How to get as much information as possible before travelling to countries you have never been to?

I haven’t travelled for about 5 years really far away. Because i was working in the winter, because I was busy with other things, because of health issues etc. But now I decided I give myself a birthday present in November on my 35th birthday and surprise myself with a long-haul journey. I will travel to New York City – Fort Lauderdale – Playa del Carmen – Havana. For almost a month travelling, celebrating my birthday at my best friend’s.
I can’t turn back because I have already booked the flight tickets so now I have to go…:)
With this article I might help you how to get information about countries that need extra care (Cuba is not just Germany to go and be there) and maybe you can give me some tips where else I can get more information.

Flight tickets
Skyscanner – absolute top best. Then it directs you to some other web pages, mostly I liked the kiwi.com, bravofly.com, lastminute.com. And it even can direct you to flight companies web pages.

Hotels
Booking.com – I usually book here my hotels
Tripadvisor  also connects you with agoda, Opodo, booking.com , Expedia, hotels.com
Hostels.com – cheap hotels, not just hostels
For Cuba the above web sites don’t work, because you can’t book there anything. I was checking the casas particulares web sites, the Homestay is relatively ok. But at last I decided I rather stay in a hotel, so on the www.booked.net web site you can find options to book.

About what to do
Tripadvisor! The best, there you can find rating, which activity/sight is the most popular. I think you can trust this website and the ‘top 10 things to do’.

Travel Bloggers’ web sites
50 most popular travel blogger – some can be really useful, how to prepare yourself, what to bring, what not to do!

Instagram
I like instagram very much, i am relatively new there, but I must suggest you to use it if you like beautiful travel pictures of different destinations. Here are some sites I have found, there you can find many nice travel accounts:
8 Beautiful Instagram Accounts to Discover Cuba

MY 6 FAVOURITE CUBA INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS

New York City’s 13 Best Instagram Accounts

These are the NYC Instagram accounts you absolutely need to be following right now 

10 food-loving Instagram accounts to follow in NYC 

Really Got an Eye for the City: 9 NYC Instagram Accounts You Absolutely Have to Follow This Fall

Best Florida Instagram Accounts to Follow – The Florida Living Magazine | The Florida Living Magazine

13 Must-Follow Instagrammers in Fort Lauderdale

18 Instagram Accounts That Will Make You Want to Visit Mexico Right Now

20 INSTAGRAMS THAT PROVE MEXICO IS THE MOST COLORFUL PLACE ON EARTH 

20 Awesome Instagram Travel Photographers You Need To Follow 

Wanderlust inspiration: 15 best travel Instagram accounts to follow in 2015 

Blog INK 361 Travel accounts

Travel planner
INSPIROCK: This web site is really great, it helps you plan your trip day by day. Gives suggestions what to do, shows how long it takes from one sight to the other, what you can do on one day. Small description of the sights, photos, other travellers’ plans, so here you can also use some stuff to set up your own travel plan.

Wikitravel
Havana: http://wikitravel.org/en/Havana
New York City: http://wikitravel.org/en/New_York_City
FORT LAUDERDALE: http://wikitravel.org/en/Fort_Lauderdale
Playa del Carmen: http://wikitravel.org/en/Playa_del_Carmen

My travel blog is not about advertising, I DO NOT SUGGEST YOU ANYTHING TO GO TO THIS AND THAT WEB SITE AND BOOK THERE ANYTHING, but I think raising attention to some web sites might help you to plan your trips and you spare much time and don’t have to look for them for a long time like I did. I have found these, I share the results of my weeks-long searching.

There are 2 terms, tourist or traveller, here you can see what is the difference. (Traveller vs Tourist)

I am a traveller but i like to be touristy. If i go to eg. Paris that can’t happen that i don’t go up to the Eiffel tower because that is too touristy (yeah, so?), everyone does that (and? can you go to the Eiffel tower in the city/town/country where you live?), maybe next time (with this I can’t do anything, what if there is no next time?), too expensive (If i have money I travel, and enjoy it, If i don’t have money I don’t travel, that is so simple), no time (yeah, do a priority list).
So that is why I collected a list of things I want to see, I want to do. It took a long time to write down. It doesn’t mean I will do all of them, but these interest me, so from this list I will choose. Hopefully as many I can do as possible 🙂 I am sure on this list you also can find many that you would do/see when you are in these destinations, because for these sights/things we travel to these countries.

The bucket list 🙂

New York City, USA

  • Cruise along Lady Liberty
  • Do an early morning jogging in the Central Park
  • Visit the Top of the Rock and see from above the Empire State Building
  • Watch the lights at the Times Square in the evening
  • Eat pizza in Little Italy
  • Visit the 9/11 Memorial
  • Go to a Broadway show (this not possibly happens but let’s put it onto the list)
  • Cross the Brooklyn Bridge and watch the sunset from there
  • Check Tiffany’s windows like Holly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s) on the 5th Avenue
  • See the dinos in the American Museum of Natural History
  • Eat a street hot dog
  • Check Friend’s House in Greenwich Village

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

  • Sunbathe on one of the beaches in Florida, for example on the South Miami Beach
  • Do an Airboat Tour in the Everglades Natural Park, in the swamp and hug an alligator at the alligator show
  • See the Southernmost Point of the USA in Key West
  • Visit Hemingway’s House in Key West
  • See the canals Fort Lauderdale is famous for by boat (it is called the Venice of America)

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

  • Chichen Itza an absolute must, the most famous Mayan Ruin
  • Eat as much Mexican food as possible 🙂
  • Jump in a Cenote (underwater cave) and swim/snorkel there
  • Climb up to the Pyramid of Coba
  • Ride in a collectivo (group taxi) with locals
  • Rent a scooter and discover Isla Cozumel or Isla Mujeres
  • Walk the 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen – tons of restaurants & shops
  • Visit the Tulum Ruins that stands on the Riviera Maya shore
  • Taste some tequila and see how it is made in a Tequila Store
  • Watch the sunrise on the Playa del Carmen beach
  • Eat fresh fish on the beach
  • Swim and see the stalactites at the Rio Secreto
  • Go to the Xplor Theme Park and experience the full adventure, zip lines, cave swimming etc

Havana, Cuba

  • Walk along El Malecon at sunset
  • Visit the Museo Hemingway in San Francisco de Paula
  • Go around Old Havana (La Habana Vieja) in an Old Car
  • Visit a Cigar Factory and smoke a cigar
  • Drink a mojito in Hemingway’s Bar, La Bodeguita del Medio
  • Go to Trinidad by bus and see the colourful houses there
  • See the Museo de la Revolucion and get to know a bit the life story of Che Guevara
  • Buy a T-shirt with Che on it
  • Eat at a street vendor truck (yuck, i don’t know if I will dare to…)
  • Go to the Playa del Este, to the beach where the locals go

So I have been preparing myself, and have started to dream already how it will be 🙂

Email me to vlengei@yahoo.com your tips/ideas/suggestions 🙂

Vicky

Note: none of the pictures are mine, i downloaded them from the internet!

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2 thoughts on “How to get as much information as possible before travelling to countries you have never been to?

Add yours

  1. Ciao Victoria!
    Thanks for featuring my top 6 Instagram Cuba-accounts on your website. I saw some other links which were really interesting too, which I will check out. Let me know when you wrote about your trip to Cuba. Will you be taking dance classes too ;-)?

    X
    To her steps
    Follow my life as a salsera in Amsterdam

    Like

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