Planning Your Next Trip In 18 Simple Steps
Are you planning on going off on a trip? then this post is for you. In this post we will cover your trip checklist and ensure you are 100% ready to go on that vacation.
Step 1: Choose Your Destination
Setting a destination creates a target to work toward. Many people make hazy generalizations about travel. They only ever state that they are moving, never where. Choosing a destination is crucial since it offers you a clear objective.
“I am going to Paris in the summer” is far simpler to mentally accept than “I’m going to Europe” or “I’m going anywhere.” Your vacation will not only become more tangible for you and simpler to commit to, but it will also make preparation simpler because you will know what to strive for. Provide specifics about your plans. Get specific. Your ability to achieve your goal will increase with how clear and definite it is.
Step 2: Determine the Length of Your Trip
How much does travel cost? To what extent!
I can’t respond to that question without knowing how long you’ll be gone. You must provide an answer to this query in order to begin planning.
You’ll need to know how long your vacation will be in order to calculate how much you need to save.
Are you taking a week off? six weeks? A year?
How much money you need depends greatly on how long your journey will be. Think about that for a while until you have a response.
Say, “I’m traveling to Paris this summer,” followed by “for X days,” for instance. In this manner, you can begin to determine the precise amount of money you’ll need to save. You can prepare for a journey that starts with “I’m going to Paris for 10 days.” It’s a feasible objective.
Step 3: Are You Going Alone or With Someone Else?
The choice of traveling alone or with a companion is one of the most important ones you’ll have to make. Both are excellent alternatives, but they are also very distinct ones.
You can go wherever you choose when you travel alone. No giving in. Simply follow the wind wherever it leads you! Though if you’ve never planned a trip before, it can be intimidating to have to handle all the planning alone.
When you travel with someone, they will assist you plan the vacation. It will speed up your itinerary research and provide you someone to talk to while traveling. You will occasionally need to make concessions, though. possibly on food, entertainment, or lodging. Just you and the companion you go with will determine how it goes.
In the end, there is no incorrect response.
Step 4: Research Your Costs
Now that you know where you’re going and how long you’ll be there, your next duty is to investigate the costs in your destination for the travel style you prefer in order to determine how much money you actually need.
Do you wish to travel on a budget or would you prefer to stay in five-star hotels?
What are the prices for lodging, dining, and attractions?
You can calculate how much money you’ll need for your vacation by being aware.
You don’t need to take any further action. There is so much information available online that if you fall into the trap of over-planning, you will become lost and perplexed by the onslaught of data.
In our hypothetical scenario, if you are visiting Paris for 10 days and require at least $75 USD a day (excluding travel expenses), you know you must set aside $750 USD (though round up to $800 USD since it’s always a good idea to have extra) for your trip.
You would require $50 USD per day to traverse the world for a year.
Step 5: Begin to save money
Knowing how much money you have and how much you’re spending will help you start saving. Start by outlining all of your existing costs so you can see where your money is going and where you may make savings.
Every day, people lose a lot of money on insignificant items like coffees and snacks. That all adds up. You must first comprehend your spending patterns in order to change them. A list will accomplish that. Additionally, it can help you see your financial requirements more clearly.
You just need to save $8.33 every day, for instance, if you require $2,000 USD for the trip you’re traveling in eight months. Don’t you think you could find a way to save $8 USD per day? Heck, most of that is in your morning coffee!
Here are 23 strategies to help you cut costs and save money for vacation if you’re having trouble saving money. With this, you can quickly get started and start saving money!
Step 6: Get a Travels Rewards credit card
Get a travel credit card so you can earn sign-up bonuses to exchange miles and points for free flights and hotel stays while you’re trying to save money. I obtain a ton of free flights, free hotel stays, and other free travel perks every single year — and without any additional spending as well — by accumulating points and miles from travel credit cards.
Nowadays, the majority of credit cards give welcome bonuses of up to 50,000 points when you reach their minimum spending threshold. That many miles will get you practically anywhere in the globe for free travel!
Join the credit cards that can help you get a free flight. Get a hotel card if you desire free hotel accommodations. In either case, apply for a travel credit card to start accumulating points right away. You’ll receive unrestricted travel credit as long as you can settle your monthly balance.
You just need to sign up for a few cards; choose one or two, and concentrate on them. Do this as soon as you decide to go on a trip. Waiting results in lost miles, which reduces the amount of free travel.
All the pros use “travel hacking,” or accumulating points and miles, to lower their expenses and extend their trips. It’s what has allowed me to travel for so long and keep my expenses low. There are still several options accessible for Canadians as well as those from Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, even if the finest cards are exclusively offered in the US.
Step 7: change to fee-free ATM cards
You’ll require cash once you’ve left the country. Even though credit cards are accepted in many places, most places still prefer cash. The local currency must therefore be withdrawn using ATMs. Additionally, this implies that you will be charged ATM fees.
Paying a few dollars in ATM fees if you’re only gone for a few days or a week is not a big deal. However, if you’re gone for a longer amount of time, those costs will pile up and reduce the trip budget you’ve worked so hard to build. Give no money from your hard-earned money to banks.
How? utilizing a fee-free ATM card.
I use Charles Schwab, but there are many more banks that don’t impose ATM fees (don’t forget to check your local banks). The Global ATM Alliance also allows you to affiliate with a bank.
You can save money on those annoying ATM fees by utilizing a no-fee ATM card, giving you more money for the purposes for which it was intended: travel
Step 8: Maintain Inspiration and Focus
Make sure to continue stoking your wanderlust as you approach your objective. Planning a trip can be difficult and stressful, especially if you don’t have the support of your friends and family (and especially if your trip is still months away). It can occasionally feel elusive and can frequently become discouraging.
Fortunately, there are many methods to stay motivated and focused owing to the wonderful community we have here on this website.
Step 9: Look for late-breaking offers
Okay, you’re motivated, ready, and making progress toward your financial goals for the trip. However, look for any offers you might have missed before purchasing that trip or making that hotel reservation. While you might have dreams of Paris, you might get fantastic travel prices to Berlin right now. Or perhaps you can obtain a package deal to Hawaii for the price of your flight to Paris, a seven-day cruise for 70% off, or 50% off sailing excursions throughout Greece.
Nowadays, there are always discounts to be had, especially if you can be flexible with your travel dates and/or locations. Check out these websites for deals:
- Scott’s Budget Airline
- The Airline Deal
- Vacation Pirates
Step 10: Schedule a flight
Use your miles to book your flight after using your travel credit card and collecting your sign-up bonus. Nowadays, using miles is more challenging because there is less availability, so book early to guarantee you receive the flight of your choice.
Fortunately, there are still a lot of methods to avoid being the passenger on the plane whose ticket cost the most. My preferred websites for locating inexpensive flights are:
- The greatest website for simultaneously looking for numerous locations is Skyscanner.
- Similar to Skyscanner, Google Flights is excellent for open searches to several locations.
- Kiwi – Kiwi is excellent for locating less well-traveled routes or independent carriers.
- AirTreks – AirTreks specializes in round-the-world tickets with many destinations.
Plan your trip roughly two to three months in advance for the cheapest prices.
Step 11: Reserve your lodging
Feel free to reserve lodging for the duration of your trip if it will give you peace of mind (or if you’re visiting during the high season) and you have a set itinerary for less than two weeks of travel.
Just reserve your first few days for journeys longer than two weeks or if you intend to travel extensively. That will guarantee you have somewhere to go when you arrive. Once there, the employees at your hotel or hostel as well as other visitors can provide you insider tips. This information can then be used to plan your future steps.
Even while you can reserve more than just your first few nights, you could decide to alter your plans after you arrive. I always just schedule my first few nights and go from there because I prefer to be flexible.
Here are my go-to resources for locating the most affordable lodging:
- Hostelworld is my go-to site for discovering inexpensive hostels because it provides the widest selection of accommodations.
- The finest results can be found on Agoda if you’re traveling to Asia (though they sometimes have good US deals too).
- Booking.com – Booking.com is the most effective website for locating inexpensive hotels and lodgings.
- The preferred website for apartment rentals is Airbnb.
Before you leave, apply for a hotel credit card if you want to stay in many different hotels during your vacation. A free hotel stay every year, a sizable welcome bonus, and 6x the points on hotel stays are all features of cards like Marriott’s Bonvoy Boundless. Every hotel stay I have is one I’ve earned with free points, of course!
Consider using services like Couchsurfing or BeWelcome if you’re traveling on a small budget or want to meet more locals. In some places, visitors are free to stay with locals as a form of cultural exchange.
Additionally, long-term tourists can consider house sitting or WWOOFing, both of which provide free lodging (in exchange for pet sitting or farm work respectively).
Step 12: Plan Your Activities
Outline the main activities you wish to participate in during your vacation and their associated costs to ensure that you have budgeted effectively. Adjust your savings as needed at the last minute to make sure you have enough money. This will also enable you to determine whether any bookings are required for the trips or activities you have selected.
Additionally, look for savings online. While some nations offer discounts for in-person purchases, others offer savings for early or online reservations. To save money, do your research on which is which for your schedule.
You can also reserve your activities in advance for shorter journeys to guarantee you acquire tickets. Book in advance for longer journeys.
Additionally, prior to leaving the house, make a rough list of the activities that are most important to you. In this manner, you can concentrate on your most important activities so you don’t lose out if you run out of time or money. Additionally, make sure to confirm that there are no holidays or other restrictions that will keep you from participating in specific events.
Step 13: Sell your belongings
Consider selling your belongings to get additional funds if you are planning a lengthy vacation (six months or more). Approximately 60 days before to your departure, begin this. Useful websites include:
- An online classifieds platform with a concentration on the UK and Australia is called Gumtree.
- The largest online retailer in the world is Amazon.
- Online classifieds with both local and international reach include Craigslist.
- eBay is yet another international classified website.
- Facebook Marketplace is excellent for connecting with local buyers so you don’t have to ship your goods.
Skip this step if your absence won’t last that long. Move your belongings to a friend’s home or place them in storage if you are leaving on an extended trip but still want to keep them. Public Storage is a reputable storage facility in the US. It’s one of the least expensive choices available.
Step 14: Automate your bills
To assure you won’t miss any payments while traveling, stop receiving mail, become paperless, and set up online bill payment for your recurring invoices. Use a service like Earth Class Mail, which will collect and scan your mail for you, if you still intend to receive paper mail. (You don’t really need to worry about this if you are taking a two-week vacation, so you can skip this step.)
You can also have all of your mail routed to a friend or relative if you have the choice (and don’t want to pay for a mail service).
Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that you terminate any existing phone plans or change to a more mobile-friendly one. For those doing short-term trips under three months, T-Mobile is excellent. You should cancel your plan and only purchase SIM cards abroad for any excursions that are longer than that. That will cost a lot less money!
Step 15: Inform Your Card Issuers That You Are Traveling
No matter how long you’ll be away, it’s a good idea to let your credit card issuers know you’ll be traveling; this will prevent any purchases you make from being marked as fraudulent and lessen the likelihood that your card will be suspended. Nothing is more annoying than having to spend your holiday on the phone with your credit card company.
Additionally, be careful to carry several debit and credit cards. This will prevent you from being completely cut off in the event that one card is flagged, lost, or stolen. Over the years, I’ve misplaced cards, had them stolen, and had them flagged. I would have been trapped without a backup, so be prepared and bring some extra cards just in case!
Step 16: Pack
Prepare your travel gear now! Although it can be tempting to pack everything “just in case,” less is more when traveling. You don’t require eight pairs of shoes or five sweaters. I’m confident that you can survive on less. After a while, you find it to be pretty liberating!
You don’t need a huge 70L suitcase packed to the brim unless you’re traveling to several regions and need substantial winter clothes.
You don’t have to bring everything you possess, even though what you pack will depend on where you are going. You can purchase necessities while traveling. You can do your laundry abroad. You have to carry whatever you bring at the end of the day. Hence, bring less!
But in addition to your regular attire, you might want to include a few other things. I like to bring the following items:
- medical kit
- Filter-equipped LifeStraw bottle
- packing trays (to stay organized)
- journey lock (for hostel lockers)
- portable adaptor
- swift-drying towel
Additionally, be sure to pack adequate prescription medication for the duration of your trip. If that isn’t possible, bring a prescription and a note from your doctor so you can fill it abroad.
Step 17: Purchase travel protection
Many people believe that if they are in good health, they do not need travel insurance. Travel insurance offers much more than simply medical protection, I won’t get sick. It protects you if something is stolen, your flight is canceled, your camera breaks, a family member passes away, and you have to return home.
Yes, it adds to the cost. But it’s better to be safe than sorry in any situation. I never travel without it because I’ve personally experienced what might occur while driving.
Unfortunately, horrible things can happen when you’re traveling. True, there aren’t many of these things happening. However, handling them alone can set you back tens of thousands of dollars. Purchase travel insurance if paying out of pocket is not an option for you.
Here is a comparison of my top picks for travel insurance providers so you can determine which one has the best packages for your requirements and price range:
- Budget-friendly traveler plans from SafetyWing.
- Travelers with more equipment, gadgets, or who participate in more adventurous sports or activities may consider the World Nomads comprehensive program.
- Most suitable for senior travelers is Insure My Trip.
- In the event of an emergency, Medjet offers supplementary evacuation coverage to guarantee your safe return home.
- Long-term travelers and digital nomads can get comprehensive emergency and non-emergency coverage through Insured Nomads.
Make sure you are also aware of your rights as an aircraft passenger. For instance, you frequently qualify for reimbursement if your journey to or from Europe is delayed (beyond anything insurance-related).
Step 18: Take in the scenery
Everything comes together at this point. It’s time to leave for your trip and enjoy yourself! Go to the airport, get on the plane, and then take in the rewards of your hard work. Don’t forget your passport! You deserve this.
Don’t worry if you’re feeling anxious; that’s very natural. You’re about to embark on an incredible adventure, which is a significant change. Everyone who travels occasionally encounters feelings of anxiety, trepidation, or uncertainty. However, you’ve come this far. You’ll have the trip of a lifetime if you trust your planning and listen to your intuition. I make that promise.
You can more effectively plan and get ready for your vacation if you use this article as a guide. You’ll complete everything, ensure nothing is missed, and have plenty of cash for your trip. Booking a flight and packing can be all it takes, or you can completely rearrange your life to go backpacking throughout the world for the rest of your days.
However, regardless of how lengthy your journey may be, using this list will keep you motivated and organized while you plan your vacation and travel.
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