This guide will help you plan the best travel experience possible. Travel by nature can be unpredictable, and you must be flexible and ready to change in a moment if the need arises.
I like to prepare as much as I can for those times. I have a favourite mantra that I live by when travelling –
Over-prepare and then go with the flow.
By preparing, I build confidence to travel to a new, unknown destination. Being prepared takes away the anxiety that I might experience in an unfamiliar situation.
By planning my trips, I can feel at ease upon my arrival and confidently walk out the door on the first day. Once I have adjusted to my new surroundings, I can go with the flow.
Sometimes I will follow the plan; other times, I will throw it out the window because different, better opportunities present themselves.
In this guide, I will show you how I plan my trips, how to put together an itinerary, research a new destination and finally how to get organised for travel so you won’t forget anything.
And I will also have contingency plans if things to do array.
Travel is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever experienced. It has profoundly changed me, thereby changing my life.
I am passionate about sharing my experiences with other people, particularly those of you who are hesitant about travelling independently.
I don’t mean solo, although that is amazing, I mean not on tour, independently planned and organised by yourself.
It’s not hard; you just need to have faith. I can show you how.
Understand, it will take some work. But it will be all worth it, and it gets easier each time you go through this process.
You are ready for that trip. You know where you want to go. You have been dreaming of it forever.
But you hit a wall. You took your trip to the Travel Agent, and the quote you got back made you fall off your chair. Seriously??? There is no way you can afford that trip.
Maybe there is a way – to do it yourself.
It’s not as hard or as scary as you might think. Before you begin, I suggest asking yourself a series of questions that could make things easier, moving forward.
There is no point looking up hotels in Venice and setting your heart on something only to find out it can’t accommodate your family.
Remember, there are many options and choices.
Let’s begin by building the framework of where you want to go, who is travelling and what your interests are.
I understand. I organise group trips. It is so easy to get caught up with beautiful hotels and engaging activities only to find out they don’t cater to groups. Or the activities we want to do are a million miles away or cost a fortune. Or we can’t get to our location using private transport because the options available don’t accommodate the number of travellers in our group.
Start with these Questions
Remember there are no right or wrong answers and they can be as complex (or simple) as you like. The more information you can include, the better the framework you will create and use as a guide.
I know this sounds very basic, but once immersed in the planning process, you will see how this guide helps to weed out the information that does not suit you.
If you read everything you come across in your research, your trip will never happen. Or you will settle for anything because you become tired of the planning process.
Please trust me on this one.
Ask These Questions
Take time to think about each of these questions and answer as honestly as you can. This task is simply to get your thoughts clear; otherwise, researching can be a waste of time.
- Where do you want to go? How many destinations?
- Who are the people travelling? Ages, relationship to you?
- How long are you travelling (including travel days)?
- What’s your budget? (It’s OK if you don’t have one and just find out the final cost)
- What’s your travel style? (Budget, five stars, apartment) Are you luxury all the way, or happy to see your options?
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: A Guide to Finding the Right Accommodation.
Consider Your Options
Here are a few more things to keep in mind when you start planning your next trip and before you start researching:
Would you prefer to stay in a central location or happy to use Public Transport?
You might pay more to stay centrally, but you will have the convenience of walking places and easy accessibility to the things you want to see.
You can stay farther away, pay less and utilise public transport to travel to the areas you want to see each day.
Are you into bars and nightlife or prefer quiet nights?
Think about what you like. There is no point staying somewhere that bores you when you would prefer experiencing the nightlife.
On the other hand, it will ruin your holiday if you plan big days of activities and sightseeing and quiet, early nights and you find yourself surrounded by bright lights and music to all hours.
Would you prefer a quiet neighbourhood or be in amongst it in the tourist areas?
Don’t waste money on something you think you will enjoy. Trust me; if you don’t enjoy it at home, you won’t when you are away.
These are what I like and don’t like when I – I don’t like catching buses at home or travelling. I love the convenience of walking. For that reason, I stay in central locations, close to places I want to see.
I do compromise and catch the train to places further away.
And I have been known to catch the occasional taxi when every other option just seems too complicated, mainly if I’m fighting jet lag and blistered feet. It’s OK to pick the easy option and splurge at times.
Creating your Travel Framework
Take the answers to your questions and build a framework that will look something like the list below.
You can use a spreadsheet, an online tool like Trello or just written in a notebook.
Travel Planning Framework
- Number of People:
- Length of Trip:
- Things I want to do:
- Style of Accommodation:
- Type of Accommodation:
- Size of Accommodation:
- Location of Accommodation:
- Public Transport Options:
At this stage, you should have a clear framework for your trip.
If you have never planned a trip before, creating the framework is an essential first step. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the information you will find. A framework will keep you focused and on track, only looking at information relevant to you.
Now you have your framework, start researching. Have fun and enjoy the process!