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How to Plan a Trip: Your Step-by-Step Travel Planning Guide

How to Plan a Trip: Your Step-by-Step Travel Planning Guide

Video How to Plan a Trip: Your Step-by-Step Travel Planning Guide

Planning a journey abroad, whether or not lengthy or quick, can appear overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be! In this text, we’ll present you ways to take the stress out of planning a journey, by laying out a easy step-by-step information that’ll make sure you don’t neglect something. Now you possibly can cease stressing and begin making your journey goals a actuality!

Have you ever been overwhelmed by the thought of planning a journey as a result of it appears too, nicely… overwhelming?!

There’s a lot to take into consideration when planning journey: from getting a visa, to determining transportation, to reserving lodging and getting native foreign money, it may be downright disturbing.

And it’s a bit contradictory, proper? Stressing out over planning what is meant to be a stress-free trip. We’ve positively been there. Many instances, in reality.

But we’ve realized our share of classes alongside the best way and now we’re right here to assist.

In this text, we’ll present you ways to take the stress out of planning a journey, by laying out a easy step-by-step information that’ll make sure you don’t neglect something.

We’ll present you ways to take a journey daydream and switch it into actuality.

So whether or not you’re planning a 2-week getaway or a journey with no finish date in sight, these steps will take you from the brainstorming part to stepping foot in your vacation spot. We suppose you would possibly really enjoyable planning your subsequent journey. That’s a dare.

Alright, take a deep breath, as a result of we’re digging proper in!

How to Plan a Trip Article Contents

Step 1: Figure out your journey price range

Step 2: Decide in your journey model/companion(s)

Step 3: Choose a vacation spot

Step 4: Book flights

Step 5: Book lodging

Step 6: Research issues to do

Step 7: Get journey insurance coverage

Step 8: Minimize journey dangers

Step 9: Pack

Step 10: Last-minute prep

Step 1. Figure out your journey price range

Before you possibly can even start to plan a journey, you want to take a good take a look at your funds and work out how a lot cash you’ve got to spend in your journey. This will dictate a lot of the longer term steps together with the place you possibly can journey to and for the way lengthy.

This step would possibly sound scary, however we’ve damaged it down for you so you possibly can create your very personal custom-made journey price range. We’re even sharing precisely how we afford to journey and keep on price range.

If you’ve got the time earlier than you go, observe these easy steps to get monetary savings to your travels.

Step 2. Decide in your journey model / companion(s)

Is this a quick trip, a 3-week journey abroad or long run journey that you’re planning for?

…And who’s coming with you?

Take a second to reply this query… Are you going to be touring solo or with a companion? A bunch of associates, or with your loved ones and kids in tow?

The reply to this query may help form your journey fairly a bit. For occasion, a solo journey to Tahiti will not be your best option, as this fashionable honeymoon vacation spot goes to be swarming with {couples} on romantic getaways. Likewise, party-centered Ibiza may not be the very best place for a healthful household vacay.

  • Traveling Solo? Traveling solo is an extremely releasing expertise, and there are a lot of nice cities world wide for solo vacationers.

  • Want a romantic getaway? Romance isn’t simply restricted to seashores and resorts. Check out our roundup of among the prime romantic locations for each kind of touring couple, a few of which is perhaps a little surprising.

  • Looking for a good household trip spot? There are locations all around the world which are wonderful spots to convey your children!

If you might be planning on touring with a companion, don’t e book your flights with out asking them these questions first…

Step 3. Choose a vacation spot

This step could appear apparent for some, possibly you already know precisely the place it’s you need to journey and that’s why you’re planning this journey within the first place. For these of you which have a vacation spot nailed down, there are nonetheless a few issues we’d recommend you take into account, you possibly can skip proper down to the analysis step.

For these of you which have the itch to journey, possibly even the holiday time arrange, however nonetheless don’t know how to slender down only one place, we propose taking a look at a map. No actually! Hear us out…

Literally take a look at a map, and begin circling all of the cities, cities or sights you need to go to. Look on Instagram for inspiration. Don’t restrict your self. What would you like to do? What would you like to see and expertise? When planning a route, we sometimes take a look at different trusted bloggers’ suggestions.

And no want for paper maps anymore, go digital! Here’s a nice tutorial on how to use Google My Maps. It’s game-changing.

We work out what number of nights we are able to keep in every metropolis and the way we’re going to get from metropolis to metropolis. We have many itineraries on our Itineraries web page the place you possibly can see examples of our journey routes and proposals. We additionally recommend taking a take a look at Lonely Planet journey guides.

Once you suppose you’ve nailed down a place, or locations…

Do Your Research

Don’t neglect to do a little digging and be sure that the time of 12 months you intend to journey is perfect. We have failed to do our analysis a few instances and it ended up actually affecting our journey.

Asking your self the next questions can actually prevent the troubles or complications down the highway:

What will the climate be like?

  • Will or not it’s the moist season? Hurricane season? Super-duper-unbearably scorching?

Example: We traveled in India through the hottest months of the 12 months and actually couldn’t do a lot outdoors among the days as a result of it was 110 °F (43.3 °C). After that, we vowed by no means to make the error of touring with out actually understanding the climate first.

Read more: How to Plan a Trip: An Easy Travel Planning Guide

Is it peak tourism season? Low season?

  • Will or not it’s exhausting to get a resort as a result of it’s peak season? Will the strains and crowds at vacationer sights be ridiculous?

  • Likewise, if you’re touring throughout off-season, must you count on a lot of the companies to be shut down? Will closures hinder your probability to see and expertise every thing you have been hoping to?

Example: We visited Croatia in July – its busiest month of the 12 months – and located ourselves tremendous pissed off with the crowds and jacked up costs. We ended up shortening our time there as a result of we weren’t having fun with it as a lot as we anticipated.

Hold up! Before you begin a Googling storm, we’ve received some excellent news: there are some assets on the market that make this course of for researching a lot quicker!

  • If you understand WHERE you need to go, Travelendar (mixture of journey + calendar) will let you know what time of 12 months is finest to go to.

  • If you understand WHEN you need to journey, take a look at this listing that breaks down which locations are finest to go to every month of the 12 months.

  • We’ve additionally accomplished the analysis for you, nailing down the professionals and cons of visiting throughout totally different instances of the 12 months for a variety of fashionable locations similar to Japan, Bali, New Zealand and Iceland.

But don’t fear in the event you don’t know the place OR whenever you need to journey… take a look at this calendar of occasions world wide for inspiration!

How cool is that?!

These occasions span all locations and pursuits: from European music festivals (like Sziget Festival in Budapest, pictured above!) to cultural celebrations to naturally occurring occasions just like the migration patterns of wildlife in Africa.

When you discover an occasion that pursuits you, click on on it to be taught extra.

Pace Yourself

Thinking about your tempo will decide how lots of the locations you circled above you’ll realistically give you the chance to see.

Do you need to pack in as a lot as potential, or would you like to select a couple locations and actually get to discover them? Do you need to journey gradual and take within the tradition to actually perceive how locals stay?

Or would you like to tick locations off your listing and transfer from metropolis to metropolis, seeing as a lot as you possibly can? Maybe a joyful combination of gradual and quick? This all depends upon the period of time you’ve got and your price range.

Find out visa necessities

Investigate in the event you want to get hold of a visa for the nation or nations you’re considering of touring to. You might not want one for the primary nation you arrive in, however will you want one for the opposite nations in your itinerary? Can you get a visa on-line, visa on arrival, or do you want to get it in your house nation?

For occasion, in the event you’re touring to Vietnam, Americans want to apply for a visa forward of time (and right here’s the very best and least expensive means to get one).

If you don’t know in the event you want a visa, take a look at your house nation’s visa web sites:

  • USA residents

  • UK residents

  • Canadian residents

  • Australian residents

  • Singaporean residents

Step 4. Book flights

You know the place you need to go? Check. Have your visa? Check.

Now right here comes our favourite half: It’s time to e book a flight!

First, you’ll want to reply these questions: What airport will you fly into? Are you going to make a spherical journey and fly out of the identical airport? Or are you departing out of a new place?

Tips for getting the very best offers on flights:

  • Know when to purchase. Depending on the place you might be flying to and from, there are totally different suggestions for the way far prematurely you should purchase your flight.

  • Play round with breaking the flight up. For instance, as an alternative of looking for a flight from Minneapolis to Japan, we’ll search Seattle to Japan. Then we discover a flight from Minneapolis to Seattle. This permits you to have a layover in a cool metropolis, and could be a lot cheaper.

  • Another good gateway into Asia is flying by China. You can often discover a method tickets to China from main US cities for round $350!

  • Sign up for value alerts. Many engines like google enable you to join alerts between locations. You’ll get electronic mail notifications when the fare goes down, so you possibly can bounce on it!

  • There are tons of bank cards that provide you with miles for purchases. Find the very best journey bank card for you right here. If you’re inclined to get an airline bank card, take into consideration the key airways at your house airport. You’ll most definitely be reserving flights with that airline so would possibly as nicely rack up the factors.

Don’t neglect to join the frequent flyer miles program with flight you select! Many airways are a part of a broad community and the miles are generally transferable.

Understanding WHY a flight is affordable is essential. Make certain you consider the arrival time at your vacation spot. The least expensive flight would possibly get in at 2 within the morning and also you’ll have to await hours to your guesthouse to open, or resort test in time.

On the flipside, in the event you depart tremendous early within the morning, you might have a tough time hailing down a taxi that early (and have to pay a premium for the journey). Sometimes absolutely the least expensive fare will really price you extra ultimately.

If your journey doesn’t contain taking a flight, take a look at the following tips for planning an epic USA highway journey.

When looking for a flight we like to use Skyscanner first as a result of it permits you to search throughout all the month to discover the most affordable flight.

Want extra ideas for locating the very best deal on airfare? You’re in luck, as a result of we have now a whole article devoted to how to discover low-cost flights!

Are you a nervous flyer? Don’t let the nervousness of flying stop you from touring. Check out the following tips for fearful flyers that can assist put you comfortable.

Step 5. Book Accommodation

Depending on how lengthy your trip is chances are you’ll select to e book all of your lodging forward of time or none in any respect.

For occasion, in the event you solely have two weeks, it is perhaps finest to prepare your inns or hostels on-line so that you don’t waste treasured time making an attempt to work out lodging whenever you’d somewhat be exploring. Plus, you don’t need to run the danger of every thing being booked up!

If you’re touring long run, nevertheless, chances are you’ll simply e book a few days at a time. Or chances are you’ll desire to wing it and stroll into inns when you arrive in a city.

We put a lot of consideration into the place to e book our lodging when planning a journey.


Read more: How To Plan A Trip: Easy 15 Step Travel & Vacation Planner For 2022

First, we would like to take into account location. We might begin to analysis issues to do in a vacation spot earlier than this step so we have now a higher concept of the place we’ll need to go to and what probably the most central location shall be for us.

If a metropolis is understood for its nightlife, we’d take into account staying in a quieter neighborhood. If lodging prices skyrocket the nearer to town middle you get, we might take into account saving cash to keep someplace additional out.


We additionally take into account transportation in a new metropolis. If town could be very walkable, we’ll need to keep proper within the middle. If Ubers or public transportation is definitely accessible, we might take into account saving cash by staying additional outdoors the middle. We advocate doing loads of analysis on transportation choices and prices earlier than nailing down your lodging.

Length of Stay

If we’re planning to keep in a single location for a longer time period (a couple weeks or extra), we like to have a place that feels a bit extra like “home” than a resort. We love to prepare dinner, so a place with a kitchen permits us to get pleasure from our ardour and get monetary savings on eating out on the identical time! We often use Airbnb or Booking to discover apartment-style leases in new cities.

If we have now a quick layover in a metropolis, or are staying simply a few nights, we’d splurge on a resort, and even attempt to get monetary savings by reserving a hostel.

Everything you want to learn about Airbnb: You’ll discover a great deal of information on how to e book Airbnbs, purple flags to be careful for when reserving, and our favourite Airbnbs.

Booking Resources

Depending on the place on the planet we’re touring, we change up our reserving websites. Here are our favorites:

  • Asia: Booking or Agoda (we discover Airbnb is simply out there in sure cities/nations and never in others in Asia)

  • Europe: Booking, Airbnb or Hostelworld

  • USA: Airbnb (we hardly ever keep in inns within the US and Hostels aren’t practically as prevalent within the US as elsewhere on the planet)

South America & Central America: Hostelworld, Airbnb or Booking

Step 6. Research issues to do

This is the place the enjoyable actually begins…We LOVE doing analysis to discover out what sorts of adventures we are able to have in a new vacation spot.

Here are a few of our favourite assets for researching journey locations:

Pinterest: Probably the primary place we glance once we get interested by a new place. We use Pinterest as a search engine (similar to we might use Google!) and we have now present in our expertise that there’s TONS extra useful content material on journey there than if we have been to try to sift by the primary web page of Google. We love that you may save articles in organized boards as nicely to return to later (you might have observed the Pins we create on the backside of all of our personal articles).

Bloggers: We are continuously trying to different bloggers we belief for recommendation on new locations. We have some we observe intently so we all the time know the place to test if they’ve info on a place. We like to learn a few totally different instructed itineraries for brand new cities to work out what the can’t-miss sights are and get concepts on how to plan our personal itinerary. We go away feedback on posts and attain out by way of social media if we’re nonetheless left with questions after studying a weblog submit about a new place.

Airbnb Experiences: Sometimes simply trying out what’s provided on Airbnb Experiences is a wonderful means to get concepts of cool issues to see and do in a new place. You would possibly even discover an expertise or 2 you need to join!

Trip Advisor: We like to test critiques for issues on journey advisor to see what different vacationers have to say about sure experiences or sights. There could be some severely good recommendation on there!

Step 7. Get journey insurance coverage

Even although you is perhaps safer overseas than in your house nation, accidents occur in all places and you must all the time be coated. We by no means go away house with out journey insurance coverage and neither must you.

One of the most well-liked journey insurance coverage corporations is World Nomads. They cowl anybody worldwide and are extraordinarily simple to use. We have been coated by them once we trekked to Everest Base Camp and have been very pleased with our expertise. Fill out the information beneath to get an instantaneous quote:

For extra info on how to decide a coverage and what we search for in journey insurance coverage, take a look at our detailed article right here.

Be certain to learn our important journey security ideas for extra detailed recommendation about how to keep secure and shield your belongings whereas touring.

Step 8. Minimize journey dangers

There are loads of steps you possibly can take earlier than you even set foot in a nation to reduce your danger of one thing going flawed.

Register in your nation’s Smart Traveler program

For Americans, you must join the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Through STEP you’ll get emergency updates that might have an effect on your travels, similar to dangerous climate or civil unrest or protests.

It may also give you quick access to your embassy within the nation you’re visiting. Lastly, if something dangerous have been to occur to you in your travels, you’d be simpler to monitor down. Check your nation’s journey division for related applications.

Get all crucial Immunizations forward of time

Before setting foot in a new nation, you’ll need to make certain to shield your self from international illness. Use the CDC web site to analysis vaccinations and drugs you would possibly want within the vacation spot(s) you might be planning to go to. We’d additionally advise visiting your physician earlier than a longer journey to be certain all your well being considerations are taken care of.

Scan your paperwork and electronic mail your self a copy

Scan a copy of your passport and any bank cards you’re bringing, and electronic mail it to your self. Do the identical to your journey insurance coverage paperwork and receipts of the property you’re carrying. If something occurs to these whilst you’re touring, you’ll have an digital model.

Know frequent scams

While you’re in analysis mode, do a fast search of frequent scams in your vacation spot. Being conscious of fashionable scams is commonly all you want to keep away from falling sufferer.

We have run into loads of recognized scams on our travels, particularly in larger cities like Bangkok, and have even fallen sufferer to some ourselves. Unfortunately, scams are a danger you run in touring, and generally unavoidable, however the extra knowledgeable you might be, the higher ready you can be to keep away from getting caught in a vacationer entice.

Bring backup bank cards

If you might be touring in a group or as a couple, you’ve got a little bit of a help system (assuming you every convey at the least one bank card).

This tip is especially geared in the direction of solo vacationers.

You will all the time need to convey a backup bank card (and maybe a backup debit or ATM card as nicely) in case of emergencies. We’ve been in conditions overseas the place our playing cards have been stolen (generally it’s not all the time apparent because it occurs with a swipe and we nonetheless have the cardboard in our possession) and in the event you don’t have a backup, you should have a very exhausting time accessing your cash.

For this purpose, we like to maintain our again ups in a separate location in our baggage (one in our hand baggage, one in our suitcase) after which go away one behind at our lodging in case we have been to be mugged. It might sound a bit excessive, but it surely’s all the time good to be ready!

Secure your belongings

It ought to go with out saying that you simply’ll need to maintain your belongings, and particularly your valuables in safe locations whereas touring (you understand, use a purse with a zipper for less-easy entry and don’t cling it on the again of your chair on a crowded road nook cafe). There are some objects you should purchase forward of time to assist maintain your belongings secure whereas touring.

  • Basic Travel Locks

  • Bluetooth monitoring baggage locks

  • Hidden pocket scarf

  • A digital camera bag disguised as a purse

Step 9. Pack

It’s beginning to really feel actual now isn’t it?! Your journey is arising quick and it’s time to get packing!

Packing for a journey could be fairly the puzzle. You need to be ready and ensure you don’t neglect something, however on the identical time, don’t need to really feel weighed down by an excessive amount of stuff.

If you’re a self-proclaimed over-packer, or somebody who all the time finally ends up utilizing solely half the issues of their suitcase on each journey… I’m proper there with ya! We advocate planning out your packing forward of time so you aren’t dashing on the final minute to get every thing you want stuffed into your outsized suitcase.

One tip is to lay every thing you suppose you will have for a journey out on a flat floor (your bedspread works nice for this) after which take away half — sure half! — of it. That is how a lot stuff you must realistically be making an attempt to pack.

Another rule of thumb we like to try to stick to is packing in a carry-on for any journey shorter than one month. This could appear extremely daunting to some, however belief us once we say, you’ll be a lot happier making an attempt to navigate the cobblestone streets of Europe or lifting your baggage onto a practice if it’s smaller than a 50 pound bag!

Read more: How to Plan Your Trip in 10 Easy Steps

Below are some necessities you’ll need to ensure you pack for any journey:

  • Passport/Identification

  • Wallet/bank cards (and backups!)

  • Chargers for all your electronics

  • Kindle or e-reader

  • Travel pillow

  • Insulated water bottle

Think about your electronics

This is a large one not to neglect! If you might be touring overseas, you’ll need to look into the outlet state of affairs you possibly can count on in your vacation spot and the way it compares to that of your house nation.

A fast Google search will present you what kind of shops you’ll discover within the nation you’re visiting. Here’s a nice web site for electrical shops. Look on the voltage too, and test the compatibility with any electronics you’re planning to convey alongside. An incredible buy is the journey converter with adapters.

Packing Resources

Use these packing assets for ideas and concepts to provide help to pack to your subsequent journey:

  • How to Pack for 3 months in a Backpack

  • Ultimate Packing Guide for Long Term Travel

  • Eco Friendly Travel Gear Packing List

Step 10. Last-minute prep

You’ve made it to the ultimate step! Your journey is simply across the nook and all that’s left is doing a little analysis and making some last-minute preparations.

Data/Internet entry

Research one of the simplest ways to acquire entry to information or Internet whilst you’re in your vacation spot. If you’re touring inside your house nation, this shouldn’t be a downside. However, if you’re touring overseas, you may want to take into account buying a pay as you go native SIM card whenever you arrive. This would be the least expensive means to acquire entry to information overseas.

Download some useful apps

  • Google Translate: Type in one thing you need to say, and it’ll translate the phrase into any language you choose. You may even take a image of a menu written in a wholly totally different language (like Korean, for instance), and it’ll translate what’s written. It is wonderful!

  • Google Maps: Before going to a new location, we sometimes obtain the offline map for our vacation spot in our Google Maps app. If you’ve got your GPS turned on, the app will present your present location with a blue dot even whenever you don’t have information or WiFi turned on. This is tremendous useful in the event you’re on a lengthy bus journey and wish to know precisely the place you might be, or whenever you’re misplaced wandering round in a large metropolis.

  • GlobalConvert: This app makes it simple to convert something from foreign money to distance to temperature. (Super helpful for Americans unfamiliar with the metric system.) And the very best half is, it really works offline!

  • Time Buddy: If you’re touring on the opposite facet of the world, this app makes it tremendous simple to work out time distinction between the place you might be and your house nation.

  • Trail Wallet: Yeah, yeah, I do know, we’ve talked about this one a lot. But it has severely modified how we journey. This app converts seamlessly by currencies and exhibits you precisely the place you might be in regard to your price range. Download this app and also you’ll give you the chance to journey longer. Seriously.

Have a plan for foreign money

On long-term journeys, we sometimes withdraw cash from a native ATM as quickly as we enter a new nation. We’ve discovered we often get a higher fee at ATMs than from foreign money exchangers (and we don’t have to fear about getting scammed).

Our Charles Schwab card (extra information right here) reimburses all ATM charges, so we solely take out small quantities at a time. If you’re occurring a shorter journey, it would make extra sense to order the foreign money out of your native financial institution earlier than you allow house. Whatever your choice, make certain you’ve got a plan for acquiring the foreign money of your vacation spot.

Notify your financial institution of your journey plans

This is a step that may generally be missed, however can put a severe damper in your journey plans whenever you enter a new nation solely to discover your financial institution has mechanically shut off your debit card as a result of it thinks you are trying a fraudulent withdrawal.

Learn the language (at the least a few phrases)

We’re not insinuating that you simply have to be ready to have a dialog within the native language earlier than visiting a international nation. But studying a few key phrases or phrases exhibits locals that you’re making an attempt, and other people often respect this.

You’d be stunned how far studying “hello” and “thank you” can get you. Some different useful phrases to be taught regardless of the place you might be touring are: “bathroom”, “delicious” and “beautiful”.

And don’t neglect about numbers. Write down the numbers 1 by 10 in a small pocket book and translate them. Knowing a few numbers makes it a lot simpler to order at eating places.

If you’ve got any allergy symptoms or medical circumstances, it’s a good concept to write it out and translate it to the language of your vacation spot nation. For occasion, “I am a vegetarian,” or “I am diabetic”. Print it out within the native language (and the phonetic spelling) and carry it in your pockets. It will certainly turn out to be useful.

Refine your Manners

A little analysis can go a good distance. Certain gestures you would possibly use on a regular basis, like a thumbs up or okay signal, are offensive in some cultures. Avoid awkward conditions by researching some fundamental manners within the nation you’re visiting.

Where to first?

You’re prepared to take the leap! However, the primary few hours in a new nation could be a little overwhelming (and the most definitely time to get scammed). That’s why you must have a plan of how to get from the airport to your resort (or wherever you’re headed first).

We sometimes write down the tackle (within the native language and in English) of our first hostel/resort in a small e book or within the notes app on our cellphone so we are able to present taxi/bus drivers, that means we don’t fumble over mispronouncing road names.

It’s additionally useful to save the areas of your lodging, native embassy, hospital and sights you need to go to in your maps (that you simply’ve downloaded offline in fact!) earlier than leaving.

Book transportation forward of time or get particular directions on how to discover public transport. Read our journey ideas, different blogs, or information books on what’s the finest technique of transportation within the particular nation you’re visiting. If you’ve got a plan and know what you’re doing, you’ll begin off your trip on the correct foot.

Confirm Reservations

It’s best to name or write to verify reservations for issues like lodging and transportation earlier than you end up in a international nation with a canceled Airbnb reservation and nowhere to go. Confirm all of your essential reservations and maintain copies of your affirmation receipts in your electronic mail.

And there you’ve got it, 10 easy steps to plan a journey to anyplace on the planet.

Following these steps will take among the stress out of journey planning, however it can be crucial to keep in mind that even the very best laid plans usually go awry. This is especially true with journey as there are simply too many elements outdoors of your management.

And that’s okay. In truth, that’s half the enjoyable of it! It’s what makes journey such an unbelievable studying expertise and why we maintain going again for extra.

Need assist planning the right journey?

Be certain to take a look at our Travel Planning web page for assets on every thing you want to know from how to get began to packing, budgeting and extra! Or you possibly can learn a few of our favourite articles about planning your subsequent journey beneath.

  • How We Afford to Travel & You Can Too!

  • How to Find Cheap Flights: 17 Expert Tips

  • How We Pick the Best Travel Insurance

  • Cheap Travel Hacks to Save You Money

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If you continue to have extra questions on planning a world journey, remark beneath and we’ll do our greatest to reply!

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