How to plan your trip
Learning how to plan your trip is one of the most important parts of traveling. It can also be very enjoyable. Learning about new lands and counting down the days. Devouring as much information as you possibly can, filling yourself with wanderlust ready for your next adventure. You can make the months fly by if you are lost in your own imagination.
For those who have never planned a trip however, this can seem a bit daunting. Here we will break it all down for you. You will learn about everything that you need to know about how to plan your trip . Make sure you have done each of these before you set out to travel the world.
Decide where to go and for how long
First of all, decide where it is that you want to go and for how long. This is very important as your budget and travel itinerary can not be made before you make this choice. This will also give you a clear goal to work towards. It takes courage to pack everything in and leave your comfort zone. Having a set destination in your mind will help you in those bleak hours when you are thinking “wtf am I doing?”
Knowing how long you are planning on staying away is also a good idea of what budget you will need. When choosing how long you wish to travel for, you should always aim to have a bigger budget. Travel is addictive and once you have started, you will not want to stop. Try to have a budget that is as big as you possibly can.
Which leaves us on to the next thing you must do.
Start saving now
One of the most important sections on how to plan your trip, is to start saving now. No matter how much planning and researching you do, you are not going anywhere without money. Some are lucky enough to decide one day that they have had enough, quit their jobs and begin a life of adventure. Most of us however are not that lucky and will have to scrimp and save to be able afford to see the world.
Make a list of all of your current expenses and see which ones you can easily live without.
Stick a picture of where you want to go on your mirror so that you can see it everyday. This will reinforce your willpower when you hear starbucks calling.
Research the country
So you have decided where to go and for how long, you have also started to save money. Now you must research the country you are going to visit. Learn about all of the costs, the scams, the best destinations.
If you are going to Thailand, look into the best islands. If you are a backpacker looking for fun, you may want to check out the world famous party island Koh Phangan. However if you prefer a more relaxing time, maybe Kanchanaburi, to the the west of Bangkok is more your thing.
Once you have researched all of the costs, scams and best places to see, you will feel a lot more confident about your trip.
When the research is all done, keep in mind that when you are traveling, your plans will change often. Nothing is set in stone when you travel, especially when you are backpacking. Just go with the flow and have the adventure of your life!
Check your bank card fees, try to get one with no ATM fees
There is nothing worse than having to give your hard earned money to banks. When you are abroad, all banks charge a foreign transaction fee. Not only does your bank charge you, but also the bank which owns the ATM that you use. If your bank has lousy ATM fees think about changing to one that does not.
Check to see if you need a Visa
Before you go any further you should always check to see if you need a Visa to enter the country which you have chosen. Some countries require you to get a Visa before you arrive, some you can acquire them at the border or when you land at the airport. You should always check beforehand to make sure.
Buy travel insurance
Never set off traveling without travel insurance. Many choose not to buy insurance thinking that they will be fine and that nothing will happen to them. Freak accidents happen all the time and you never know when they could happen to you. Travel insurance doesn’t just cover medical bills, it also covers cancelled flights, broken electronics, stolen money and many other invaluable things.
We can not stress this enough, buy travel insurance, even if it is the cheapest choice. It only costs a few dollars a day and for this you will be protected against all the unforeseen disasters that can befall even in your normal daily life, never mind traveling. This is one of the most important things on our list of how to plan your trip.
Get your vaccinations
Before you travel you should make sure all their usual jabs are up to date. See your doctor and get vaccinated for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Tetanus and Typhoid. Also get vaccines for Cholera, Diphtheria, Japanese Encephalitis and Rabies. If you live in the UK most of these shots can be had for free on the NHS. Just get in touch with your doctor and they will do the rest.
Also do not leave this until the last minute, go to your doctors 6 – 8 weeks before traveling, as some of the vaccinations require a course of treatment spanning several weeks.
Here is a link to the NHS website that you should read before you travel anywhere, this will give you all of the vaccination information that you need. NHS Fit For Travel
Book your flights
Now you are well underway in learning how to plan your trip, the next step is to book your flights. If you know your return date, you should also buy this ticket also as some countries ask for proof of onward travel. Nine times out of ten you will never get asked to show your onward travel plans. However if you are asked and you do not have an onward ticket, you will have to buy one. It does not matter where it goes, it could be a bus, boat or plane ticket, just as long as it leaves the country.
If you have not read our guide The Secrets Of Budget Travel, The Websites And Apps That You Need To Be Using! You really should give it a read. Here you will find the best apps and websites that you should be using. These will show you how to plan your trip and save lots of money while doing so.
Book your accommodation
It is always a good idea to book accommodation for the first couple of nights of your trip. Having a safe base to return to with no worries for the first few days is a nice way to settle in. If you are traveling around Asia, you will soon realise that you do not need to book your accommodation in advance. Every time you exit a bus you will be bombarded with offers of accommodation.
In Europe however it gets a little tricky. If you are traveling in the high season (Summer) finding good accommodation can be difficult. In Europe we always try to book our hostels and hotels in advance.
If you use the websites that we have provided in our guide above (the secrets of budget travel), you will have no trouble finding a place to stay in most countries of the world.
Tell your bank that you are leaving
With some banks this will not matter. With others however, if they are not told that you are traveling, will shut down your card. If they suddenly start getting payments made from Kathmandu, Nepal, your card will be closed and you will have to waste time having it unblocked. To avoid this, tell them your plans before you leave.
Automate your bills/payments
Have all of your mail turned electronic. Have everything e-mailed to you, so that you are always up to date. Set up recurring payments for any bills that you have. If you set these to go out automatically on a said date once a month, you can push these payments out of your mind and enjoy your trip.
Buy a Backpack
There are a thousand articles out there about which backpacks to choose, so we won’t go into this to deep. We like Osprey because they are high quality and will not let you down. A tip before you buy: try not to get a top loading pack. A top loading pack is one that can only be entered through the top. If you are trying to grab something at the bottom this can be a bit of a pain. Try to find a bag that has a zip which goes all the way round and opens up like a suitcase. These are the bags that we choose and can save you a lot of hassle.
Also make sure before buy your pack, that it fits correctly and that it is large enough. For example if you are going on a trip which will be months long, you will want at least a 50L backpack. The L stands for litres, a 50L backpack can carry 50 litres. This is an ample amount. Do not forget that you will be carrying this on your back for long periods of time. Also do not be THAT person who travels with a truly giant pack and never stops complaining.
Do not forget to also buy a day bag. A bag that you will use in the day when you have left your big pack in the hotel. Just a normal sized backpack is enough, just make sure that it is comfortable.
Pack your things
Pack your things, but try not to take anything sentimental. Take nothing that can not be replaced. Most travelers never experience theft or disaster, but some do. If you do not want to lose the necklace that your mum gave to you for your 18th birthday, then do not take it.
You will carry your pack everywhere you go, so remember to pack light. If you must take a laptop, try to take a notebook. We know that you will not have lots of money to spend on the non essentials but if you are a heavy reader, try to find an e-reader. This will save you lots of room and weight in your pack.
Take a smartphone
The smartphone without a doubt has made traveling the world accessible to anybody. No longer do you need to carry big maps or to book accomodation months in advance. Your smartphone will become your life. You will use it to book your flights, accommodation, manage your money, call back home, even check the weather. Everything that you need to know about the town you are in is in your smartphone just waiting to be read.
If you also have a phone with a good camera this could save you some extra money by not having to buy a new camera.
Download all of the offline routing maps for whichever country that you are in, and that way you can use your mapping anytime and anywhere.
Check the powerpoints of the country
Here is one that many people forget before they land in a new country. Most countries have very different power points to the ones that you use at home. Buy an international adaptor and you will have no troubles wherever it is that you end up.
Most important of all
That is it, if you have done all of the above you are almost ready for your adventure. Do not forget your passport, your bank cards and your flight tickets and most important of all, have fun and make this one of the best trips that you will ever take. Start with the mindset that you are setting out to both, learn and grow, and that nothing will get in your way and that there is nothing that can stop you from reaching your goals.
How to travel the world on the cheap
Not only will we teach you how to plan your trip, we will also show you how to travel cheap. Many people often wonder how backpackers travel the world with hardly a care for money. Well here, along with telling you how to plan your trip, we will also give you some tips on how to keep your expenses small and stretch your budget as far as possible: Backpacker Tips, How To Travel On The Cheap
If money is a serious problem for you maybe you would like to earn while you travel? Here is 22 ways that you can earn and travel.
If you are still trying to decide where it is that you would like to travel to, have a read of these three articles. They are great budget travel destinations that are both exotic and most important of all CHEAP.
So there you go, now you know how to plan your trip and you are ready for your own adventure. Thanks for reading, subscribe to get more great advice for your future travels.