For me, planning a trip is a key step in getting excited about the trip. I like to read up on areas and things to do and make a list of things I may like to see and do. I’ll get my destination in mind then start building my plan from that.
When I’m planning, I love travel books like Lonely Planet and Let’s Go because I still refuse to admit my age and “backpacking” is still a lot of fun. Other books are great but they focus more on higher end hotels and sites. I like like the challenge of traveling cheap because it’s more of an adventure. There is nothing wrong with spending money but I like the flavor of finding your own way rather then having the hotel shuttle bus pick you up at the airport.
My hope is that this site will help travelers get a feel for how I did my trip and maybe help them plan their’s. I have no intention of making this commercial in any way but where applicable I will include links to web sites that helped me.
I often book my major flights (travel there and around a region) but not the smaller flight for side trips. I also often dont book hotels unless I think crowds or location are important to the trip (close to a conference or friends)
I also find that airfare is less expensive outside the US. Find local travel agents to help you, they often have very good travel deals. Also, student travel orginizations (like StaTravel) are great places to find really good travel specials!