Are you feeling stressed about planning your next vacation? Or are you not sure where to start? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Trip planning can be both an exciting and an overwhelming process, but it is the key to reducing the risk of unwelcome surprises and can even help you stretch your travel budget a little further. So here are some tips to get you started!
1. Create a budget
The first thing you should do when planning a trip is to make a budget. It is important to know how much money you can realistically afford to spend on your trip. This will help determine where you can travel to, how long you can travel for, what kind of accommodation you can afford, and just about every other aspect of your trip.
2. Make a list of possible destinations
There are countless amazing places to visit in the world. Your bucket list will only grow the more you explore! So, where do you begin? Consider what you want to get out of the trip. Are you looking for a peaceful escape to a sandy beach? Or, perhaps you're seeking an adventure-filled journey? Maybe you want to immerse yourself in a different culture or explore a bustling city.
Now you can do a quick search to find destinations that fit the type of trip you're looking for. Consider the best time to travel to each country, as this can help narrow down your options. Think about the weather, activities, and special events during the time you want to go. Additionally, take into account the high, low, and shoulder seasons, as this can affect pricing.
3. Determine which destinations fit your budget
Now that you have a list of places you want to go, have a look at how far your budget will stretch in each one. You can check websites like Budget Your Trip to get an idea of what you can expect to spend per day. This won't be the exact amount you need to budget, but it can give you a rough idea. While some regions are more expensive than others, don't immediately rule them out if you have a tight budget. Consider areas, such as accommodation or transportation, where you could compromise in order to stay within your budget. Would you still be getting the trip you wanted? If you feel like you'd have to give up too much, cross it off your list and consider more budget-friendly destinations.
4. Check entry requirements
Before investing your time in planning a trip, ensure you can actually go there. Many websites contain outdated or incorrect information on entry requirements. To be safe, check the government travel website* of the country you want to visit. Make sure you meet all requirements that apply to your nationality, including any additional requirements for obtaining visas.
* There are plenty of blogs out there with information on entry requirements, but these are sometimes outdated or incorrect which can make things very confusing. It’s better to just go straight to the source and get your information directly from government websites, that way you know you’ve got the most up-to-date and reliable information.
5. Decide the duration of your trip
You probably already have an idea of when you want to travel but doing some flight research to see when is the best time to fly can help you nail down your exact dates. Check out our full post on how to do this here. Once you have your dates, you can break down your budget to determine how much you can spend each day.
6. Do your research
Research is key when it comes to planning a trip. Knowing what you want to do while you are there will help make your trip more stress-free and allow you to pack in more of the things you’re interested in. Make a list of everything that interests you and write down the cost of each of them. Here are some things you’ll want to research:
Activities & attractions
Events such as concerts, markets, cultural performances
Restaurants or places to try local food
Some people prefer spontaneous travel, with minimal planning. If this is your travel style, doing some research beforehand can still be beneficial. Being aware of activities you might be interested in doing can help you make the most of your travel time, instead of having to do the research on the road for days when you haven't found something to do.
7. Create your itinerary
This is the most time-consuming part but it is also when everything starts coming together! The itinerary can be as detailed or as flexible as you want, but the more you plan, the more you can fit in and you can often get better prices. Prioritize the places from your list and create a schedule, factoring in logistical details such as:
How you will get there (including cost)
Opening and closing times
Peak hours or times to avoid visiting
Group together activities that are nearby on the same day to save you from backtracking. Keep a running total of these costs to ensure you stay within your budget, and make sure you leave a bit of a buffer for unexpected expenses.
8. Start booking
Finally, it’s time to make this trip official! Booking ahead of time allows you to take advantage of the best deals for flights, accommodation, and sometimes, activities. If you see a good deal, don’t sit on it because it could be gone by the next time you look at it. If you need some suggestions on the best sites for booking your trip, our resources page has helpful links.
9. Buy travel insurance
No trip planning is complete until you’ve bought travel insurance. While it can feel like an unnecessary purchase, particularly if you’re on a budget, it’s a small investment that can save you a lot of hassle and heartache in the long run. Unfortunately, unexpected things can happen - like lost luggage, flight cancellations, or even medical emergencies. The last thing you want to worry about when you're supposed to be relaxing and having fun is dealing with the financial and logistical fallout of this all on your own.
It's not something anyone likes to think about, but it's important to be prepared, which is why we never travel without insurance. We use Safety Wing for their super affordable and comprehensive plans that have us covered no matter where in the world we are.
10. Let us do it for you!
If you’ve got to the end of this post and you’re thinking “wow, I already feel stressed at the thought of planning a stress-free trip”, then sit back, relax, and let us take care of it for you!
Or maybe, you’re short of time and feeling overwhelmed at the thought of poring over endless travel guides, sifting through countless online reviews, and trying to coordinate all the moving parts of your trip. We can do the research and figure out the logistics for you, so all you have to do is show up for the best trip of your life!
With over 100 countries under our belt, chances are we've already been where you want to go and can provide personal recommendations based on our experiences. From finding the best flights and accommodations to creating an itinerary that suits your budget and interests, we've got you covered. Get more details here.
Planning ahead can not only help you fit more into your trip but can also help you stay on budget and ensure a smooth, stress-free journey. For those who prefer to have some space for spontaneity, an itinerary can serve as a rough guideline or a reference list for days when you don't have any plans. So, make sure your next trip is hassle-free and get planning! Or let us do it for you…