You might have read the title of this post and thought “are you kidding me?” Yes, today I’m talking about how to plan a trip because sometimes not knowing where to start can be a barrier to starting and if you’ve never planned a trip before, it’s nice to have a guideline! So, don’t fear, your type-A, adventure-loving, travel enthusiast is here to give you some pointers.
1. What’s your budget?
You’ll need to budget for food, transportation, hotel, activities, and souvenirs. Some cities/countries are more expensive to visit than others. Figure out your dollar amount to help you decide where to go, when to go, where to stay, and what activities to enjoy.
2. Where do you want to go?
Read travel websites like Travel + Leisure or explore Pinterest to get some ideas. Also consider doing a general search for “best bucket list trips” or ask your friends. If you’re deciding between a couple of places, think about your budget and possible activities you could do in each location.
3. When should you go?
So you’ve got your location down, now look up the best time to go based on weather and cost. For example, while it’s cheaper to go to the Caribbean during hurricane season, it’s hurricane season, which could mean rain, cancelled excursions and flight delays. Also, flying mid-week could mean cheaper flight fares.
4. How long should you go?
As long as possible! As long as your vacation days will let you! As long as your budget allows!
5. Book your flight. Book your hotel.
You usually book your flight first unless you’re unable to book certain dates at a hotel where you want to stay. Additionally, book additional connecting transportation (planes, trains, ferries, buses) if you’re visiting multiple cities or countries.
6. Make sure your documents are ready.
Passport, visa, travel insurance, and travel credit card. If you need any of these things, be sure you have enough time for them to process it for you. Read my post about things to prepare internationally for more information.
7. Plan your itinerary.
All booked? Now comes the fun part: deciding what to do. Make a list of sights and restaurants you want to visit. You can roughly plan where to go each day.
Tips to make the planning easier:
-Get started early. This will allow you to set aside travel funds, save money with earlybird tickets and keep you calm when you’re not making plans last minute.
-Quick internet searches on a location will turn up many articles. Read it all and gather the info. You may even find itineraries already laid out for you.
-Use guide books like Rick Steves or Lonely Planet. People have done the hard work for you and gathered a lot of good information. These will give you helpful hotel, restaurant, and sightseeing recommendations.
-Check my guide for efficient packing.
-All of this too much for you? Travel with type-A friends or a type-A significant other who can do all the planning for you! You could also look into cruises and group tours if you want to get your feet wet.
Have questions? Let me know!
What tips do you have for planning a trip?