Have you had dreams of an adventure and yet to put together a plan to bring that dream to life, in this article are some tips on how to plan a trip, these will guide you through getting things ready for a perfect vacation.
The ideas for vacation often feel so wonderful, but without going about it the right way, you might end up only seeing the impossibilities and at worse drop the idea.
However, with a bit of preparation and keeping the dream alive, this dream can come into reality.
A lot goes into perfectly planning and executing a travel plan, this article aims to give you some important trip planning tips which will make your trip planning process an easy one.
Are you feeling confused and asking How do I plan a trip?, here is a step guide on how to plan a trip.
How to Plan your Next Trip
1. Choose Your Destination
Before you travel, the first thing is to decide where you want to go. Some people are a bit indecisive on how to present where they are headed.
Try as much as possible not to be vague when picking a destination. The importance of this can’t be overemphasized.
Can you mentally picture this difference? “I will visit London in the winter” and “I will visit a place in the winter”. This is the base for your building and makes your planning easier. You work with guided direction because you have a place in mind.
2. Determine the Length your Trip
It is not only essential to know the cost of where you are visiting. It is a good one but you should not be clouded by that alone. Are you going to be away for a week? A month or a year?
Some people may have a specific vacation length probably as a result of their professional engagement or kind of work. Some others could be visa or savings restrictions.
This would help you save unbudgeted costs. So, spend quality time thinking over this until you get an answer.
3. Are you Traveling Alone or with Someone?
One big decision to make here is knowing if you’ll be going alone or traveling with a partner. They both are great options but it is highly dependent on your choice.
A solo travel gives you that liberty of going wherever you want to. Like, you just move wherever you wish to. But, it involves you planning everything yourself (may not be easy, especially for newbies).
Traveling with a partner means you respect that person’s presence. But, you have someone who helps you in planning the trip. At least, you have someone you can chat with, spend a good time on the road, or discuss relevant matters.
No one is a wrong choice anyway, would you like to meet travel buddies, here is a guide on how to find a travel buddy to assist you on ways to find one.
4. Research Your Costs
Now, you know your destination and length of your trip, the next is to know how much it would cost you.
To get this done, you have to research the cost of your location and the style of travel you would like. It may not be easy but knowing these would help you pen your costs down.
Would you need a hostel or would you lodge in luxury hotels?
What type of restaurants would you visit? Are there side attractions you have in mind?
It is good you know how these would affect you financially, for example, travelers who choose lodge inexpensive hotels or dining in high-class restaurants end up spending more money!
This is a guide on making research costs
- Procure a guidebook on your location of interest
- Check out communities, join online forums and social groups relating to this.
- Search on Google the specific items, attractions, and accommodation with the prices
- Read up good blog post relating to your location on travel websites
- Resist the temptation of going overboard when planning.
5. Make and Save Money
Now you are done with the overall cost of your trip, next up is gathering that amount of money.
First off, you have to bear in mind how much you have at hand and also how much you need to spend. I advise you to keep a detailed list of your current expenses so you have a clear view of how you spend. It helps you to cut back once you’re overshooting.
People to spend daily on unnecessary ventures thereby incurring avoidable expenses. It hovers often around small purchases and they keep building up.
Decide on how much you are to save per day and stand by it. A piggybank would be of help.
6. Obtain a Travel Rewards Credit Card
While you are saving money, get a travel credit card. It opens you to the added benefits attached to owning the card.
Some of them focus more on the cash back rewards while some offer you travel deals. The benefits may include earning sign-up bonuses and some points for your free flights, restaurant deals and hotel reservations, and more.
Most cards, these days offer you up to 50,000 points or more towards their flight by just meeting their minimum spending requirement.
Very essential is you sign up for a card with offers you the rewards you desire. So, feel free to select from the list the card that matches your preferences.
Most professional travelers are now masters in the art of gathering points and miles through credit cards. Putting these cards in good use could be a difference between years of travel and a week-long vacation.
7. Get a No-Fee ATM Cards
When you move abroad, you might need cash mainly. While some countries accept the use of credit cards, some others adore cash the more.
Hence, the need for ATM for withdrawal of local currency. You are going to get hit by the ATM charges.
Like we’ve already established, try to cut out any form of little recurring cost, they accumulate and you would be surprised how much you save by avoiding them.
So, if you are going to stay away for a long period, I advise you to do something in that regards so that banks don’t chew into your hard-earned money
Before starting your trip, you should get a no-fee ATM for withdrawals.
You can check your local bank for listings of these banks that operate these cards. Any bank within the Global ATM Alliance as they don’t charge such fees.
8. Remain focused and Continually Inspired
As you get closer to achieving your goal, your desire to travel must be kept alive.
Planning your travel can be stressful and exhausting. It even becomes more tiring if your family and friends are not in full support of your trip.
This lack of enthusiasm from relatives has discouraged some people and even made them lose their desire.
There are a vast number of ways to remain upbeat and focused before you begin your trip. I will help you with some.
- Read up books that would inspire you about adventure and traveling.
- Follow and read blogs with a post about travelers and their experiences.
- Follow and join social media platforms where find full-time travelers. Engage yourself with their content.
- Be updated on any news regarding your destination.
- See movies about traveling.
- Pay zero attention to naysayers and gainsayers.
9. Anticipate and Look Out for Last-Minute Deals
Before you book a hotel or purchase a flight ticket, please have the patience to check for some last-minute discounts. You are potentially saving hundreds of dollars on your holiday if you get the right offer.
It would not hurt checking for these deals even if you have chosen a destination already. Hopefully, an offer you can’t resist would show up.
Tokyo may have been on your mind, but then you see and offer in Helsinki. You may find a week cruise for 60% off to the Bahamas or 70% off sailing trips around Lakeland.
You could save a reasonable amount of money if you exercise flexibility as a traveler.
10. Note Down Country-Specific Requirements
There are specific requirements that are peculiar to different countries. Vaccinations and visas as very important requirements you have to place in your mind when planning your trip.
For example, China and Nepal have as a requirement that every citizen of the U.S must apply for a visa before gaining entry into their countries.
However, most European countries do not need visa applications from any U.S citizen. They accept the United States passport as a visa for tourism.
This is the same with vaccinations, some countries require you to show proof of vaccination when you arrive.
11. Book Your Flight
By now, you must have paid for your travel credit card, met the minimum requirement (limit), and received the sign-up bonus and reward miles.
Formerly, it was not tough booking a flight with reward miles, but now it’s not the same way. The reason is because then they were not much more available? So, to beat this, do ensure you place bookings very early.
Also, you try to avoid being on a flight where you are made to pay more for just tickets. here are some recommended sites.
- Momondo – A great platform for finding cheap flights.
- Skyscanner – Skyscanner is one of the best websites for searching multiple destinations at the same time.
- Google Flights – Like Skyscanner, Google Flights is great for open searches to multiple destinations.
- Kiwi – Kiwi is great for finding lesser-known routes or smaller carriers.
- AirTreks – AirTreks focuses exclusively on multi-destination RTW tickets.
- For the best deals, book your flight about two-three months in advance.
12. Book your Accommodation
After you’ve confirmed your flight, it is now safe to book your accommodation. You should wait after confirmation of your flight to book a place for yourself. Little changes in flight schedule may bring about costs you never imagined.
If your trip is for a fixed schedule, go ahead and book an accommodation covering that period before you leave.
Let’s say, you’ll be traveling for two weeks. You are free to book the accommodation that is for the duration of these 2 weeks all at once.
But, if your trip would be more than 2 weeks (or some long-term), then you are advised to book your accommodation for the first few days. You can pay more as you stay more days.
Checkup these go-to sites for the best deals in accommodation, they are Hostelworld, Agoda, Booking.com, Airbnb.
If you wish on staying in various hotels during your visit, then sign up for a hotel credit card before you leave.
Obtain cards from Marriott’s Bonvoy Boundless. They offer a massive welcome bonus and give you six time the points in hotel stays and even get a yearly free hotel stay.
13. Make a Plan of your Activities
There is no vacation without activities to take in during the period. Hence, you must make a list of the main activities you want to get involved in or enjoying during your travel.
Ensure you have a well-budgeted list with the attaching costs.
In a bid to achieve that, you can make some adjustments to the way you save. It helps you make more money for your trip.
Also, search for discounts. Some of the countries give you discount in person while others offer a discount based on early bookings
In the end, the list of activities helps in giving you this concrete direction. Because you are working with priorities, hence you don’t spend unnecessarily.
14. Sell off Some Properties
Now, if you are making a long-term trip, (let’s say about 6 months, probably more) its expedient you sell off some of your belongings.
First is this, you would make some reasonable amount of money from the sales. I tell you, you’ll be surprised how much you realized at the end.
Secondly, you need not pay for storage! Imagine complete 6 months. That is huge! You can calculate how much it would cost you to store these stuffs for the said time.
So, before making such a long duration trip, start selling about 2 months before your set date. Here are some recommended sites to sell those properties.
- Amazon – Largest online store in the world.
- Craigslist – Classified site, reaching global and locals.
- eBay – An online classified website
- Facebook Marketplace – Here you can find buyers close to you
- Gumtree – online classified site having main focus in Australia and the UK
This step can be skipped if you are not going for long.
15. Switch to Automated Emails
Leaving for a trip does not mean other aspects of your life should change. Before you travel, you should set your emails to paperless options.
Go paperless and ensure you have an online bill payment set up to foot your recurring bills. You would not want to miss any while you are away. You can do this by contacting your bank, they will help with the automation setup.
But, if you still need a paper mail, then Earth Class Mail is at your service. They can access your mail and scan them while you’re off.
Also note that this step is optional, If you wouldn’t stay for long, then skip this too.
You can still switch your mail to a family member or a friend, that’s if you don’t want to pay for mail service. Overall, automation of emails is simple, cheap, easy, and reliable.
16. Inform your Credit Card Company of your Trip
It does not matter how long your trip will be. It would be wise to inform your credit card companies that you will be going overseas.
With this notification, they wouldn’t mark any of your transactions over there as fraudulent and the risk of blocking your card is blotted off.
It’s not fun to sit on the phone discussing with your credit card company trying to iron out issues while enjoying your holiday.
Ensure you have diverse credit and debit cards in your wallet. With this, you remain safe if one card is stolen or gets flagged or even gets lost. So, with this backup, you still enjoy your trip.
17. Time to Pack
Here is one aspect of traveling that often take a deal on most travelers? People tend to exhibit mixed feelings about when it comes to packing for a trip.
It is could be full of emotions because you would maybe stuck in packing a lot of belongings in “just a case”. But that is the opposite, because when it comes to traveling, it is less.
You don’t need to pack 6 pairs of shoes and 4 sweaters. You just get by it less. So you must be able to strike a balance on what you will be using so as not to pack a whole lot. Expect you are visiting varying climates.
Overpacking can lead to discomfort in your walks, expensive transportation costs, and the likes. So do everything best to avoid the whole hassle.
There are things you can always get abroad so, there is no need to come with them from home. You can easily do your laundry, you can purchase some stuffs by the road, so why bother?
There is one working rule of thumb you can apply here. That is, remove 20% of whatever you packed initially. The remainder will amount to something reasonable that will last s few months.
18. Purchase a Travel Insurance
A lot of persons make this mistake of ignoring the procurement of a travel insurance `and even forgo the coverage at the same time.
Some of them say, “It is not necessarily getting an insurance, I’m not sick. I’m very healthy.” Their thoughts tell them no reason why they should buy travel insurance while on holiday.
There is more to travel insurance than just the health protection. This insurance covers you when a flight is canceled, or when your camera gets damaged, or something belonging to you gets damaged or there is a need you go back home to attend to an emergency.
It may look like an added expense, yea. But it is better not to be stranded in difficult situations like these. You can’t tell what would happen next.
We strongly recommend World Nomads. They are good at providing quality insurance. Then for the elderly (over 70 years of age), Insure my Trip is the best.
19. Have Super Fun on your Trip
Now that everything is in place, it’s time to leave, and don’t forget to have fun.
After, finalizing your bookings (all of them), and having your activities all ready, head straight to the airport and board your plane.
Look up, you’ve got to enjoy this, it is the fruits of your labor. You will be amazed at the number of months some people spend in preparation and working out their vacation, only to end up hating their trip.
Put up positivity! True that some people have genuine misfortunes abroad, but a good number of times, travelers suffer from their poor attitude.
You may be nervous (that’s normal for some situations), but don’t let it weigh you down. Trust your plans, show positive. Also, do well to protect your money during your travel to avoid any frustrating situations during your trip, this is an experience of a lifetime, so it’s going to be full of goodness. I guarantee you that.
Irrespective of the timeframe of your trip, this guide will help you stay motivated as you plan. Pin this article and implement these ideas towards achieving that dream vacation.