Planning An Overseas Adventure - London, Paris & Brighton

Sunday, April 8, 2018
I've been blabbering on about my upcoming trip for so long now that it's high time you guys get to see some actual trip content! When this goes live I'll be in Paris, probably stuffing my face with an unsightly number of the beautiful pastries from S├ębastien Gaudard near our hotel. We will have just wrapped up a week in London, my favorite city in the world, and will soon be heading to Brighton to wander around North Laine and check out the beautiful Royal Pavilion. When I'm on vacation I just want to be feeling laid back, relaxed and free to leisurely wander from sight to sight, not stressed out about where we'll eat next, what we want to do or how we'll fit it all in. Having a vacation that's actually relaxing is totally possible, so long as you put in a bit of pre-vacation planning. Let's take a look at how I went about planning our overseas adventure and what plans we came up with!

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The Nitty Gritty

The first step to any adventure is of course just committing to doing it. Nothing becomes very real to me until we've got transport and accommodation booked. To kick that off, we first had to nail down some dates. Pick an off-season time to save yourself some money and time you might have otherwise spent jostling your way through crowds. Make sure you check the weather where you're going too, so you don't end up booking your trip right in the middle of monsoon season or the coldest parts of the year (unless of course you're into that?). Local holidays and customs are important to check as well, or you might end up in Paris in August when practically everything is closed!

Flights are probably going to be one of the biggest expenses if, like me, you're crossing either the Atlantic or Pacific. While Europe has tons of budget options for flying internationally, they're only starting to pick up in America. We booked through Norwegian Airlines and got some really insanely cheap prices, but we also looked at Aer Lingus and Wow Airlines. Make sure you read the baggage restrictions and whats included with your ticket really carefully when you're booking a budget airline, because you often have to pay extra for almost every other little thing.

When looking for a place to stay, I'm sure all of you probably instinctively know to hit up the Airbnb app. In every city we're going to on this trip the Airbnb options were so much cheaper than hotels, but always check! Don't forget about local bed and breakfasts or even hostels if you're really looking to travel cheaply.

Tools Of The Trade

After you've nailed down where you'll be going and when, it's time to dive into what to do while you're there! To organize all the info I'm going to search for, I make a board on Trello with a list for every city I am going to visit. For every place I find interesting, restaurant I want to eat at or great link I find, I'll make a card for the list. At the end of all my research it's really easy to start organizing all the individual tips into an actual plan by making a list for every day of the trip and arranging the cards appropriately.

Another tool I find extremely helpful is Google Maps. Everybody surely already knows how helpful they are for finding where things are, but you can also make your own maps with pinned locations. I made a map for each city and added everything I put on my Trello board. If you do that, it's really easy to see what's near each other and figure out good groupings of things to do in a single area. Here are the maps I created for London, Paris and Brighton. I've got way more things pinned on this board than I could accomplish in this trip, but for me these are more about options. If I find myself in a certain area I can easily see what other fun things are nearby, or pick a restaurant to go to.

To find great places to visit or eat, I pour through all my usual guidebooks -- 36 Hours: Europe, Wallpaper* City Guides, 500 Hidden Secrets of... books. Lonely Planet is great for knowing what to see, and oftentimes cooking magazine websites like Bon Appetit have a lot of good recommendations for what to eat in various cities. I even found some good tips from Buzzfeed this time! I also check out blogs for tips. Some of my favorite sources for this trip have been The Anna Edit, Lily Pebbles, Adventurous Kate and What Olivia Did.

After a few hours of searching, I usually have a good list of ideas. Here are some of my ideas for our trip to London, Brighton and Paris:

london trip planning travel uk united kingdom

London Ideas

London Transport Museum
Victoria and Albert Museum
Hampstead Heath
Free walking tours from New Europe Tours

Granger & Co

Oliver Bonas
Liberty London
Jo Malone
The Ordinary

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Paris Ideas

Musee d'Orsay
Le Jardin de Luxembourg

Du Pain et des Idees
L'as du Fallafel
L'Eclair de Genie
Le comptoir

La Tresorerie

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Brighton Ideas

Royal Pavilion
Hove seafront
Brighton Palace Pier

Fatto a Mano
The Flour Pot
Cin Cin
Boho Gelato

Workshop Living
Abode Living
Our Daily Edit

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