Bucketlist2Life

How to plan your next trip

Author Carina Klein
Carina
· 6 min read · 8 comments

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TL;DR

You are wondering "How do I plan my next vacation?" – We show you how we plan our holidays using resources like blogs, YouTube, Pinterest, and maps. We show you how to find things to do and places to visit in Athens, Greece. We use Athens as an example but this travel guide is not only useful for city trips but also for day trips and longer backpacking trips. Even if you're on a package or all-inclusive holiday, this guide can help you to find highlights in the area as well as off the beaten path activities.

You are new to travel or you simply have unlearned travelling over the past year? Worry not, because this guide shows you how to have your best experience on your next holiday. Make sure not to miss the highlights and find some hidden gems. And you will be super flexible: You can either create a complete itinerary for your next trip or simply collect ideas. And you can easily add local recommendations or tips from other travellers on the road.

I used to organize all my travels in excel sheets I printed out and later in google tables, which were at least accessible on the go. I never felt quite right to only have a list with no idea about the locations and the distances. Later on, I added markers on my google maps to get a spatial reference. But that meant that I had my spreadsheet with the details like sources and personal notes on one side and the google map with all the locations on the other side.

Nowadays, I plan my travels with our handy bucketlist2life app. Here, I can add markers for sights, activities, hotels, and restaurants. I can decide whether this place is a must-have or only nice to have. I can add notes and links to further resources. When I'm on the road, I can navigate on the map using GPS. Afterwards, I can check off the things I've done to keep everything clear. And let's be honest: It's fun ticking things off of lists – especially if it's your bucketlist.

First overview

The first websites I check out when travelling to a new city are Wikivoyage and Wikitravel. These websites give you a great overview of different areas in the city or country and how to reach them. In Athens, I chose to base myself in Monastiraki because it's super central and I found a cheap hostel.

I'll fly to Athens from Berlin, Germany. The airport is 27 km (17 miles) east of the city centre. The best way to reach Monastiraki Square seems to be the metro. I love walking and the centre of Athens seems to be very walkable. Additionally, I'll have free internet data because Greece is part of the EU.

I like to start my city trips with a free walking tour. They only seem to run in the mornings and evening during the Athens summer, so I'll try and take one on my first evening.

Bucketlist2life app used on a laptop in Athens
My hostel's rooftop terrace, literally the best spot for an overview

Blogs and Pinterest

After I get a first overview of the main sights on Wikivoyage and Wikitravel, I read blogs to find local recommendations and hidden gems in a new area. I mostly look on Google, but I try to use Pinterest more.

The Acropolis

The Acropolis is the quintessential thing to do in Athens. Contrary to what you think at first, it's a huge complex made from several buildings. You can see several things on the way up like the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the Beulé Gate, the Monument of Agrippa, the Propylaia, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Old Temple of Athena Polias.

As a history nerd, I plan to buy the special ticket package, which also includes the Agora, the Kerameikos, Hadrian's Library, the Lykeion, the Olympieio as well as the north and south slope of the Acropolis.

Screenshot of the Bucketlist2life app with links attached to the acropolis-marker
Different points of interest on the Acropolis hill as well as resources

Other things to do

Other areas that sound interesting are the neighbourhoods of Plaka, especially Anafiotika. Who wouldn't like some Greek island flair in the middle of the capital?

Close to Monastiraki Square, there is the Monastiraki flea market as well as the Psiri neighbourhood with loads of street art. Another market that sounds interesting is the Varvakios Food Market.

The parliament on Syntagma square is a must, too. Additionally, the ceremony of the Changing of the Guards takes place here every hour. The adjacent Panepistimiou Street with its neoclassical buildings sounds lovely, too.

Mostly, I just like to wander around with some ideas of nice places to go in mind as well as interesting sights or restaurants along the way.

Bucketlist2life app used on a smartphone in Athens
Navigating my way to find the best sunset spot

Food

When travelling, I normally conduct extensive research about the local food. Oftentimes, I consult Wikipedia for a list of traditional dishes. We've already been to Greece and the Greek cuisine is one of our staples at home as well. Still, I browse the blogs for new inspiration. I found out that I need to step up my meze game and try courgette balls, tomato fritters, taramasalata, and fava dip.

Vlogs on Youtube

I turn to YouTube to find personal opinions and get a better feeling for the place. For myself, the medium film works better than the written word in this regard. Every time I watch a vlog ( and I tend to do this a lot) and I see something interesting, I put a little marker on my handy bucketlist2life map with the link and a short description so I can remember the spot and the source.

I completely fell in love with the Athens Vlog of Travellight. The way she just wanders the streets looks amazing and I hope I can find this area with the directions she gives. I also enjoy some more "listy" videos like 15 things to do in Athens. A go-to channel of mine is TheEndlessAdventure. I enjoy their combination of sights and foods and I have noted two of the viewpoints they recommend: Lycabettus and Filopappou Hill.

Of course, the travel food master is Mark Wiens. I already visited many places he recommended and tried many of the foods and he never disappointed. In fact, all of the amazing food we ate in Amman, Jordan was inspired by him.

Screenshot of the Bucketlist2life app with markers in Athens
Overview over all my Athens plans

How to move on

Contrary to my nature (you might have guessed by now that I'm an over-planner), I have no plans on how to move on whatsoever.

I'm certain that I want to visit one of the lovely Mediterranean beaches after my city break but I'm not sure whether I'll stay close to Athens, travel to an island like Aegina, or move to the Thessaloniki area. I guess you have to stick around and both of us will find out 😉

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8 Comments

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Peggy Zipperer

15.08.2021, 23:32

Such great information! Plus, now I'm ready to leave for Greece!

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

10.09.2021, 08:12

Who isn't ready to go to Greece? We are definitely ready to go back...

John Quinn

28.07.2021, 12:43

I think we all have our own way of planning a trip. I never use Wikitravel. I still love to use travel guides such as lonely planet or eyewitness to get a sense of a place. Then go to blogs for opinions. I think push on to the islands next. Thessaloniki is a poor mans Athens.

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

28.07.2021, 14:54

I'm beyond saving. Sitting in Thessaloniki right now^^

Shannon Fitlifeandtravel

27.07.2021, 23:27

Thank you for such an informative post, and the travel tips! We use some of your resources that you list here as well for our planning, but I hate to admit it; we love to be spontaneous. So therefore, we don't put as much time into planning a trip as maybe we should. Everyday is a surprise.

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

29.07.2021, 13:18

I try to travel more spontaneous at the moment. I start to realize that it's hard to have everything planned out. Especially on a longer trip.

Chalk and cheese travels

27.07.2021, 21:53

Some great tips will have to check out wiki travels ill be honest I have never used.

I'm more of the picker of a trip whilst Michelle is the planner I follow the leader 😀

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Chalk & Cheese Travels

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Looking for travel tips on the best food spots and ‘not-to-be-missed’ attractions without wasting precious holiday time…you’re in the right place! Well and truly bitten by the travel bug, my…

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

29.07.2021, 13:30

How funny that the picker and the planner are not the same person. I'm not sure how good I would be at planning a trip that Philipp picked...

Jen Nilsson

27.07.2021, 19:44

I'm pretty sure that I unlearned how to travel. I feel so rusty at the airport and it used to be my second home! Thanks for the tips. I'm going to need them as I pack my bags again!

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

29.07.2021, 13:26

I am so rusty. I completely forgot to pack as well. My backpack is way too heavy and I haven't needed many of the things yet...

Smalltownplussize Tom

27.07.2021, 16:41

Hi Carina. You are a much more detailed planner than us! We will do a little research but we like to travel with some spontaneity since you never know what you will find. I have never used wikitravel but now I’m going to look into it. Where can we find your app?

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

29.07.2021, 13:37

And I already had the feeling to not have planned this trip very carefully. It's funny how few people use wikitravel. Our app is not yet publicly available but our Newsletter subscribers get up to date information once a month. I hope we'll be able to beta test soon!

wendy white

27.07.2021, 15:25

I’m a huge planner too but tend to google everything, read travel blogs and sometimes Pinterest. I’ve never though to use Wikitravel, will have to look at that.

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Welcome to Perthtravelers, a travel site dedicated to helping you plan your dream holiday. We promise you honest reviews of destinations we have been to.

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

28.07.2021, 14:58

I think it's interesting how few people use Wikitravel... I wouldn't know where to start googling...

lannie

27.07.2021, 14:08

How funny that you use Wikivoyage and Wikitravel. I rarely use those! Google is basically my best friend. Looks like the app is coming along great!

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

28.07.2021, 14:55

Interesting that so little people use these sites! On google I never know where to start...