For the things that make my shortlist, I put links to the reviews in my planning document so I can go back to them later.
I also pick out a few details from the reviews to help me remember them, e.g. “this is the one with the farting dragon painting* .”
For each place you decide to shortlist:
- get its website address into your document as a hyperlink [type its name in Word, then hop across to your browser to copy the site’s URL, then back to Word, select the place’s name, press ctrl-K (PC) or cmd-K (Mac) and paste the URL into the resulting window]. There’s an example at the bottom of this section
- locate it on a map – there’s often a map inset on the place’s website – and place it on your custom Google map.
- Look up how to get to it by public transit.
- Check when it’s open, because that will probably affect your sequencing.
- Read through the TripAdvisor reviews for tips on how long you might stay, what to look for or avoid, or whatever.
Look for events. I usually check via Google, but note that:
- many annual events are slow to update for the coming year
- tourist site calendars are uneven and are often filled with small local things that are on for months but listed every day
- for music check Pollstar.com for the places you’re going.
As your trip takes shape, go to the TripAdvisor forum for the city or area to get some specifics.
Read and search first, then ask questions if necessary.
- Be careful to choose a suitable forum, and note that there are some overlaps; at first, be as specific as you can: If you’re going to Wengen, Switzerland, look for the Wengen forum before the Bernese Alps forum, and that one before the Switzerland forum.
- You can be amazingly specific with questions, and for many locations you’ll get an expert answer within a few hours.
* It’s in the church of Santa Maria Novella, in Florence, Italy.
In the following pages, I’ll show you the development over time of the planning document entry for one place.