10 Stress-Free Steps To Planning The Trip of a Lifetime

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

When you decide to start traveling more, then it comes with some decisions to make. Where will you go to? How will you get there? How will you fund the trip? Will it work with time off from work? All valid questions to ask. Where do you even start when it comes to planning a trip? Are there some things that should be organized before others? See, so many questions! It is very easy to fall into the overwhelmed trap when it comes to planning a trip. But that isn’t going to help you enjoy the process or get too excited about the journey. A trip of a lifetime deserves to have a fun and enjoyable planning process. 

You might get yourself a book about a certain continent or country that you’re looking forward to visiting. That can help it feel more real, but it still doesn’t prepare you for planning your trip in its entirety. So in order to help you to get out and about and off on your next adventure, here is a step-by-step guide to planning a once in a lifetime trip. When the process of planning is broken down, you can check things off your list, and it will make the whole thing feel much less overwhelming.

1. Choose Your Destination

For any trip, this needs to be the first step. The plan to get to the destination is the end goal, so this needs to be decided on quite early on; it gives you a goal to work towards. It is a good idea to be a little more specific too. You might want to visit a few destinations when you’re away. But psychologically, it is easier to get on board with ‘I’m going to Beijing and Tokyo’ than just ‘I’m going to Asia.’ Along those lines, it is good to look for recommendations or watch video travel guides if you’re not sure where to choose. You might have had a certain destination in mind all along. But if you haven’t, then doing some research into locations and what they offer will help you to make your decision. So what comes next?

2. Decide How Long The Trip Will Be

This is a decision that is going to be different for everyone. For some people that are able to do some work when they are away, they might want to travel for longer. If you’re restricted by how much time you can get off work, then that will play a role. You can get an idea of how much money you’ll need for your trip when you decide on the length of time. So this definitely needs to be the second step. 

3. Look Into Costs

Now you know where you want to go and how long for, it makes things much easier to organize. It also means you can be specific about costs and take it all more seriously. You might want to save to see your chosen destination in style, or you might choose to go next month and just wing it backpacking. Whatever you choose, you need to look into the costs of it all and set yourself a budget. I find that setting a daily budget for when you’re away gives you something to stick to when planning. Then you can check your finances and savings to see if it can happen sooner rather than later.

4. Save For The Trip

Now you know where you want to go to, how long for, and how much it is going to cost you. You will know if you need to be saving for it or not. If you do, then there are several options to help you save a little each day.

Get a credit card that offers air miles. Then you will be earning miles to spend on flights just for buying the things that you normally would. They really do add up. There are often lots of introductory bonuses so look out for those too.

Choose something each day to go without. It might be a second (or first) Starbucks coffee or a candy bar when you fill up your car with gas. Small things like that do add up, and you’d prefer to spend it on vacation, right?

Improve some of your skills, like cooking, for example. This will be a good skill to learn when you’re traveling, but it also allows you to live more cheaply too.

5. Booking the Trip

You know the location, the length of time, and how much it is going to cost you. You’ve even got the money for it now. So now is the time to get things booked. Such an exciting process. One of the first things to do is to look out for some good deals on sites like Expedia. If your dates are flexible, then quite often there are some package deals that can work out at a good price. You could also use sites like SkyScanner to book flights. Using a comparison tool will save you lots of time from searching, but give you plenty of options to choose from. You might have a longer layover somewhere, for instance, but if it saves you a couple of hundred dollars compared to every other airline, then it might be worth it to you. The best deals are rumored to be around two months before you intend to fly. There is very little point in booking things a year in advance!

6. Book Your Accommodation

You have your dates for your trip now that your flights or other travel are booked. So from now, you just need to think about where you want to stay and get it booked. There is no point holding off on accommodation really, as you could just limit yourself with what is available. So when you know your dates, look for somewhere to stay. Even things like Airbnb or campsites are good to book as soon as you know your dates. You’ll find the planning of the trip stressful if you aren’t able to know where you’re staying the day before you leave.

7. Plan an Itinerary

Vacations and even longer exploring trips can just fly by in an instant, so making a rough itinerary before you go can be a really good idea. Then, if things need to be booked in advance, they can be, and you’ll know roughly where you will be on each day. I say roughly because you don’t want to overthink it too much. If a schedule is too tightly packed, then it doesn’t leave room for exploring local or hidden gems that you just happen to stumble across. So just have a rough idea of what you will be doing on each day.

8. Let Your Bank Know

When you travel, the chances are that you’re not going to have enough foreign currency for everything that you need. So advising your bank that you’ll be away is a really good idea. Then, if you try to get cash out of an ATM, the transaction won’t be blocked. All it takes is a quick phone call, and it will save you any hassle or stress when you’re out on your travels.

9. Buy Travel Insurance

There are so many people that travel without insurance, and it is such a risky business, so I wouldn’t advise that at all! Pretty much as soon as you know where you’re staying and your travel is booked, you should get travel insurance. It will help just in case your airline goes bust or flights are canceled, as well as if any, holiday companies that you’ve booked through have any issues. Even if you think that you’re pretty healthy, so you’re unlikely to get sick, you never know what you might need it for. You might have to return early due to a family emergency or get sick from an illness that is specific to the country that you’re in. So don’t chance it and get travel insurance.

10. Pack!

One of the most fun parts of a trip for me is packing. I like to plan out what I will need and take when I’m away. I think writing down a list of all the things you will be doing is a great way to help you pack. If you know you’ll rarely be at a beach or pool, then you won’t need to take three or four swimsuits, right? One or two will do. If you’re going to be hiking do you need hiking shoes or will sneakers be enough? The same goes for your accessories like sunglasses, and your toiletries. Will you take everything you need for the trip with you or will you take some, but buy the rest when you’re out there? 

The final step is to go on your trip and have the best time! Take your passport and head to the airport. Enjoy the journey that you’ve planned and embrace all of the new things that you will no doubt experience. 

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