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While planning a trip, there’s a lot you should think of to make sure you get the most out of your time. For people with a huge travel wish list, it may not be the hardest decision to decide where to go. However, this doesn’t count for everyone. You may have a harder time choosing a destination. I wrote down all the steps I do myself before choosing a country.
I made this 9-step guide on how to plan a trip, filled with all things you should think about beforehand. To make this guide more useful for yourself, do the following. Grab a pen and some paper, write down these next 9 steps and answer the questions. Let’s dive right into this!
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Let’s plan your perfect getaway!
Step 1: Set a Budget
Before I start planning any trip, I found out what my travel budget is. For example, you won’t need as much money in South East Asia as in Africa. Some countries are way more expensive, so set your budget first and then move on looking where you’re able to go. Keep in mind if you need to have a rental car to get around the country or if you’ll be okay with local transport. This can skyrocket the budget in certain countries real quickly!
Question: What is your budget for the whole trip (incl. flight ticket)
Step 2: Pick a Destination
Looking for which destination can be hustle for some. For me, I already have a long list of countries I would love to visit. However for others it could be a bit overwhelming.
When choosing a country it’s important to know how long you’re traveling for. You want to make sure you’ll have enough time to experience the country properly and you aren’t rushing things. As for me, I’m really enjoying slow travel to truly immerse myself into a place. So if I only have a week or less planned, I won’t go outside of Europe and I will stay in one place.
Question: For how long are you traveling for?
Type of Trip
Think beforehand what you want to do on this trip. If you enjoy laying on the beach or visit tropical places, think about countries like Thailand or the Philippines. Want to immerse yourself in local culture, choose places with a fascinating history like Peru, Egypt or Vietnam.
Food can be a huge reason for people to travel to certain countries. So If you’re a big foodie, I highly suggest an Asian or European country. I mean, you’ve got to eat pasta in Italy at least once in your life! (or every year..💛)
Question: What do you want to do?
Slow Travel Tip! Don’t feel the need of visiting as much as possible during your time. Try to really immerse yourself into a place and take it slow.
Ending up in rainy season in Bali (which has its benefits of course), could ruin your trip if you planning to relax at the beach all day. Next to that, in certain countries they cancel tours due to weather conditions. Therefore, decide for yourself what you want to do on this trip and see if it’s possible during your time traveling.
Question: When are you going?
Now take a look at this world map and think of countries that ticks of every box you just mentioned. Write 3 countries that you think would be the perfect fit and then narrow down until you’ve found your perfect match!
Step 3: Find & Save Inspiration
Alright, now you’ve picked your destination, go make a Pinterest Board. Search for inspiration, places to visit and things to do! Pinterest Pins are linked to blogs, so if you save one in a special folder dedicated to that country, you can bundle everything together. You can basically save anything in here from photo inspiration and hidden gems to vegan restaurants and rental car tips.
If you didn’t manage to find a destination yourself, do the following. Search on Instagram, Pinterest and through blogs, to see where people, with whom you share the same interests, are traveling to. Find inspiration and come across unexpected travel destinations.
Next to that, I love to save Instagram posts from other travelers in a special folder dedicated to that country or continent when I’m interested of going there in the future.
Question: which places do you want to visit?
Step 4: Make an Itinerary
When you have a list of places to visit in a certain country, save them as a flag on your Google Maps app. This way you have an easy overview of the country and where everything is located.
Think of how long you need to stay in a certain place to truly experience it and create an itinerary for yourself. However some people like to ‘go with the flow’ and leave this open. So if you’re one of those people, skip this step.
For the planners make a bold itinerary, but leave some space for spontaneity here and then.
Step 5: Book your Flights
Now you have the preparation done for planning a trip, it’s time to book your flights (yay!) I always look on Google Flights to find the cheapest day to travel. Then I check on Skyscanner if it’s cheaper to book it elsewhere (don’t pick those weird sites though). If it’s possible it’s always best to book with the airline itself, in case you need to contact customer service.
Have a look on the prices for a while and book when it seems like the cheapest fare. Don’t be like me and wait for longer with some hope it may get even cheaper. You’ll end up paying more probably. 😉
Check Skyscanner for the cheapest flight fares!
Step 6: Apply for a Visa (optional)
Depending on your destination and passport, you may need to apply for a visa. Check your government website to find out if you need a visa and how to apply for it.
Keep in mind that for countries such as USA/AUS it might take a while to get your visa in order. Make sure to do this on time!
There’s a very easy website to check your visa requirements for your nationality. Have a look here.
Q; do I need a visa? What is the average amount of time it takes according to gov?
Preparation tip: Make sure your passport doesn’t expire any time soon.
Step 7: Book your Accommodation
When planning your perfect trip, it might be useful to book your accommodation beforehand. Or at least the first few nights to have a clear of mind upon arrival. I always like to book the first few nights and maybe any special places that are quickly full-booked. Then make sure to save some possibilities, so you don’t need to go actively search for places to sleep while traveling.
Not much of a planner?
If you’re a more spontaneous traveler that likes to see where life takes them, book the first few nights and then book for 1 or 2 nights ahead during your trip. This is a great option if you’re backpacking or traveling for a longer period of time!
Step 8: Write down Activities
When it comes to activities, you don’t need to book this in advance most of the time. I usually book activities upon arrival a day or 2 before. If you want to do a not so common activity, ask the company beforehand for availability or necessity of booking in advance. Make a short list of some activities, that you really don’t want to miss out on.
Book all your activities on GetYourGuide.
Step 9: Extra Preparations
One of the final touches of how to plan a trip is to find out if you need any vaccinations. For example, countries in Africa or Asia may require extra vaccinations like HEP A/B or DTP. You can find this information on the country’s government website or click the link below.
On this website, you can enter any country of the world and they will tell you which vaccinations you need and when to get it!
On top of the normal vaccinations, there may be extra requirements due to our friend COVID. The rules depend on your country of residence and where you going to. Check your own government site to find the list of requirements.
At the time of writing (August 2022), there are some countries that require a special COVID-19 insurance before entering their country.
This may not seem like a necessity, but being fully covered while traveling is a must! Unfortunately bad things happen everywhere, so also on vacation. And nothing is worse than getting sick in a foreign country. Therefore make sure to have a good health travel insurance that fits your needs.
In some countries they even ask for a travel insurance, before they help you. I’ve had the same in Thailand, when I needed to get my rabies vaccinations asap after an incident with a monkey.
And that’s how to plan a trip!
There you go! This list got you covered on how to plan a trip filled with fun activities and places to see.
Planning a trip is a different process for everyone. Some people hate planning everything, while others love to fill in the details. I made this guide to make it a bit easier for people that need some extra help to create an amazing trip!
Remember that, no matter which way you choose to plan it, it is perfect as long as it suits your needs. At the end, this is your trip and if you’re having fun, nothing else matters. 🙂