Planning a trip can be a daunting task. Thinking about anything more than which destination you want to travel to takes a bit more time. I have some tips and tricks for even the most unversed of traveler. The easy part is saving up and planning, the tough part is deciding where to go and what to spend your money on once you get there. None of this needs to be stressful and you’ll learn quickly that with a few tricks of the trade, you’ll be able to save some money in the process, too.
As long as you have an open mind and a passion for travel despite where it is, you’ll gain something from this post. Some of these tips might sound familiar while others could open up a whole new world of adventure for you.
As a general rule when you are planning for a trip, there are a few main areas you need to consider:
- Pick Destination
- Get Travel Insurance/Visa
- Have Fun
Pick out a destination
What is your mood for the vacation? A serene calm place or a bustling place, an adventurous camp or a romantic holiday. First start by deciding where you want to go. Investigate some interesting places, the internet is great for this. You can look at national park sites, city tourist sites, and even Wikipedia are good sources.
Once you have a destination in mind, it’s time to decide how long you can go there for. This means if you’re in full time employment, checking with your boss about time off. If you work for yourself, figure out how long you can stay away without it affecting your work.
Before fully committing to the Vacation, you need to make sure you can afford to stay in the country of your choice for the period of time you’ve chosen. If you aren’t ok with staying in a shared hostel then research hotel prices, cost of a self-catering apartment, restaurant prices, tourist attractions and more. All of this will help you plan the best holiday possible.
Once you know how much your trip is going to cost you, it’s time to start saving. The sooner you start this process the more money you’ll have. Try to cut back on frivolous daily spending, such as bottled water, the Starbucks large coffee you order on your way to work every day and learn how to cook so you can cut down on expensive dinners out every other day. A small daily saving can, over the course of 6 months or so, pay for a lot (and sometimes, all, of your trip).
Accommodation, Attractions & Activities
The 3 A’s
Accommodation varies on who i am travelling and what my budget is. For example if i am going in a hotel then is the place to go to find the best price on a website. But if you’re on a budget, look at hostels and airbnbs or even couchsurfing.Do a thorough research for your desired hotel, check their ratings, reviews, photographs, and book either through telephone or online.
Start making a rough list of places you want to go to and things you want to see. Check things like timings and cost of entry to sites for foreigners, which in some countries are higher than cost for locals. This is even true for the U.S. I went to Orlando last year and getting into Universal is higher for peolpe coming from out of town (Which that was my first and last time going to Universal).
Travel insurance should be a non-negotiable addition to your holiday itinerary and will protect you when a flight is canceled, you’re robbed or you break your leg while hiking.
Visa and Vaccination
A lot of people don’t realise this but a lot of places in the world require visa and vaccination before the trip so research is important.
Possibly one of the most important parts to consider before going on a trip is to find out if you need a visa to enter your country of choice. Visas are an entire other task which can require different documents that you need to submit. Some visas even require a face-to-face interview while others are as easy as getting the visa at the airport.
The most important thing to remember when packing is you need to pack appropriately for the weather and culture of your destination. For example do not pack ski jackets when travelling to Singapore.
A short checklist of all the items you need is also highly recommended. I usually like to start about 2 weeks ahead of time so I can wash the things I need, get any medication I might need, make sure everything fits in my bags, etc. I usually try to do carry on only, so I bring clothes that mix and match and can be washed along the way. You can check your airline for the size bag that is allowed for carry on. They usually allow two items for carry on, a small suitcase and a purse, backpack, laptop case, small bag, etc. Make sure you check the airline regulations for toiletries. In the US you are allowed a quart sized bag filled with liquid, gel or paste toiletries that are in containers no larger than 3 ounces each. Also, make sure you don’t take anything sharp or pointy on board the plane, it will be confiscated at security.
Don’t overthink it once you land, make friends but stay alert, explore, stay away from social media and concentrate on having fun.