet, Rough guides) and brochures from travel agencies, supplementted with info from the web.
Lonely Planet
Fodor’s
Rough guides
Tripadvisor
– Travel agencies like: Dynasty Travels, CTC Travel, ASA Holidays, Chan Brothers, SA Tours
Usually they have itineraries where you can take reference from on the locations to visit and the price.

Plan the detail route taking into account the flight!
Maps – Google maps
You could plan your route, estimate the time, put in rest stops and side routes, etc, with this. This will give you an overall journey plan.

Decide on how to move around!
Internal transportation
– Self drive – I don’t usually go to the bigger as they are expensive, though more reliable. However, just do a precautionary check tripadvisor for the local rental companies for any complaints first before going to them.
– Day trips – Google first and tripadvisor them to see the complaints if there are.
– Public transport – Tripadvisor will give details on the how to do it and visit the official websites of the countries’ public transport to confirm.

Look at the accommodation available!
Accommodation – Agoda
A huge list of hotels to choose from, become a member to earn points for further deductions!
Use in conjunction with – Tripadvisor
The accommodation with most reviews and feedbacks set the expectation, and with accuracy too!
Cheaper and high value options – Airbnb
Though I have not tried it myself, my friends swear by it!

Check the cost of living which gives cost of travel!
Foreign exchange – XE
Tells you how much more or less you need for the trip at that country, useful for price conversion.
Costs of living – Numbeo
Tells you the costs of stuff over at that country, at a currency of your choice.

Work on a template (simple Excel sheet or Google travel itinerary template) with all the information on hand. You should be able to arrive at the total costs of travel and schedule of travel. Make the adjustments to suit your travel expectations and then proceed with the bookings, and prepare for the escape!

Do cater enough time for planning for longer trips to minimize disruptions. However, if the objective is to enjoy the unpredictability of travel, then do otherwise!

Before you fly, it’s worthwhile to go through a checklist.
Checklist
– Comprehensive packing list – Google “Travel packing list” and click on any of the images.
There are more than enough checklist to use on the web.
– For escapes with a baby – Babycenter
Little could go wrong with Babycenter!

Travel insurance – Google online travel insurance
Buying online just before travel, no fuss!