For most of us, traveling to another continent and exploring what the world has to offer seems like the last thing on our minds these days. Yet if you’re like me, daydreaming as the days melt into one another while working from home, thoughts of hopping on a plane and crossing oceans to lose myself completely in a different country is pretty much one of the only things that keep me going through my workday.
As the world is slowly recovering from the effects of the 2020 pandemic, so is the travel industry. And with more and more countries opening up their borders to international visitors, there has never been a better time to dust off your passport and start thinking about your next trip away.
Why trip planning is important
In the wise words of old Ben Franklin – failing to plan is planning to fail. This is especially true when it comes to traveling. Sure, it may be simple enough to just choose your destination, buy your plane ticket and book your accommodation, but more often than not – these travel scenarios often end up offering a lot less fulfilment as compared to a trip with a planned itinerary (unless you’re super rich, in which case, this article’s probably not for you!).
So how does trip planning work to make your travel experience a great one? Well, for starters, you get to maximize your time on your trips. Having an itinerary written out with clearly defined timings means that you’ll be able to experience more things that your host country has to offer. We’ve all got 24 hours – no more and no less – so by spending a little bit of effort beforehand to plan your routes to all the attractions (with a bit of leeway for weather or bad traffic), you won’t be wasting any of your precious travel time!
By planning your trips, you also get to save some money – and we’re talking about a significant chunk of your travel moolah. Exploring the streets and attractions your host country can be a confusing experience, especially if it’s an entirely different culture than the one you’re used to. And not knowing how to get around in the country you’re going to be in can result in some pretty frustrating days as you might have to shell out more money taking taxis or other more expensive forms of transportation. Do your research and estimate the cost of your travel before you even board the plane – this helps you keep your wallet and bank account away from any unexpected costs.
One other great thing about planning trips is of course – being prepared for wherever you’re going. An itinerary includes multiple locations, and if each location requires wearing different clothes (like a place of worship for example), things to bring (umbrella, poncho, etc.) and if necessary, medication for you or any member of your travel party, you’ll have that peace of mind knowing you’re all prepared for your big day out.
What kind of traveler are you?
Another thing you should think about when planning your trip is you – more specifically, what kind of a traveler you are. Do you love the nightlife, or are you more of an early bird? Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone to try and test the limits of culture shock, or are you partial to staying in the shallow end of the pool? Do you enjoy spontaneity or do you prefer a schedule that’s planned to the T?
Asking yourself these questions will definitely help you shape your travel planning efforts into something that’s much more rewarding for you.
How to plan your best trip yet
Here are some steps you can follow to plan and make the most out of your travels.
- Decide on your travel destination
The first thing you want to do before you travel is – decide on where to go! It’s easy to get lost in a sea of dream travel destinations while in the planning stages – but remember, there’s always a next time to tick those destinations off your bucket list. You can’t travel without somewhere to go!
- What do you truly enjoy?
Think about what drives you, what inspires you and what you truly enjoy in life. Plan your trip itinerary around those factors and you’ll start to see your trip slowly coming to life.
- Use the power of social media
Get on instagram, pinterest and google maps to look for everything you need – pictures, traveler reviews, ratings and routes. Use this info to narrow down and perfect your itinerary.
- How much can you spend?
Always set aside a budget and include emergency funds in case something goes south (and trust me, something always does). Try not to go into an unexpected overdraft while traveling – it’s not worth the hassle.
- Get your travel Visas
Most countries require international travelers to obtain Visas before they are allowed through border security. If you’re traveling to the U.S.A, you can easily get your ESTA application done online through a quick and simple process.
- Book your flights and accommodation
With your itinerary in hand, get on the comparison sites and book the best flights you can find, in terms of value and cost. Look for trusted carriers as they often, if not always, offer fantastic service.
- Go forth, and conquer!
Once you step foot into the arrival hall of your host country, do it with a smile on your face. Traveling is a priceless experience, and if you keep a positive mindset throughout, you’ll be enjoying the beauty of travel from start to finish – warts and all.
If you feel like your previous travel experiences haven’t really matched up to your expectations (the ones you set for yourself while scrolling through all those beautiful pictures on the ‘gram), use this downtime to consciously review your approach to traveling. Hopefully, with the help of the tips I’ve listed above, the next time you get on a plane – you’ll be on your way to a trip that will change your life!