Dreaming about your next trip to Europe is easy, but planning it can be a nightmare if you don’t know where to start or how to budget properly. This month I started researching our summer trip to Europe in 2017. Ireland and Iceland are a given (I’ve certainly been talking about it long enough!).
Spain, London and Switzerland will probably sneak on the list too so we can visit friends, but Northern Ireland, a country I hadn’t thought much about, started creeping into my mind. Why just travel the ring road of Ireland, when we could compare and contrast Ireland with Northern Ireland, each beautiful in its own way with huge historical and political significance?
Planning a trip to Northern Ireland would be tricky though. I had no idea where to start. I had seen astounding photos of murals and lovely cityscapes, but I didn’t know much more than that. We could fly into Belfast, but where would we stay? What would we do? I didn’t want to do a package tour; that just isn’t our style. I have two boys who need flexibility in their lives, stops at a playground to unwind in the afternoon and multiple stops for ice cream and local sweet (OK, so I encourage that one). I turned to TripCreator.com to get started.
What is TripCreator?
TripCreator is a custom itinerary site that is like no other I’ve seen. First of all, the website is simple. There aren’t multiple options on the page to distract and confuse you. It’s just clean, simple design so you can find the information you need. Currently, the site offers trip to 17 destinations including:
How Does TripCreator Work?
Start out by picking your destination and dates. You will then pick the airport you are flying into and departing from (if multiple airports are available) and set your budget and how busy you want your schedule. Next pick your travel type. Are you looking for adventure, culture, history, nature, sports, wildlife, romance, food or family fun? I usually pick activities that fit into family, food, culture and history for our trips. Within a few seconds TripCreator has come up with an itinerary, which includes hotel, rental car and a driving route that makes sense and won’t have you in your car all day; something my kids would never tolerate. The itinerary is printable so you can mull it over, or you can book immediately.
What activities came up in my search for Northern Ireland? St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh Public Library, Navan Fort, Grand Opera House, Castlereagh Town, Stormont Building, Titanic Studios, Ulster Museum, Inch Abbey, Down Cathedral, Coalisland Town and more popped up on my itinerary. I knew my kids wouldn’t be able to handle too many museums, so I took a few off so I could add in Gleno Waterfall, Mullaghmore Mountain, and my most-anticipated place to see- Giant’s Causeway. When I wasn’t sure what a sight or attraction was I could simply click on it for a full description and photos.
I did a search for our Northern Ireland trip a few different times just to see how our itinerary would shape up if I took off different types of activities, but really I didn’t need to do that. TripCreator allows you to modify your hotels, car rental type and activities without having to start over every time. If you want to stay in one hotel or rental apartment (yes, they include rental properties ideal for families!) the entire time and just day trip from there, you can do that. Or you can jump to a different hotel every night, every other night or every three days. You set the pace.
My favorite part of TripCreator is the budgeting tool though. It tells me right away how much a car and hotel will cost for the length of our trip. No guessing or trying to find a hotel or rental that fits in my budget. If I don’t like an activity I can take it out. I can also add in other activities that don’t appear on my itinerary.
Since TripCreator is an unknown site to many people, it can be intimidating to hand over your bookings to them. It’s OK though. TripCreator uses their partners- Booking.com and RentalCars.com– to book your accommodations and rentals. These are two sites I use often when traveling domestically and abroad. They are known brands that stand behind their services, as does TripCreator. And rumor has it that Viator, a tour booking site, will be jumping on board soon so you can book all of your activities before you leave as well.
One less thing to worry about; one less expense you will have to pay once you arrive at your destination. Do keep in mind that your room type may need to change during your booking process depending on what bed options you require, which will affect the price. When in doubt, hit the chat button to ask a TripCreator expert your questions and make sure you are booking the correct room for the size of your family.
Overall our trip to Northern Ireland is looking good. There is more to do in this small nation with my family than I thought. I now know what a budget will look like once we really diving in to the planning process. Since TripCreator also covers England, Switzerland, Ireland and (hopefully soon) Spain, you can bet I’ll be coming back in the fall when our full travel booking goes into effect. Right now I will continue to gather ideas, and TripCreator can certainly help me do that.
Where will you go with TripCreator?
This post is written as part of a paid partnership with TripCreator. As always, my opinions are my own. When they aren’t you will be the first to know.
Photo credits: Giant Causeway, Basalt Rock Formations, and Belfast via ShutterStock.com