When planning my study abroad trip to Australia, I knew that I would be on a strict budget. However, I still wanted to make sure that I was able to see as much as possible in the short 6 weeks that I would be in the country. So I used a few tools for planning my trip that I have found very useful, and I believe these can be useful for others when planning similar trips.

Flight Alerts
I have always been a planner, so I began planning my trip as soon as I was accepted to the program in February. The first thing I did was set up alerts on cheap flights so that I could track the cheapest prices across various airlines. I have found that Tuesdays are typically the best day of the week to find the cheapest rates.

Facebook Recommendations
Next, I started asking friends and family who had visited the cities I would be in what they did while they were there. I posted on Facebook which cities I planned to visit and asked for feedback on must-see sights, places to eat, etc. I got a lot of feedback based on these posts, which then led me to the next stage of my research…finding the excursions.

Lonely Planet
I began searching for weekend excursions by looking through Lonely Planet to find different options that would take me to where my friends and family recommended for cheap rates and at a great value. Lonely Planet gives unique analyses on various half-day or full-day excursions that you can take with different local companies in each city. Once you find a few that you like, the site will reroute you to either TripAdvisor or Viator to purchase your excursion. I was able to find all of the things I wanted to do for cheap prices and at great values based on these searches!

Google Sheets
Finally, when I was trying to organize all of my weekends, I decided to use Google Sheets to organize my days down to the hour to keep up with all of my purchases, links, reservations, etc. Google Sheets is a great tool for organizing trips because you can share the link with others who can then go in and comment/give advice on what you have organized. This was very helpful for me not only for getting advice on what I had planned so far, but also to keep my friends and family updated on what I am doing throughout my trip. They can easily log on and see any changes I make to my plans and know exactly where I will be at just about any hour during my weekend trips. You can even see what all I am doing by clicking the link below!