The Best Guide to Planning a trip

Planning a trip can be exciting and overwhelming. Where do you start? How do you know what you’re going to need? I have planned and been on many backpacking adventures so I have gathered all of my best tips for planning a trip

GET INSPIRED

Where on earth do you want to go? This question might easy for some people to answer. Perhaps, you have had a destination in mind for a long time or you have a travel bucket list. For other people, they might not where they want to go or where they can go. There are many places you can do to get inspired, Pinterest is a fantastic place to get inspiration. This is a great search engine loaded with peoples photos, travel advice and the best places to go.

Other inspiration avenues are travel bloggers, travel vloggers, podcasts, Instagram, magazines (eg wanderlist, lonely planet. nat geo traveller) and travel guides. There are so many people that are more than happy to share their travel adventures and stories with you.

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO GET OUT OF YOUR TRIP?

Another important factor to consider when planning your trip is, what do you want to get out of your trip? Do you want to be laying on a beach? Or are you interested in animals and nature? Do you want to spend your entire time partying? Are you into adventure sports? There is no point planning a trip to the Sahara Desert when you’re looking to go snowboarding.

RESEARCH A FEW OPTIONS

Once you have gained some inspiration and have a few ideas of places you might want to go you need to begin researching these places.

There are a few things you need to think about when choosing your destination:

BUDGET

You need to consider the costs of getting to your chosen destination, how long you are going to spend there and how much it will cost when you get there. If you are on a small budget, there is no point flying across to Paris for 6 weeks and staying in a five-star hotel. You may need to reconsider how long you are going for or how the type of accommodation you are going to stay in.

DESTINATIONS LOCATIONS

When you were looking for inspiration if you picked out three of four different countries, suss out how close (or far apart) they are from each other. If you picked Vietnam and Cambodia for example, they are right next door to each other so you can combine these into one trip. If you picked Thailand and Italy, you may need to split these into a couple of trips.

BEST TIMES TO VISIT

Make sure you look at the best times to visit the country you have chosen. Take note of the dry and rainy seasons, when it’s hot and cold, also find out whether the summer is too hot for you or if the winter is too cold. If you want to go to Australia and relax on the beach, June and July are probably not the best months to go as that is winter in Australia. If you want to go to the Christmas markets in Europe you need to plan your trip around Christmas.

PEAK SEASONS

Summertime is usually the peak season for most countries and this can really increase the prices of flights, accommodations and activities and also the availability of these things. If you can, maybe you want to look at travelling in the shoulder seasons, when the weather is still nice but there are less tourists and it can be cheaper.

TIME OFF WORK

You need to determine when you can get time off from your studies or job. If the best time to travel to your chosen destination is in August, but you can only get time off in January, you will need to research how much you might be comprising by going at that time of year. If you feel that you will be comprising too much you may need to choose a new destination for this particular trip.

You also need to consider how much time you have off work. If you only have two weeks and you want to travel to the other side of the world you are going to be pretty rushed. However, if you can travel to a destination that is closer to home you can travel at a more relaxed place and perhaps see more of that region.

TRAVEL BUDDY

Who are you going to go travelling with? A best friend, solo, your family, your partner or a group. This will help you determine where you are going to go, where you feel comfortable going and how safe it is to go travelling.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Talk to people who have been there before, if you don’t know anyone that has been to your destination before, check out websites like Trip Advisor or join a facebook group. Ask questions like where they went, how they got out around, how expensive (or cheap) the place, anything you must know before going.

BOOK THE FLIGHTS

Once you have chosen your destination and you have established when you can go and for how long, it is time to book your flights!! You may want to look for flights through Skyscanner as this compares multiple airlines and can show you the cheapest flights on your chosen dates or it show can you the cheapest time of the month to fly.

Another option to consider if you are under 31, a student or a teacher is Flexi flights with STA Travel. With Flexi flights, you can change your destination but you can change your return date up to three times.

DON’T PLAN TOO MUCH

Don’t plan every second of each day you are away. You want to leave some room for spontaneity. As a general rule, I try to have at most a third of my trip planned. This allows you time to explore your new surroundings without feeling too rushed or like you have to miss out on things.

I would always recommend having at least your first nights accommodation booked. This always you to have somewhere to go as soon as you arrive and you can decide from there what you would like to do.

CREATE A ROUGH ITINERARY

If you have certain trips, activities or excursions you want to go on and you are travelling in peak time, you may want to book these in advance so you do not miss out. I have missed out on visiting the Moulin Rouge every time I have been in Paris because it has been booked out! I have learnt from my mistakes and booked the Moulin Rouge for the second night of my next trip to Paris!!

PREPARE FOR YOUR TRIP

You need to check any visa requirements, this should be done as soon as your book your flights. Some visas can be done online and are very quick, others you need to send your passport away. You don’t want to be stuck without a passport or a visa the day you are leaving for your trip.

Book a visit with the GP to find out the vaccinations that you need. Some vaccinations are expensive but DO NOT try to save money on your health. If something happens, the vaccinations can end up saving you a lot of money.

Travel insurance is a must, health care can be very expensive overseas. It just provides peace of mind if you are travelling with equipment or if something happens to you when you are overseas. I use World Nomads and they are fantastic, they provide you with advice when you are overseas and they are very transparent with their small print. Make sure you check the excesses so you know how much you will be out of pocket in the unlikely event of an emergency.

How are you going to document your trip? Are you going to write a diary, take a camera or just an iPhone? I travel with a Nikon D7500 and find that it takes fantastic photos and is not too bulky for travelling. I also take a GoPro because they are small, compact and easy to carry around and they take some awesome footage.

MONEY

Cash, card or travel card? This is often a personal choice, if you are gone for a week or two you can probably get away with just taking cash. However, if you are gone for longer I would recommend taking a card with you. When dealing with cash, I would not carry more cash than I can afford to lose. If you taking only cash, you may want to keep it in a safe or try and split it up in a few different places. If you are taking a card try and use a card that does not charge you ATM or foreign transaction fees. For example. my ING card doesn’t charge me ATM or foreign transactiosn fees and this saves me a lot of money on the road.

SAVE, SAVE, SAVE

Between the time you book your flights and the time you leave SAVE, SAVE, SAVE. You want to be able to have an amazing time without having to worry too much how much money you have!!

One thing I do to help save some money when planning a trip is using cashback websites! These websites will give you a small amount of cashback on your booking without costing you any extra! They also tend to offer a $10 sign up bonus! Who doesn’t like saving money?

Travel Resources

When you are planning a trip it can be overwhelming know which companies or websites to use! I have compiled all of the resources that I personally use every time I plan a trip.

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Overall, planning a trip should be exciting and stress-free! Let me know how you go on your next trip!!

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