How to effectively plan a trip and not forget anything? When to buy flight tickets, how to find the right hotel and what to pack for you? Are you also challenging such questions for you when you start to travel? We have put together 7 basic and important tips for you, without which you can’t plan any of your journeys, whether you are traveling for a week or half a year. You can find here links to sites where are the information you need and how to save the money. So don’t wait anymore and start planning!
1. Choosing your destination
At first, the most important thing is to decide on what type of journey you’d like to set out. There are several different options – from sightseeing tours and trekking through the countryside to relaxing on beaches. Everyone’s personality is different and we all enjoy different things. Each and every country is slightly different and offers different kinds of activities. We like admiring nature, sights and getting to know different cultures. The less the country is “touristy”, the more adventure awaits you. At first, all you need are a few tips. Certainly, each one of us has a dream country we want to visit.
We plan each trip usually several months in advance. We have selected countries that we’d like to visit and we have a plan for the entire upcoming year detailing how much time a trip is going to take and in what season we’d like to go. The best thing is to have enough time for the planning because then you look for great flight fares or accommodation prices. We also, don’t avoid the spontaneous purchase of super cheap flight tickets – which can pay off sometimes. However, for these purposes, it’s necessary to have a sufficient amount of money already saved up.
2. Total Trip Budget – How much will it all cost
One of the most important things is to create a travel budget correctly. Money decides what you can afford and what luxuries you may be able to indulge in. Again, it is only up to each of us and our priorities – what are we prepared to pay for and what we consider unnecessary. Here we bring you the best websites to help you calculate the total costs that await you. It’s always ideal to rely on more resources and create substantial financial reserves.
Our travels are usually somewhere between budget and mid-range. We don’t need to have everything during our travels. For example, we often travel without a nice hotel and we don’t need comfortable coaches; we try to travel by local transport, which can sometimes be more adventurous. The money we save, we use elsewhere. We’d rather pay extra to get to more remote places, do interesting activities or pay for a good guide.
It’s important to have a sufficient reserve, kept separate from the travel money. The ideal solution is a second account or a credit card. This money should be used only in cases such as someone robbing us, losing our credit card. We were lucky on our travels and we never had to use this second option. Nevertheless, we felt much more secure knowing we had it.
3. Buying flight tickets
Buying tickets is a very large topic by itself. We have already written several articles that deal with how and where to buy tickets.
In general, the rule is that the more time you have to search for the tickets; the more likely you will find a good ticket price. The chances of you sitting down at your computer and finding cheap flights the very first time is scarce. We search for our tickets by having “watchdogs” set up on several useful sites that we regularly check. This way, we keep track of the regular costs and also we know what is expensive and what is cheap. If you have sufficient amount of money saved up, you can be efficient and, if you manage to stumble upon a bargain, buy quickly. However, it’s necessary to spend some time searching and watch out if you want to buy for a great priced flight.
4. Accommodation reservation – Where to search and how to save money
When you have your tickets purchased, you can start searching for suitable accommodation. It’s usually worth it to book a hotel for at least first night right after your arrival. From our own experience, we can confirm that it’s much more pleasant to travel with the knowledge that your first night is sorted out. Of course, you have the opportunity to find accommodation on the spot as well. In general, the shorter the holiday, the better it is to settle everything beforehand. Finding accommodation on the spot and sorting out your program after you arrive is wasting a lot of time you might have been spending differently. Where and how to look for accommodation and how to save money? We wrote a few articles on this topic and you can read them here:
We usually rely on Booking.com or Airbnb.com – these are the undoubtedly the best websites. We usually reserve a hotel, we can cancel free of charge. This is especially beneficial because you can come across a hotel that will be better or cheaper at the very last minute. It also serves as insurance in case you eventually have to cancel your trip.
For those who are adventurous and courageous we recommend couch surfing, which is an excellent experience and way how to get to know local people and culture. Check out our tips and tricks for Couchsurfing.
5. Activity planning – What interesting places you’d like to visit
In today’s Internet age, searching for activities can be very fast and convenient. The problem is, that you have to go through tons and tons of diverse information – and it just keeps coming. It’s ideal to have verified resources from which to draw information and never rely on just one. We prefer to use various travel blogs, Pinterest, Trip Advisor, GetYourGuide or the classic book guide Lonely Planet.
We recommend visiting Free Walking Tour, usually located in every larger town. It is usually organised by local guides and you pay them directly for their work – a voluntary tip. You will discover the exciting and interesting info directly from the locals and will understand the local culture better. You can also print out a map of your destination, create a so-called “touristic map” and mark interesting places and activities you’d like to see and do on it. Depending on where the places are located, you can then figure out the path of your trip.
6. Logistics – How you’ll get around
If you know what country you want to visit and what places are appealing to you, you still need to work out how to get there. It really depends on what is the transport network in your country of choice. In some countries, the best way to get around is by trains or buses, elsewhere you have to rely on renting your own vehicle. This option does not necessarily have to be the most expensive but it has its advantages and disadvantages.
Each country usually have its own bus, train or airline carriers. Unfortunately, there is no centralised site where everything can be booked in advance – well, except for plane tickets. Most countries or companies have their own way of purchasing tickets. However, there is one website: rome2rio.com, which combines all different types of transport and shows you the different options. It definitely does not include all the different companies, but it’s at least a good start.
To rent a car, we recommend Skyscanner or Rentalcars, and it is always best to compare your offers across multiple places. Make sure all the charges are included in the final price – for example for picking the car up at the airport, etc. Also, do not forget the fee for various insurances that are sometimes mandatory.
7. Packing for the trip – What to pack and what to leave
If you have everything ready and the time of departure is getting nearer and nearer, now is the time to pack. Make sure you have enough time for packing; it is good to start preparing at least a week before departure. This is especially important because this way you can think about what you need and what you don’t. Try to take the least number of things you can. If you know you can buy something at any time on the road, consider whether it’s necessary to take it with you.
Your cabin luggage, should contain electronics and valuable items that you can’t go without. Always be aware that your suitcase can be lost on the way, leaving only your cabin luggage. Also, keep the weight limit in mind. We actually already bought a scale for our luggage to make sure we are aware whether we are still in the limit or not. It has made many situations much easier for us. Airlines usually make you pay a fortune for any extra weight.
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