GETTING YOUR TRIP PLANNED
With the holiday season right around the corner one can’t help but daydream of a nice relaxing vacation or adventure-packed trip to escape the humdrum of everyday life. A trip planned a few months in advance can become a trip destined to be cherished forever. Gone are the days when planning a trip or vacation was a royal time suck…perusing through innumerable travel guidebooks, making endless phone-calls or visit to various travel agents, keeping track of all the minute details.
Nowadays all you need is an Internet connection and you can plan your own trip from the comfort of your home with the click of a button. There is a gamut of travel blogs (I know a really good one) and apps available online optimized to provide the ultimate travel experience of every kind as well as a host of useful advice. Below is a comprehensive step-by-step guide to make your trip planning a less daunting task.
GETTING YOUR TRIP PLANNED – STEP #1: Decide on a destination
The first stepping stone to a successful trip planning lies in picking a destination. If traveling with others one must come to a unanimous decision about where you want to holiday before everything else. Various factors come into play while choosing that dream destination. For instance, define the purpose of your vacation….from lazing on the beach to wine tasting trips from exploring cities and cuisines to backpacking… the options are limitless! Apps like Minube and Trippy help you to narrow down your choices. Even doing a quick cost estimation of your vacation will help you get your trip planned.
GETTING YOUR TRIP PLANNED – STEP #2: Decide the duration of your trip
Determining on how long you wish to holiday helps you in getting your trip planned in various ways right from the start. The duration of your trip determines the cost of your trip, how much luggage you need to carry, how much time you have to tick off all the items on your travel list etc. etc. Get this nailed down early on and you’ll be in good shape in moving on to step 3…
GETTING YOUR TRIP PLANNED – STEP #3: Research destination costs
Doing an online cost analysis of all the travel expenditures might sound boring and a little overwhelming but, trust me when I say this, it is probably one of the wisest moves in getting your trip planned. After researching destination costs you might be even tempted to modify your travel destination.
Expenses like travel cost, accommodation costs, ground transportation and food bills, entrance costs (going to museums, theme parks etc.) must be taken into account while deciding on a travel budget.
GETTING YOUR TRIP PLANNED – STEP #4: Make transportation arrangements
As soon as the above three steps have been accomplished, it is time to make transportation arrangements without further delay. If you intend to take a flight to your travel destination then it is advisable to purchase your flight tickets at least one to two months ahead of your trip to get the cheapest fares. While choosing an airline don’t forget to sign up for their rewards program so that you accrue enough points/miles to qualify for free air tickets!!!
And since a roundtrip air ticket is probably going to be the biggest cost of your vacation, its best to look up aggregator sites such as Kayak or Momondo to save time and hunt for the lowest fares. Should you choose to do a road trip with your own car it will be prudent to check the tires’ air pressure, do a scheduled oil change, make sure all the lights, brakes etc. are in perfect working condition and don’t forget to carry a spare tire, hydraulic jack along with a basic tool kit. Sometimes it makes sense to rent a car for driving around to the different sightseeing spots rather than taking cabs. Websites like Travelocity offer great bargains when it comes to car rentals. Before you go ahead and rent a car make sure you familiarize yourself with the hotel parking policies. While traveling to cities with a great public transport system it is easier and cheaper use buses, subways, and trains that offer weekly and daily passes. All in all, they are way cheaper than cabs. And don’t forget to make use of any complementary shuttle services (airport to hotel-airport) offered by the hotel.
GETTING YOUR TRIP PLANNED – STEP #5: Booking accommodations
Figuring out where to stay is another essential step to getting your trip planned. Once your travel dates are fixed it is time to book your accommodation. With websites like Hotels.com offering great deals on hotel rooms, hotel bookings have become a breeze.
If you are simply looking to crash at the hotel its best to look for budget hotels so that you can use the money for better things. However, if you want an all-inclusive resort with spa packages or theme parks then its luxury hotels all the way. And cheap holidays with A1travel can be the way to go. Hostelworld and Hosteling International are great for hostel bookings especially in Europe.
If you want a home away from home for a reasonable bargain then websites like Airbnb or Homeaway is the perfect answer to all your needs. Hotel Tonight, a free mobile app available on iOS and Android devices enables you to make last-minute hotel bookings at pretty decent prices. If you have already booked a recreational vehicle (RV) to get to your destination then you don’t even need to worry about booking accommodation elsewhere since it doubles up as your hotel!
GETTING YOUR TRIP PLANNED – STEP #6: Plan your activities
Once these basic things have been taken care of the next step to getting your trip planned should be to figure out what all you want to do in your vacation and prioritize accordingly. For example, while visiting cities it is better to visit one museum instead of all of them since it will leave you feeling tired and confused. If you are planning on catching a musical or play like Broadway or performances by Cirque Du Soleil it makes sense to get the tickets way ahead of time to ensure availability of seats of your choice and discounts; since they can be pretty expensive last minute. Similarly if you want to go on a cruise for whale-watching or a sightseeing tour or cruise it is always best to make reservations before embarking on your trip. It is prudent to familiarize oneself with the cancellation and rescheduling policies while booking far in advance in case of any last minute changes.
Websites like Yelp are awesome for restaurant and bar recommendations worldwide while Groupon offer daily deals on food or excursions like sky diving, wine-tasting, swamp tours etc. etc. While it is very tempting to try to squeeze in as much as sightseeing and touring as possible during your vacation I would highly recommend not to over-plan and keep some time aside for relaxing and chilling out. After all vacations are meant to be stress-busters!
GETTING YOUR TRIP PLANNED – STEP #7: Packing
Keeping a checklist handy is a must while planning your trip. Make sure to keep a track of the weather at your travel destination while packing clothes for your trip. Get to know the baggage allowance of the airline you will be traveling with if you want to avoid hefty baggage fees. First-aid kits containing Band-Aids, and some over-the-counter medications for cold and fever, aching joints and stomach issues are a must. For much more travel planning tips, check out this page…
I hope the above pointers will help you with organizing and planning for the dream trip that you have been wanting to embark on for such a long time. Getting your trip planned is not as overwhelming and daunting as it seems right at the outset if you have a basic checklist ready. Keep feeding that wanderlust and have a great trip!
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