How To Plan A Trip – Your Ultimate Guide To Travel Planning

How To Plan A Trip - Your Ultimate Guide To Travel Planning

Trying to plan a trip to anywhere in the world can be one of the most exciting things you’ll ever do. It can also be one of the most tiring and troubling things you’ll ever do as well.

I mean, sure browsing your friends travel pics and getting some ideas of what you should be doing might be fun and dandy, but once you actually get into the nitty and gritty things of it, you’ll find out that it is actually a lot harder than it sounds.

There is so much work involved when you are trying to plan a trip.

From finding out where to go, what to pack, where to stay, things to eat, and more, you will be spending countless amount of hours trying to figure things out.

Fortunately for you, that doesn’t have to be the case any longer.

During my time traveling around many different countries, I have perfected the process to planning a trip. I got it down to the dotted line.

Which is why I have created this travel planning guide to help you learn how to plan a trip.

Now is this something you’ll definitely need to read and know about? Well no….but it will help you cut down all the hassle and trouble you might face when planning alone.

In this post, i’m going to teach you all about how I plan for a trip. And by the end of this guide, you too will become a master at learning how to plan a trip as well.

So if you are ready, lets dive on in. This is going to be a long guide, but it will definitely be worth the read.

Welcome to my “How To Plan A Trip – Your Ultimate Guide To Travel Planning” post.

What Is Your Travel Style?

night market in taipei

Traveling is one of the best things you can do in life. I absolutely love to travel as I am able to see so many different things and learn many new things as well.

I actually got started traveling when I was a baby as my parents always took me around to different places every few months. So it was then that I knew that my passion for travel has grown quite a bit.

It was through all these experiences that I finally figured out what kind of traveler I was.

And that is the first thing you’ll have to figure out when you are deciding on traveling as well.

You want to know what kind of traveler you are going to be. Whether it is a person who plans every little detail out step by step or maybe your a person who just likes to roam around and let fate decide things to do for you.

Whatever the case might be, you want to get this sorted out first.

There is no right or wrong way to travel, so you don’t have to be worried. Everybody is different and has their own style and preferences as to how they want to travel.

So for example, “What is my travel style?”

Well my travel style is a pretty easy to understand. I love to plan everything out to the finest of details. So that’ll be planning what days i’ll do what activities, what time i need to be at a certain location, planning how to get there and more.

I tried the whole be free thing and just wander around with no itinerary, but it ended up making me so lost and confused. I missed out on a lot of activities I wanted to do because I either didn’t know about them or I was just didn’t have time for them.

Which is why now I always plan for things as much as I can.

That doesn’t mean other people are the same way. In fact, some of my best friends are travelers who don’t plan anything at all. They just roam around and let fate decide what is in store for them. And it works.

So it is different for everybody.

Which is why, before you get started with planning a trip, you want to figure out what type of traveler you are.

What Not To Plan For A Vacation

food vendor in night market

Now it is important to know that no matter what type of traveler you are, you should try to at least plan certain things out.

Now i’m not saying you have to plan out your entire trip, day by day, minute by minute. After all, you’ll be stuck in your hotel room for hours on end just planning things which is a plain waste of time.

What i’m saying is to just plan the important things.

Many times people will be spending hours planning things they simply don’t need to plan. This can definitely be a waste of time and resources.

So here are my tips as to what you should not be planning when you are trying to plan a trip.

Do Not Plan An Itinerary For Every Single Day Of Your Trip

Now this might sound counter intuitive for some, but it actually makes sense. When you plan for each and every day of your vacation, it can lead you to failure.

After all there are plenty of things that can occur which can mess up your entire schedule. Things like being sick, waking up late, missing the bus and more can all have an affect on how your itinerary goes.

Which is why you want to give yourself enough room and time for change.

So what do you do instead?

Instead of planning each and every day, you should give yourself a few options for the entire trip to choose from. For instance, maybe one or two days you’ll do a bunch of different activities in one area. Or maybe have a day set aside to see some cultural buildings only. Maybe have another day set for museums and zoos?

This way, whatever situation arises, you can adapt your way around it and make things still work.

For example, if you or your friends/family wake up late. Then that means you’ll have limited time to go out and do stuff. So plan for something you can do in only a few hours of time that doesn’t take the entire day.

Another example is, maybe the weather is bad and it starts to rain. Maybe plan for some indoor activities like going inside museums or temples etc.

The point of all this is to give yourself enough options to choose from. This way in case anything happens for the worse, you’ll still be able to enjoy your trip.

Don’t Plan Your Outfits

This might be pretty easy to understand but planning out what outfits you are going to wear is just plain silly.

After all, there are many factors like the weather or what mood you are in which can change what you want to wear on a daily basis.

Instead, what I recommend is for you to pack clothes that are easily able to be mixed and matched. This way no matter what situation you find yourself in, you’ll be able to find something amazing to wear.

Don’t Plan Every Single Meal

Being hungry during your travels can be a common occurrence. Which is why you should not plan out every single meal.

The reason for this is because sometimes you are going to be farther out than usual or you might not make it in time for a certain place. There are many things that might occur which makes planning every single meal hassle for you.

Instead, what I recommend is to just pick a few locations you want to try and visit, then whenever you have time or are around that area, you can go visit them.

Another good way is to just not plan for a meal at all. Instead, just go with the flow and whatever you see that looks good, you should try it out. A good tip is to find a place that is crowded with locals. That will ensure the place is definitely good.

How To Find A Travel Destination?

Xunantunich Maya ruins

One of the most common situations we find ourselves in is not being able to find out exactly where we want to go.

After all, the world is vast with so many unique and interesting places to be seen. Which is why this step should be one of the first steps you take in planning for your trip. Once you figure out where you want to visit, then you can start planning the rest of the things.

For me, this is how I figure out where I want to go whenever I want to travel:

  • I ask my friends and family for recommendations. After all, first hand information from people that has actually visited those locations will always be best.
  • Another place i’ll go browse around to find ideas is on Reddit or Pinterest for destinations that look simply amazing. Once I find a particular destination, i’ll go to Google and browse for more information about it.
  • Another place i’ll go to find more inspiration is to simply Google Travel blogs. I love to read first hand experiences of places people have visited. If any seems interesting then i’ll bookmark it and see if I actually want to go there or not.

This might be one of the hardest parts in the planning stage, but once you figure out where you want to go, the rest is a simple thing to do.

How To Plan What To Do And Where You Should Visit

Kinkaku-ji

After you have figured out where you want to travel to for your trip, the next step is to figure out all the things you want to see and do. This step is probably the most fun part about planning for a trip.

Whenever I plan a trip, some of the things I look out for and write down are places I am interested in. This can include museums, cultural sites, popular places, restaurants, neighborhoods and more.

I write all of these things down in my journal which I take with me everywhere I go. Whenever I get a new idea, i just jot it down inside and I will be able to go back to it anytime I want.

But what if you are going some place new and foreign? You might not know what things are available for you to do in that area. So then what?

I mean, sure you can always Google “Things to do in (destination)”, but normally they’ll just list out all the tourist traps or most popular areas. Not many would go list out the hidden areas where the real fun is.

Which is why I look towards another area. And that place is Reddit or Facebook Groups.

There are many subreddits in Reddit where you can browse and find all the information you need. But instead, I would suggest you write down your own question and ask the redditors what they think you should do.

Also, another place I would recommend is searching the destination you are going to on Pinterest. There you’ll get a lot of first hand information and things to know about that certain location.

For general information about places to visit, you can always go with Trip Advisor which will list out all the neat places you can visit.

Basically just search around as much as you can, and if you find anything interesting you like, then jot it down in your notebook or document.

Trimming Your List

Now when you finally manage to finish your list of things you want to see and do, the next step is to trim it down.

Because lets face it, your list is probably going to be super huge by this point in time. And it will likely be impossible for you to do everything on that list unless you are planning on staying there for quite some while.

Which is why you should trim down your list to only the most important things you want to see and do.

Once you trimmed down your list to a few selections, it’ll be more easier for you to plan around them.

Book Your Flight

inside an airplane

Now its time to actually make your trip happen.

You’ll want to book your flight to whatever destination you are flying to. This is also the costliest part of the trip, so you’ll want to do some research and find the cheapest flights possible.

One site I highly recommend is SkyScanner as it is an aggregate that searches through millions of flights from over a thousand airlines. Once you have found your flight on Skyscanner, you are then taken to the airline or agency to make your booking.

Although a tip here is that after you have found your cheapest price, try to go directly to the airlines site and search for it again. See if you can find a cheaper price. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But it doesn’t hurt to try.

If you want to find some tips for cheaper flights, you can check out my post by clicking here.

Planning On Where To Stay

Planning On Where To Stay

The next step you should do is to figure out exactly where you are going to be staying at. You want to figure this out in advance so that you can book the place ahead of time before you visit. Otherwise you run the risk of having no place to stay or paying high prices for some last minute hotels.

Now by this point, we already have done so much research about the area that we know which neighborhoods are good and which areas has things for us to see and do. So this makes finding a place much easier as we can simply find a place that is near those areas.

Now my preferred method of finding a place to stay is at AirBnB. If you don’t know what AirBnB is, do not worry. They are basically similar to a hotel in that you are renting a place from them, but instead of just a room, you get to rent the entire place. It is locally owned by the families who are wanting to earn some extra income.

And there are millions of choices for you to pick from, in locations all over the world. It is usually a better choice to pick than hotels as it is normally a lot cheaper.

But for those that don’t feel like staying in somebody’s house, then a hotel is always a good option to go with. Just know that depending on which place you visit, hotel prices can be pretty expensive.

Now if you are on a budget, don’t be afraid. There are still options for people who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money. For instance, HostelWorld is a popular site that allows you to find budget-friendly hostels all around the world. They even have a rating and review system where you can find out exactly how good the place is.

Now there are plenty of other options you can choose from for places to stay at, but these 3 are probably the most common and ones I trust.

Just be sure that wherever you decide to stay at, be sure to check the reviews and photos of the place. This way you can know exactly what you are getting yourself into.

Planning How To Travel Around

taxi in taiwan

The next step of your planning stage is to figure out exactly how you are going to get around the place. After all, you are going to be in a place where you never been before and it can be exciting and confusing at the same time.

How are you going to get to your hotel? How are you going to get to a certain attraction or restaurant? You need to have these things thought of well in advance before you get there.

For instance, some of the things you should look for are:

  • How much is the bus?
  • How much is the taxi cab going to cost?
  • Does the location have Uber or Lyft or something similar? And is it legal?

Basically you want to think of all the options for traveling around and figure out which one will be best for you.

For instance, when you first get off the airport and are trying to get to your hotel, what are you going to choose? Maybe the bus? Maybe the taxi?

And a tip is to always write the location where you are staying at in clear visible and readable hand writing. This way if you get into any communication problems, you can just show the driver where you are staying and they’ll take you there.

Rental Cars

Also if you are in need of renting a car, booking online before you get to the destination is always going to get you a better deal than if you were to just randomly show up.

Plus its so easy and quick, anybody can do it.

The last thing you’ll want to deal with after a long and tiring flight is to rent a car from a company and negotiate some sort of deal. So by booking before hand, you can avoid all of this and it’ll make things so much easier for you.

And a great place to search and book cars before hand is a aggregator site like RentalCars.com. Here you can compare rental companies and search for major car brands all at once. It is amazing and allows for you to get the best deals possible.

Finishing Touches To Travel Planning

writing in travel journal

Now at this point in time, you probably have everything figured out.

You know where you are traveling to, you know what things to see and do, you got your place booked out, and you know how to travel around.

So what do you do now?

Well its time to fine tune your plans.

Make sure everything is correct and that everything is accomplishable.

Go through your plans and see if there is anything that needs to be changed or if you want to add additional details.

Some of the things i’ll do during this step is to include:

  • Include opening and closing hours for certain destinations
  • Any travel tips I have found online
  • Make sure my reservations have gone through
  • Find places where public transit is accessible

Basically some general things that’ll make your trip a lot better and easier.

This way, once you have everything figured out, you won’t have to waste any more time back in your hotel or whatever trying to find certain answers.

Plan For Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Now whenever you are going to travel anywhere in the world, there is something that you definitely must have.

And that thing is called “Travel Insurance”.

Now most people don’t really think that travel insurance is really a big deal and usually always ignore it. After all, why waste money on insurance where there are so many other things you can use that money on.

Plus, travel insurance isn’t always so cheap, which is probably one of the biggest reasons that many people tend to skip out on it.

I mean, lets face it, most of the time we all think that we are able to take perfectly good care of ourselves. So we have no need for travel insurance. We think that getting sick or injured from a trip is a rare thing to happen and probably won’t happen to us.

But that doesn’t mean injuries or sickness will never happen at all. There are still chances where it can occur.

Not only that, but it can also protect you from a wide range of other things that might happen to you during travel.

Here is a quick list of some of the things that travel insurance will cover in most countries:

  • Emergency Medical Insurance
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation
  • Accidental Death & Dismemberment
  • Lost/Stolen Luggage
  • Rental Car Coverage
  • Hotel/Cruise Ship Protection
  • Trip Cancellation
  • Trip Interruption
  • Flight Cancellation/Travel Delay
  • Supplier Bankruptcy

It is better to be safe than sorry.

Plus it can give you the piece of mind knowing that if you do get it, you will be protected in case anything does happen to you.

Also, if you don’t get travel insurance and something does in fact happen to you, things can get very costly very fast.

If you want to read up more about travel insurance, you can check out my posts about it by click here.

Plan A Trip Extra Step: Check Your Passport

passport

Now if you are going to be traveling overseas to another country, then you’ll want to make sure your passport is prepared. If you don’t have one yet, then you’ll definitely need to give yourself enough time to apply. Usually at least 6 weeks before you depart and preferably as soon as you have booked your flights and accommodations.

If you already have a passport, then you’ll also have to check that it is up to date. What is the expiration date? Most countries around the world will require that your passport be valid for at least six months beyond your date of stay and that it has enough empty pages for stamps/visas.

So make sure you get that settled.

Plan A Trip Extra Step: Get Immunizations

Get Immunizations

Depending on where you are going to be going, you might need to get some immunization shots to help keep you safe.

It is important to do some research about the areas you are visiting and see if there is any danger with virus’s or sickness’s that might occur. You want to get the necessary vaccinations before you travel there.

After all, your safety and health is the most important. And in rare instances, you aren’t able to travel to certain locations unless you have proof that you been vaccinated.

So do some research and talk to your health care professional or doctor and ask for advice about the place you are visiting. I would suggest that you visit them at least 2 months before you depart as some vaccines will need to be started around 6 to 8 weeks before you depart and require more than one shot spread out over some time.

Plan A Trip Extra Step: Make Copies Of Important Documents

copies of important documents

Whenever you are trying to plan a trip to travel somewhere with important documents, you always want to make multiple copies of them.

You never know what might happen during your travels and you might run the risk of losing certain documents while traveling around. Many times companies have lost a travelers documents like booking reservation or passport and more. All of which caused delay to peoples travels.

So just to be safe, you want to have to following important documents copied:

  • Passports
  • Visas
  • Flight tickets
  • Itineraries
  • Hotel reservations
  • Rental car reservations
  • Tour bookings
  • Drivers licence
  • Credit Cards
  • and any other thing you booked for your trip.

Print out some hard copies of the documents and always save your confirmation emails into a folder or somewhere safe. You might also want to leave some copies at home with somebody you trust.

The reason we say you should print out hard copies of certain documents is that some times you won’t have access to the internet to search for your files. Which is why hard copies can come in handy.

So make sure you always make a copy of your important documents and keep them with you. You never know when you might need them.

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As you can see, planning a trip doesn’t have to be hard. It is in fact one of the easiest things you can ever do.

So hopefully this post about “How To Plan A Trip – Your Ultimate Guide To Travel Planning” was able to give you some ideas and help you out in your trip planning.

Also if you are interested in reading some of my other posts about traveling, you can do so by clicking these links:

Or you can check out all my blog posts by click this link.

Hope you have a safe and fun trip~