Being a hodophile, experience teaches many things, some of which are not even imagined or expected though. I am sure several readers would agree with me. Experience is something that every human go through in every phase of life – as a student, worker, traveler, or whatever you’re doing.
When I was a kid, I used to wonder about the people who travel a lot that they must be rich as well as familiar with those places already. But, the reality was just the opposite. Apart from my innocent fantasies, I realized the fact when I started planning my trips.
Not to mention, trip planning is a daunting task. Where to begin? What all things to include?
It is exciting at the same time when you are doing something for the first time. With the advancement in technology, it has become easier to gather information as social media platforms are much active to help in all ways to give a long list of tips and tricks. Consequently, one can drown in the sea of these numerous tips.
No worries! I am here to sort all the confusions with my simple steps for planning your next trip or the first trip. Talking about myself, I have been living my dream as a traveler for many years. So, you can trust and follow my tested and tried tips to save yourself from being stuck in an unknown place.
1. SIT BACK AND RESEARCH
Scenic views, beautiful architectures, and on the top – friend’s last visited places usually allure us more than anything. Well, I made a mistake by deciding a solo trip to Colorado in summers by looking at my friend’s pictures that were actually captured in the spring. Alas! without research about the place made me suffer (not much actually).
There’s nothing to say when an adventurer’s mind wants to invade the beaches, the mountains, or the forest. However, choosing the right destination for each season is a primary factor in understanding how to plan a trip successfully.
For ease, write note on the following important points:
- ❖ Place: Choose the right destination according to your time and budget. Exploring a new place does not require to loosen your pocket more than it needs to be. Being a wise traveler, I would suggest you start your journey from the nearest possible tourist place. It would not boost your confidence only but also help to encourage for the next plan. It works for me every time. You may also give it a try.
- ❖ Perfect Season: The best combination work wonders like when place and season suit your adventure right! I love to roam in the streets of Spain especially during the spring. As summers are a bit hotter there. So, I choose this season to roam around and capture the beauty of that place.
- ❖ Easy To Access: Ease of accessibility or lack is one of the factors that may force to think twice on your decision of picking the destination. So pick a location according to your needs and facilities.
2. DECIDE THE DURATION OF YOUR JOURNEY
Are you planning for a week? A month or a year?
Wait! Have you outlined your budget?
Eventually, deciding the duration of your trip can solve this puzzle in no time. Although no destination has a predefined ideal period. It often depends on the touring plans and purpose of visiting the destination. Therefore, spend some time and evaluate until you get your answer.
Keep these following points in mind before finalizing the duration of your trip:
- ❖ The trip can be for two days, a week, month and so on. It also depends upon the distance you are going to cover. For instance, when I choose a destination within 8 hours, I prefer to go on weekends by utilizing nights for travelling.
- ❖ A simple estimate may help to decide the number of trip days. Let’s pick the key point, a journey with urban destinations will need more time in sightseeing and hence a longer trip duration. Whereas a trip to a beach would not have much sightseeing and therefore, a shorter time to spend.
- ❖ A Smart Tip – Always keep an extra day that exceeds seven days. This will compensate for things like traffic jams, flight delays, or a weather hold-up.
3. RESEARCH YOUR COSTS
So now you know where you are going and for how long. Your next part of planning is to research the costs for your destination by the style of travel you want.
First thing first, it completely depends on you. Have you decided to stay at luxury hotels or you want to backpack? Well if I had to talk about myself, I usually prefer to estimate my pocket-size according to the hotels, restaurants, and attractions. Besides, one of the best sources to gather information is Google prices. It helps me like anything.
That’s all you need to know to set your expenditure. Moreover, if you dive deep into this sea of web then it might turn you to get lost in the ocean of information.
For instance, you pick to visit Spain for 10 days, you need to spend an average of USD 48 per day. For this, we need to save an amount of at least USD 960. I suggest you keep an extra amount always for rainy days. So, your budget hikes up to USD 1,000. Rest it’s up to a person how he/she spend money. Let me know about your spending behavior, are you a miser or a spendthrift like me?
4. BEGIN YOUR SAVINGS
At this moment you know how much you are going to payout. So penny-pinching is not a bad idea for living your amazing travel. Want to know how to cut cost from day to day expenses?
Follow me again!
Pen down all your current outlay to determine where you are spending money and how you can cut back.
Despite it, what snack do you like to have with coffee?
People squander money every day through small purchases. To change spending habits, first, you need to understand them. Making a list is going to do exactly that. It will also give a stronger outlook on your financial needs.
Suppose, you need USD 1,000 for your trip in four months. That means you need to save USD 8.33. Simply, look out the way to save just USD 8. Does your daily snack or coffee cost equal to or more than $8?
If you face difficulty in saving money then the following points are written especially for you.
- ➢ Cut the coffee or save extra spending on everyday snacks.
- ➢ Find a roommate – Rent your spare room. Like this you can easily earn side money as well as get a companion.
- ➢ Disconnect your landline
- ➢ Get a new credit card – A travel card may give you free rooms, flights or even free money. Also, you may redeem the earned reward points for free travel.
- ➢ Be updated with the airline offers by signing up for travel newsletters.
- ➢ Replace your light bulbs to energy-efficient light bulbs. Yes seriously! It works – my proven experience. Buy items in wholesale or in discount offers.
- ➢ Your unimportant stuff in apartment might be an essential thing for others. Sell it right away and help them. At the same time, make money.
- ➢ Skipping movies – Ummmm!! If I had to skip movies to save money, it’s hard for me. So, you can ignore this suggestion. Instead you should stop alcohol intake and smoke for a healthy and happy lifestyle.
I am sure, now you know very well how to control your hand on money. Rest, plan the savings according to the size of your target.
5. KEEP YOUR INNER TRAVELER ALIVE
Travel planning can be grueling and unnerving especially when you have no support from your family or shortage of finances. However, don’t lose the spirit to fly in the open sky. The best way to stay focused on feeding your desire to travel is to follow your favorite travel buffers.
Besides, it is important to notice that once every traveler had to go through hard times in the journey to pursue their dreams. If I talk about my experience, it was miserable as I had to cross several limitations – from family restrictions to my small earnings. But I never let my inner bird cut its wings. Rather crying and sitting at the corner, be inspired and encourage yourself to see the beautiful world.
Always remember, no one can stop you. Only you can!
6. KEEP AN EYE ON LAST MINUTE DEALS
Okay! before booking flights or trains or even hotel bookings, check the deals. You are advised not to ignore it. Being in a tight competition in the travel industry, there are several deals available that offer an exciting price or even complimentary services.
Keep your eye and notifications open to make the right decision. Who knows you might get a package deal to Bali or many more than you expect in less amount.
7. TIME TO BOOK YOUR TICKETS
There is no perfect time to do the right thing. But bookings are equally important along with the right decisions before you find yourself lost the best offer. Though book your flights in advance for a cheaper one. My long route travels are generally planned 3 months before grabbing the best offer.
Make sure, everything that glitters is not gold. So, one must be aware of the frauds that are almost everywhere even on the websites to allure the customers and grab money.
I make bookings from trustworthy websites by ignoring glossy offers.
Do you want to know more about in-expensive flight booking tricks too? I would be happy to share below.
Of course, I know you are flexible enough to travel around the world. Here I am talking about the flexibility in dates.
You might be familiar with the fact that airfares are higher in the season of travel and lower in off-seasons. Whereas it is also believed that airfares vary with the holidays like Christmas, new year, thanksgiving, or fourth July. My planning for travel is unusual as I chose to travel in a different time where I can explore more in that place instead of following a crowd of tourists.
My two motives are achieved in this way – lower fares and more adventure.
In contrast, it’s not sensible to reach a place in immense hot days. A good travel bird needs to be wise at the same time. For instance, the best time to visit New York in April to June and also in September to early November – Google says. Also, the airfares are lowest from mid-January to the end of February. Though I make wise decisions rather than foolish ones. The month of January is cold enough for me to roam around the city. Therefore, I choose the month of September – it suits my budget as well as expectations of having possibly fewer tourists.
Well, that’s my choice. In your case, the choice is yours.
A healthy reminder – avoid holidays and weekends for your vacations. Also, booking on weekdays is one of the smart moves as the fares are less expensive.
Avoid Direct Flights
Comparing the costs of direct flight and a connecting flight is worth. From this, I came to know there is a difference of lots of bucks.
Instead of flying direct to Australia, I chose to land Singapore first and then flew towards my destination. It saved my bunch of bucks. So, being flexible in routes can actually work magically.
Before using this method, a comparison of prices in both the flying routes is a must. Easypeasy, Google Flights is the best platform to get this task done correctly.
If you are a student, you are super lucky! There are many, many discounts available for you. Students may usually get 20-30% off the standard fare.
Further, keep a check on airline partners. Most student discounts transfer over to airline miles and it is the best opportunity to contact them and get all the information of your valid offers. By which you may come to know about the airline partners which implies you can use the student discount on partner airlines.
8. SELECT ACCOMMODATION OF YOUR CHOICE
The accommodation depends on the numbers of days a person select to stay there. Initiating from the shortest span of duration, if you are traveling within two weeks then make bookings for the complete duration.
Secondly, if it is more than two weeks, reserving first few weeks is good to go. With time, you might be moving to other places after that.
I prefer flexible bookings as I move further after spending a few first nights at one place and leave in search of the next adventure.
Moreover, booking accommodation is no more rocket science nowadays. Many online options are available that are ready to offer the best at a comparable price.
Whereas long term travelers, one of the interesting option that I really enjoy is house sitting. They offer free accommodation in exchange for their pet sitting or any other essential job to be done.
9. BE YOUR OWN ACTIVITIES PLANNER
Scratch from an outline and then go in-depth. To make sure you are done with the above strategies, make a list of major activities you are most interested in. This will help in prioritizing your activities especially when you have short of days. Make any last-minute adjustments, check out the latest discounts for reservations – these can be done easily when you have arranged the activities according to your interest.
For adventures like water sports, safari rides, boat riding, or any activity – it is good to get your booking at the spot. They can give a better price and even chances for a bargain are higher.
Whether it is a short trip or long, I generally prefer my bookings prior. Rest, if you are confident enough to book at the spot then no one is stopping you. Although keep the public holidays of that place in mind.
10. TIME TO PACK YOUR BAGS
I clearly remember I visit Sydney in 2015 after checking the weather conditions, and unwelcome weather-change affected my trip. I lost no time and bought warm clothes and made changes my plan as it used to be stormy in the evenings and rainy sometimes.
After this amazing experience, I can forget anything but not extra stuff for unexpected times. It helps a lot.
The same advice goes for my readers who are planning their first trip or the next one, precaution is always better. That doesn’t mean you need 5 sweaters, 8 jumpers and 6 pair of shoes. Keeping one extra useful thing is enough. It does not harm your baggage weight rather save your bucks to buy things in an emergency.
What Are You Waiting For!!
Now, head to the airport and board towards your destination. It’s time to go on a trip and have fun.
In case you are feeling nervous, that’s perfectly normal. This post is especially to help you in planning an upcoming adventure without any mistake.
Remember, life is full of adventures. If you face anything unplanned “in case”, will surely give you a new experience. So, trust your instincts and open wings of your inner bird.
P.S. – Don’t forget your visa and vacations information in excitement!