I often get asked about planning the different elements of a trip before people head off on their journeys or next adventure and so I thought I’d put them together in this post.
Here are my top 12 tips, I could go on for ages but these are the most important in my humble opinion:
- Always check your budget, give yourself a maximum amount of money that you want to spend. Use this amount for everything including international flights, internal flights (if needed), accommodation, food, spending money and an emergency fund, just in case!
- If you’ve got a destination in mind then great! If not, then list the destinations you’d most like to visit and go from there.
- Decide if you’re going to travel on your, with friends/partners or join a group tour. This particular post is mainly related to self-guided travelling, I’ll do a separate post on joining group tours in the future.
- Check your local foreign office for travel advice, some countries will have areas which your government will advise against travelling too, make sure you know which areas these are.
- Make sure your passport is in date, you usually have to have 6 valid months on your passport before it expires so that you can travel.
- Get your flights sorted! Book these as soon as you’ve decided where you’re going so that you secure your seats. However remember to shop around to find the best deal. You can book through travel-based search engines, travel agents or direct with the airlines. Remember that flights are usually available 9 months before your chosen departure dates.
- Check what visas you need to allow you to enter and travel through certain countries. You will need to check with your local foreign embassy to see what visas you need to apply for before you travel and what ones you can get as you travel.
- Make sure you check what vaccinations/medications you will need to take with you, including any first aid kits. Make an appointment with your local travel clinic or GP and discuss your travels. The travel nurse will then be able to guide you on what you may or may not need. Do this at least 6-8 weeks before you travel!
- Get your travel insurance sorted! Shop around and remember don’t always just go for the cheapest one…make sure the policy will cover everything you need it to.
- Arrange your travel money, either exchange money before you travel, try not to do this at the airport as the exchange rates will usually leave you out of pocket. Or arrange a currency card with your bank and load it with enough money so you can spend and withdraw cash as you travel.
- Packing for a trip, whether it be a short two week trip or for a longer period, can be a nightmare. It’s worth checking if you need to take any specific items with you such as hiking boots or walking poles and then planning from there. Everyone always packs too much, before you pack your backpack or suitcase try laying everything out on the floor then halve it to the essentials and then pack what is left.
- Remember to invest in a guidebook and do some research on the first few places that are on your itinerary, you want to hit the ground running and not waste any of your hard-earned travel time!
Finally, remember to enjoy the planning process as it’s this which will get you pumped and ready to explore the next destination that you’ll be visiting. As always this isn’t a definitive list and should only be used as a guide, remember that it’s your responsibility to create your own trip of a lifetime!