Travel Planning 101

How do you plan a trip? Here are some steps that will get you on your way:

Make a list of everywhere you want to go and why?  The “why” is important because you may think about going to a place because someone else suggested it even though deep down you have no desire to go there.  Even if your travel time is only a week or two, think about how you really want to spend that time.

Don’t play “follow the leader.” It’s your time and money, go where you want to go.

I read quite a few travel websites especially those of people who are traveling full-time. While they all claim to be “travelers” and not “tourists” meaning they believe they are superior to the average tourist, they all seem to copy each other. They pack the same items, go to the same places–mostly in Southeast Asia–stay in the same hostels, and go out drinking every night with the same people.

Be real about your budget.  You may want to spend a month in Paris, but your budget might be more to a location closer to home.

Think regionally and even domestically. Flying around the world can seem exciting but it’s best to plan your travels in regional blocks and not go haphazardly from one place to another. And don’t rule out domestic travel. So many people think they aren’t really traveling unless they leave their own country. That’s fine, but have you visited your own country. You might be amazed at what you see.

Travel against the crowds.  If possible, don’t travel to places at the height of their tourist season. Go during shoulder season or even off-season.  The crowds will be less and you’ll more than likely save money.

Look at your calendar.  Do you have any previous engagements or places you need to be at a certain time. How will that effect your travels or could they be the starting point of longer trip?

Decide how you want to travel. Plane, train, automobile, bicycle? This will affect how long and where you go? A bike trip may be a beautiful way to see a place, but you’ll cover more ground with a car.

Get a good map. Online or off, use a map and plan out where you want to go. See how far it really is between the places you want to visit and realistically how long it will take. If using public transport, check out plane, train and bus schedules and don’t forget travel to and from stations. If possible, travel in one direction and don’t backtrack.

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