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February Newsletter
Good morning! Now the long slog of January is out of the way, I feel like we can all move on with our years after getting those 28,071 gloomy days out of the way. I'm over exaggerating because January is actually quite the time for celebration in the Newton household as I'm just nuts for Capricorn and Aquarius lads and lasses, so dry Jan was well and truly off the cards round here. Now the hangovers have finally subsidised we're attempting to create some sort of plan for our 2020. One of the high priorities? Travel. I'm always asked how we plan our trips, so today I'm sharing the knowledge. Here's how to factor in some fun ol' adventures into the next 11 months...

 

Lesson #27

How To Plan Your 2020 Travels

There are many things that Mark and I do not work together well on; the arranging of items in the dishwasher, any baking activity that involves exact measurements (Mark goes down to the 0.1 gram and I do not) or leaving the house on time. But planning holidays? That we can do. We arranged our almost month-long honeymoon in New Zealand over a free weekend we had, we sorted out an itinerary for our three week California road trip and had the holiday of a lifetime. Want a holiday planned? We're your guys. So today I'm sharing the steps that we go through when it comes to planning all our holidays; no matter the length or destination. Here's what to do from start to finish...
 
GET THE TIME OFF 
The first step is to physically get the time off work. Whether that's putting a request in with your boss or looking at what is financially viable if you're self-employed. Personally I try to plan longer trips around times of the year that are historically a little quieter for me; the lull between Christmas and New Year's is always a good one as is the first three months of the year. 

BUDGET VS. DESTINATION 
Mark and I have a joint list of dream destinations that we would love to visit together, so at the beginning of each year we sit down and work out what ones we think we could fit in and afford over the coming 12 months (and sometimes beyond if it's a real big trip). Balance your list with your budget and see what's possible, when married with the time you can get off of work. Always check the price of flights and what's the best season to visit too, before you get the ball rolling. 
 
BOOK FLIGHTS 
The first 'OMG WE'RE ACTUALLY GOING!' step comes when we book flights. We try to do this as early as possible so we can shop around and find the best deals out there.  Of course SkyScanner* is the obvious choice here and is good for getting to grips with possible flight times and carriers you can use, but after being burnt one too many times on resell sights, we tend to book our flights direct with whoever we're flying with (check the prices on laptop, mobile and tablet if you have them all as it sometimes works out cheaper on tablet we've found in the past). 
 
THE LOGISTICS 
We like to get the logistics out of the way at this point. Firstly check the VISA conditions and apply as soon as you can. Also look into any vaccinations you might need. How are you going to get around at your destination? Are you planning to move around or just stay in one place? We find the Lonely Planet* guides really handy when it comes to itineraries if we've decided to do more of a road trip vibe. If you do move around I'd suggest staying more than one night at each destination so you don't feel too rushed. 
 
BOOK ACCOMMODATION
When it comes to accommodation we use a variety of tools to search them out. If it's a city break we'll often use Airbnb*, or if those are coming up pricey or we can't find one available in the area we're looking at then I'll search 'Best Boutique Hotels in X' and see what comes up within budget. A personal recommendation is best so I always keep a note of places that people recommend or screen grab IG Stories of other bloggers who have stayed there. For longer trips we have a rule of one more fancy place, followed by a slightly more budget pick and repeat that cycle to keep the costs from skyrocketing. If you want to go ALL OUT I do love Mr & Mrs Smith, and then for more affordable finds Booking.com has always sorted us out (as always we double check the hotels direct to see if they can offer a better deal). 
 
FINALISE ARRANGEMENTS
Closer to departure date we smooth out all the finer details. We book airport parking at this end or arrange a lift from good ol' Dad. We sort out airport transfers on the other end; whether it's working out our public transport route, or just knowing where to grab a taxi from. Then we sort out any transport we need for when we're there; again arranging taxis, plotting routes on CityMapper or booking a rental car. 
 
MAKE YOUR OWN TRIP ADVISOR 
No matter how long our trip is I do love to make a little recommendations document before we leave. Of course I'm lucky enough to have you guys who pile on the suggestions by the bucketload which is always much appreciated, but even if you collate the info by a good ol' search online (the Culture Trip is always a good place to start), or friends and family. I like to note down possible places to visit like museums, parks, walks to do or just general areas to wander around, then places to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner at. 
 
COLLATE INFORMATION 
Because I am my Father's daughter I do enjoy a printed document with all the information on. So I usually make a document with the flight details, accommodation information and then my mini personal Trip Advisor with any reservation or booking information for restaurants or activities on there too. I add it to my phone so it's easy to find and send it to all other parties on the trip. THEN, you're ready to go. 
 

YOUR 2020 HOLIDAY CHECKLIST 

1. Get the time off work
2. Weigh up your budget against your dream destination list
3. Book flights 
4. Look at travel options and work out an itinerary
5. Arrange VISA & get vaccinations if required 
6. Book accommodation
7. Arrange transfers and any transport at your destination 
8. Ask for recommendations and do research to create your own mini Trip Advisor
9. Create a document containing the following:
- VISA
- Flights
- Accommodation
- Transfers
- Transport
- Recommendations
10. BON VOYAGE! 

A Point In The Right Direction

If you're going to read one of my recommendations this month, then make it this. A call for policy change and how Girlboss culture has shifted over the years. 
I'm not usually a chicken soup fan, but this soup is so unreal that it's going to be top of my list next time someone is under the weather. SO. MUCH. TASTE. 
I just adore Bella Mackie's writing and the work she does around de-stigmatising mental health. Such an important read and a demonstration in how there's still a long way to go around conversations about mental health in the media. 
This one does what it says on the tin and digs deeps into the culture of policing 'correct' female behaviour. Use one of your four free views of Atlantic articles on this one for sure

In case you missed it

How To Plan Your Year How I set about planning out my 2020; from a yearly overview to how that breaks down into daily to-do lists. 
The Updated New York GuideFrom the best budget hotel to our daily itinerary for our five-day trip, it's *ALL* in this blog post. 
The Annual Beauty DeclutterWhat's turned into my now annual declutter, where I sort through every single beauty product I own.
My 2020 Capsule PlansAn outline of my plans for my capsule wardrobe and making purchases over the next 12 months. 

Four THINGS I’VE BEEN LOVING THIS MONTH

& Other Stories Chunky Boots* AOS just do big ol' boots so darn well. Love the gold detailing.
Sezane Gaspard Jumper* I need more knitwear like a hole in the head, but this cardigan is LUSH.
Topshop Editor Jeans* These are the best high-street vintage-style pick out there, hands down.
& Other Stories Mock Neck* Slightly cropped so good to tuck into jeans and in such a brilliant shade.
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