I get asked questions all the time on where to start when planning a trip. Whether it’s to Europe or an around-the-world adventure, there’s a few things to keep in mind that will help get you on the right track to the adventure of a lifetime. Now I’m talking about a trip, not a vacation, there’s a big difference. Anyone and their Grandma could book and plan an all-inclusive vacay.
Here are some of those tips and tricks:
Where do you want to go?
Most people already have a clue where they want to go before they decide to take a trip, but on occasion, people just know they want to go somewhere, just where is the big question? Start your research online, look at a map, pin-point some places that seem interesting and then look up everything you can find about them. Throw the countries name into Google images and see what it looks like, walk the streets with Google Maps, or read other peoples blogs or tips on traveling there. This will help you come to a conclusion of places you want to go, or at least a short list.
How long do you have?
This is oh-so important on planning your trip. Many people only have limited time to go on a trip so often this time off will help you determine where you want to go. Some countries take a lot longer than a 1-week vacation, others you can see in a few days, but remember, there is nothing worse than cramming too much into a trip & once you’re there regretting not having more time in each place.
Look at how much time you have, look at where you want to go, and craft a realistic schedule. Not sure how long you should spend in each place? Turn to travel forums, you’ll more than likely find someone with the same question! Another way to help you create a schedule is to look at all the things you’d want to do in each country, or city, how many days will you need to accomplish all those things?
Book your main flights!
Once you have a schedule determined, and the time off work, you’re ready to book your returning flight. Where are you going to fly in and out of? Book your main (and most expensive) flight and then it’s now official, all you have left to do is fill in all the blanks in between.
You have sometime to worry about this. You really don’t have to start thinking about it till the month before you leave, and some places you can wait to figure out till you get there. If you’d rather plan ahead like I like doing for this sort of thing, then look at your schedule from day one and slowly make your way through it with booking all your internal transportation – such as flights, buses, trains, etc.
Where are you staying?
Many people also wait to book accommodations till they are in the country, but also many countries book up during peak seasons well in advance. It’s better to be safe than sorry, if you know where you’re going to be, book in advance! Who wants to waste a day on your trip trekking around on hunt of a free bed to sleep in?
This will probably take the longest of booking because you want to make sure you not only stay in a decent place, but also in an optimal area. Many websites will claim they are “close” to main attractions but close means 2 boats, 3 trains, and a helicopter away. To save this from happening, reviews will become your best friend! Look up reviews but make sure you don’t take every single one too seriously, people will always have SOMETHING to complain about! Also look at a map of where the hostel or hotel is located and look up some key landmarks, and areas that you’d like to see and make sure it falls in the area.
Yes this may sound old school, and yes you’ll probably have a phone or device on you where you can show confirmations BUT phones get stolen quite frequently and you don’t want to be left with nothing. Print your confirmations to not only have as a reminder of times, places, addresses, etc. but also in case you show up for a flight, or hotel, and they claim they have no record of a reservation (yes it happens).
You’re done! It may have taken A LOT of time but you’re set for your journey! Enjoy the ride 😉