How to Plan a Trip: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide on Planning a Trip
These are useful travel tips, that I use every time when traveling because make my journeys awesome and my life easier.
Everyone I know loves useful travel tips, especially me. I travel a lot and I know planning a trip can be a daunting task.
No matter if you go on vacation or travel for business, all the time arrangements are pretty much the same.
Hotels, transportation, flights, you name it… they are all a hassle, as you know.
Hopefully, there are some really useful travel tips, that I use every time when traveling. They always help me to make my journeys awesome and my life easier.
Now I am going to share these handy tips with you because I am sure you will find them practical as well.
You can use any of them during the next holiday, family vacation, or when travel for business.
The tips are useful for everyone who travels for one reason or another. Especially for those who travel occasionally and tend to forget or miss things. Are you ready to start with the interesting part?
The 7 Usual Steps to Prepare my Trip
Every time I am preparing to make my trip, I follow these seven simple steps in the same order:
- Find my next Destination
- Check my Budget
- Organize the Transport
- Arrange the Stay
- Prepare all Documents
- Get ready with my Luggage
- Go and Make my trip Awesome
Simple, isn’t it? Let’s now go through each one of these steps and add a few details.
1. Find my next destination
If you are a business traveler, then finding the next destination is not a problem.
The question is what to do and where to go for a family vacation or a romantic trip?
Finding a great destination for my next journey is usually a simple task for me and I take it always with pleasure.
To be honest, in most cases I have the initial idea of where I am going next in my head.
What remains is to polish the details and to make my trip happen.
If you are wondering where I get fresh ideas for my journeys I can tell you there are a vast number of options here.
As I said I almost always have some cool ideas for where to go next in my head and usually I get these ideas from my favorite lifestyle magazines or newspapers.
During a flight or when waiting at the airports, I have time enough to read a lot of things.
These are normally the times where I get inspirations for some fascinating destinations and imagine myself being there.
Chatting with friends is my second best way to get fantastic ideas of where to travel to in the future. I don’t think there is much to explain here, so keep reading further.
The third option for finding the holiday of my dreams is one of the social places that all of us use these days.
Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook are awesome choices.
They are ideal to get inspiring ideas for travelers and exchange useful tips and info with others.
Consider social networks as an amazing opportunity to discover new ideas and fantastic spots around the world.
One of the cool, untapped sources for finding new places or vacations to go are the thousands of apps available around.
For both iOS and Android mobiles.
You can find anything you need to get fresh inspiration or insights for your journey.
The best travel apps for planning your trip deliver not only information but also bits of advice and tips.
Some of these apps which could help you with inspiring travel ideas for your next journey are Google Trips, WishTrip, and Travel Tips.
A number of sites are a good option to get inspired for new destinations. Depending on your needs you can find cool ideas for planning your next trips on websites or online magazines focused mostly on traveling and experience.
I will name two of them that I use sometimes when I plan to make my trip. These are TripAdvisor, Travel and Leisure, and Lonely Planet.
Yelp and Cruisecritic could be good choices too, so if you like the idea feel free to give it a try next time before you start to organize your vacation or journey.
Of course, there are many other options to take advantage of while planning your awesome trip. However, these are the highlights of some cool resources you can use.
They will help you to make the plan for your travel great.
Another useful tip on Planning Trip: When I have to choose between two or more different places to travel to, I make a list. If you have in mind more than one preferred destination, then always make a list. When have all preferred destinations collected in one place, this will help you a lot to make your final decision.
2. Check my budget
After choosing the place to visit, the next thing to make my trip come true is the money.
Checking my finances is the second thing for me to do, well before planning any kind of journeys.
Getting ready with a sufficient budget for your future journey is the thing you need to do before your vacation or trip takes place.
Some say money is not important, but when you travel money is important always.
And please, try to never forget about it.
Apart from the planned expenses, it is always a brilliant idea to think about unexpected situations or events, where the initially planned budget for your trip might become suddenly insufficient.
It is always better to plan and have some extra amount of money in your pocket in case something goes wrong.
Especially if you travel alone.
Stick with me here, because this one is important. When it comes to traveling a credit or a debit card is a good backup for your cash.
Such an option for payments (including the unplanned ones) could be a life-saver but always bear in mind that payment cards are not always a good alternative for cash.
Besides, don’t forget that the credit cards usually are a temptation to overspend.
You have probably noticed the more payment cards you have, the easier it is to spend. In case you plan a cruise, bear in mind all popular cruise lines accept payment cards.
If I travel abroad I always keep some save amount of the local currencies with me.
I know it might sound boring, but there are still many exotic places around the world where it’s either difficult or impossible to use an alternative method for paying your expenses.
For the time being, cashless payment methods are not equally adopted around the globe.
For this reason, you must ensure you have taken all the necessary actions to get some local currencies with you well before you go traveling.
Every time before I travel abroad, I notify my bank and payment card companies of my travel.
This is to avoid blocked cards during my journeys and it’s a really good practice.
A brief summary of Planning my Budget: If I have to choose between credit or debit cards, I always go for option number one. If you have the possibility, then take debit and a credit card with you. Having a safe amount of cash in local currency at all times is necessary for everyone who travels abroad. If your plans include a cruise, it is useful to know that all popular cruise lines use payment cards onboard.
3.Organize the transport
Without proper travel arrangements, long-awaited holidays remain just good dreams.
For this reason, I usually make the arrangements with the travel and transfers well ahead.
Of course, there are some disadvantages to this, usually the cost but I prefer to stay on the safe side.
I am not saying that last-minute bookings are not my cup of tea, but this is something unusual for me.
On another hand, I have many friends who prefer to wait till the very last minute and to get a real deal with tickets or hotel stays.
Luckily the organization of transport usually is not a big deal.
There are far too many options to make travel arrangements online.
As you are aware most of the popular places to visit have their own websites. Besides, web apps related to transfers and transportation are more than enough nowadays.
If you need ideas I’ll name a few: Skyscanner, Expedia, Kayak, Uber, etcetera.
An important Tip to Organize the transport: You can save a lot when booking a hotel and flights together.
4. Arrange the Stay
There is no way to organize an awesome vacation or the perfect trip without the proper arrangement of your stay.
With good accommodation and a decent companion, my trips are always great. Luckily finding the best place to stay nowadays is a no-brainer.
Again if you don’t want to miss your chance — book your stay in advance. Last-minute bookings are a fantastic option to get decent discounts sometimes but don’t take risks.
Since there are many places online you can do reservations I would recommend searching for the best offers by using some of the price comparison websites.
These are also known as price comparison engines or price comparison shopping engines.
There are such engines designed to find the best deals with places to stay and they are named (as you can imagine) Hotel search engines. The later is a great help and very useful when comes to find and compare the best offers from all the major booking and hotel sites.
Tips for Arranging the stay: Some of the notable hotel search engines which worth checking and provide reservations are Booking, Agoda, Priceline, Hostelz, Hotwire, AirBnB, Hotelscombined, Hotels, etcetera.
You can save a lot of money if book your hotel and flights together.
5. Prepare all documents
Step four of planning an awesome vacation is one of the most important ones. There are a few essential things I forgot about the first time when I was traveling with my family.
Now I’m going to share some tips about getting all the required papers ready, before every trip. Stay with me now and we’ll go together through all of them, one by one.
When I organize a domestic trip I skip a few of the items, because they are not required. However, if I go abroad there are 6 important groups of documents I always take with me.
These essential documents include my passport and visa, my driving license, the tickets, and my insurance.
The Passport. As I said, some of the documents can be skipped, when your vacation or journey is domestic.
In some places, travelers can use their IDs instead of a passport.
When your trip is abroad or overseas, then your passport is required.
Visa. A visa is a document that permits travelers to visit a particular country. The visa is usually either attached or glued on the passport. However, there are cases when the visa was not attached to my passport.
For this reason, make sure you have your Visa together with your Passport before you leave your home.
Also, it’s good to know there are countries out there that grant visas upon entry, known as visa “On arrival”.
A Driver Licence. In most cases, I need my driver’s license, because during a domestic trip I am using my own car.
When I travel abroad I also always take my driver's license with me.
It is useful to know some countries require an international driver’s license. Others can grant a specified driving period, but proof of a driver’s license from your home country is required.
If you plan to drive a car or rent one while abroad, then ensure your driver’s license is with you.
The Tickets. Regardless if I use a plane, train, bus or another type of transport tickets are essential items that I keep in a safe compartment in my purse.
I usually keep all the tickets for my trips always together, so there is a small chance to forget about them.
Although it is something important, people still tend to forget collecting their tickets before they leave for a journey.
Make sure your tickets or e-ticket printouts are always with you. Keep them in a safe but still easy place to find them.
Some Additional transport documentation. During some of my excursions, I have to book a taxi, get a bus or arrange another type of transport for myself. For this reason, I thought it might be a good idea to leave a separate place to mention these documents, tickets, vouchers, printouts, or whatever is the case.
The Hotel Information. Usually when I travel, especially for prolonged periods I need a hotel, motel, or another place to stay in.
I always bring along a copy of my booking, just in case, even if I have the same info on my mobile. It might happen the information written on the printouts to be very useful during your travel, so make sure you have it next to your tickets.
When traveling in a foreign country, the address of where you plan to stay is required for the entry card (along with the info for your flight, in case you travel by plane).
Insurance. Travel insurance is a must for every traveler.
Sometimes people ignore this important detail when planning a journey, but then this ignorance costs them a fortune.
My advice is to prepare your travel insurance well before your trip takes place and to pay attention to the small details.
Don’t forget to double-check if the travel insurance will be covering you by the end of your journeys. This includes your moves and your stops.
Hopefully, sometimes the insurance is a requirement (for example when travel by a plane or other vehicle) and can’t be just skipped, but this is not always the case.
Private insurance with decent coverage could be an excellent solution in most cases when you plan a trip or vacation.
5. Get ready with my luggage
This is the part I don’t really enjoy when having a solid plan to go somewhere, but … this is life.
Believing or not I always spend hours putting in and take out things from my suitcase.
The worst part of it — in the end, something is usually missing.
Same as other women my luggage includes usually my purse and at least one medium-sized suitcase.
This is in case I am planning to have a trip for the weekend.
When I plan longer stays or vacation then the situation goes bad. I mean really Bad.
Whether I go for a short time or extended periods I need certain items always and here I will mention some of them.
Things for my purse
First of all, I take care of all personal documents such as the ID or Driving license and my Passport (with Visas) which go directly to My Purse.
If I have to take medication for some reason I would take it with me and will find a place for it in my purse.
I’m not taking medicines regularly, but my small pocket size box with multivitamins and minerals always travels with me.
As next comes my Wallet and the money — the Cash (including local currencies) and the payment cards that I’ll need during my awesome journey. The third place is for the Insurance documents, all Tickets, and the Reservations documentation.
When I travel overseas I take travel guides with me and read interesting information about the place where I am going.
If you have a long time in an airplane or in a queue this could be a good idea to think of.
A Small Tip on Things for My Purse: When your purse is small enough and can’t accommodate all items you will need, then make your life easier. Don’t hesitate and just get a handbag for your trip or vacation.
Items for my Handbag
The hand luggage is difficult to avoid during long time travel and depending on the season it could be a life-saver.
As mentioned earlier, when I can afford to skip the handbag I always do it. Still, there are many situations when my handbag is very handy.
If I have any doubts my suitcase will be enough to cope with the pile of clothes and items, then I would get additional luggage.
What goes into my handbag (if I have it with me) are some valuables and the usual gadgets every traveler needs.
A phone, sunglasses, something to read, a snack, a reusable raincoat (just in case), camera, chargers, and a pair of headphones.
If you are a smoker then the handbag could be ideal to stock your pack of cigarettes and lighter or electronic cigarette in there.
An extra tip on Items for My handbag: Additionally you could think about taking into your handbag items such as an umbrella, travel adaptors (if you need them), medicines, additional clothing (jacket, jumper, sweatshirt, t-shirt, you name it).
For the suitcase
I know that’s a lot to take in, but bear with me because of this an essential part of the preparations.
The worse thing about all types of suitcases is their sizes, which are never big enough.
Especially if you are a woman.
There are just so many items to go in there.
Clothes, underwear, hats, socks, footwear, towels, toiletries, jewelry, perfumes, and cosmetics.
This is the mini version of what every woman needs for an ordinary trip.
It happens relatively often for me to realize that my suitcase is small.
Then I just get a larger suitcase or suitcases.
This gives me the freedom to add to my luggage a few more items.
A hairdryer, a hair straightener (sometimes only), medicines(just in case, especially if travel with kids), beach towels (I prefer to use mine), swimwear (if needed), outerwear (depending on the season), gloves (depending on the destination), more gadgets (scissors, sewing kit, a flashlight, waterproof phone case, cords and chargers, etcetera).
Did I mention the Power adaptors?
A quick tip on For the Suitcase: Depending on the destination you’ve chosen for your trip, you might also need sun creams, lotions, and bug sprays in your luggage. These could be extremely useful when you go for a cruise or decide on a vacation or a trip to an exotic warm place.
6. Go and Make my Trip awesome
Finally when I am ready with the arrangements what remains is to make my trip awesome.
By the time I go through all hassles with necessary preparations for the journey (especially if it is a long one) I sometimes get exhausted.
The good news is the worst part is done and the best part is still to come. I always feel excited when it’s time to go on a trip or vacation.
How to make your trips awesome depends on you.
My favorite trips and vacations had always been with a good companion. Even if the chosen destinations appear to be not what’s expected, having the right people around you is a guarantee for a pleasant vacation or a journey full of fun.
I hope you enjoyed reading my tips for travelers and you will find some useful information for yourself.
I guess not it’s time to say Goodbye and Have a Nice Trip!
See you next time.
The last tip, before you go and make your journey or vacation awesome: Check out my packing list for holidays, which I’m sure you’ll find quite handy.