If it’s your first time planning a trip, check out this complete guideline of what you need to prepare, from booking hotel rooms to exploring the city.
It is easy to get stuck and feel burnt out with your daily routine, especially if you are working 9 to 5 in the office and don’t have any other activities to make you feel relaxed. If you are starting to feel this way, it is time for you to plan a trip to rejuvenate yourself. Never had the opportunity to travel before? Don’t worry, we are going to help you plan your trip, from booking hotels to exploring new places.
1. Pick the Destination
It is easy to say that you want to go travelling, but knowing exactly where you want to go rationally is not as easy. You need to consider how much time and budget you have in hand. Calculate how many vacation days you have per year. If it is around 1 to 2 weeks, it will be wiser to go to the cities closer to home or a neighbouring country. But if you have longer vacation days, for example, 2 to 4 weeks, you can consider going further overseas.
When deciding the destination, you should also consider the budget you have. Don’t force yourself to go on an overseas trip you can’t afford. It’s also important to research the cost of travelling to the destination you choose. Consider whether you are going to backpack or stay in a fancy hotel. How much are the costs of accommodation, meals, and attractions that you are going to visit? You should be able to answer these questions to ensure that you have enough in your pocket for the whole trip — and return home.
If you are travelling with other people, you can’t decide the destination by yourself. So, make time to discuss where you and your travel partners are going to go, what they wish to do or see during the trip, and what kind of memories they want to create. You should decide everything together and don’t leave the decision to only one person. The key is to make sure that all of you have fun together.
Another thing that is also important is deciding when to go. Find out the peak season of your destination — you might want to avoid that. It can get really crowded and the cost of attractions, hotels, and even flight tickets can also increase drastically.
2. Book Flights to Your Destination
Once you decide on every detail related to your destination, the next thing you need to do is book a flight ticket. Book your ticket ahead to get a cheaper price. Visit online travel agent websites to compare the prices and find which airlines give the best rate. Avoid flying during the peak season since the price can be really high.
Another trick to get cheaper prices is through the airline’s official website. It is very likely that the prices in the airline’s official website are lower than those listed in online travel agent websites. If you’re lucky, you may also find promos and discounts.
3. Hotel Booking
Unless you are a truly adventurous person, you don’t want to arrive in a foreign city or country without planning for a place to sleep. We do not recommend this for first-time travellers. Booking hotels in advance is the best option so that you can immediately rest once you arrive at your destination.
Hotels are another fixed expense you are going to spend during your trip, so it is better to plan it in advance. Sometimes, booking hotels right at the front desk upon arrival may give a lower price. However, this can be risky. For instance, the hotel of your choice is fully booked, or the price is actually higher than what you have estimated before.
There are various types of hotels available at different prices and facilities. To easily compare them, visit hotel booking websites to get the best deal. Some major hotel booking sites usually list all the best hotels available as well as lower-priced hotels with decent facilities and services. Sometimes, these types of online hotel booking apps or websites will also inform you when they have special deals.
Other websites also list customer reviews, where you can find out exactly which hotels are worth a try. Checking out the reviews to find the right hotel to stay during your trip will save you time and energy. Many online hotel booking websites also provide great features such as free cancellation fee, best hotel recommendations, 24/7 customer service, and later payment at check-in.
Once the hotel is covered, the next thing to consider is transportation to explore the city of your destination. You should decide whether you are going to rent a car or use public transportation. Also try to find all the alternatives, such as bus, train, taxi, and Uber. The key is to research all available transportation systems in your destination to save you from stress and hassle once you arrive. It’s also advisable to list the attractions that are within walking distance from your hotel.
If you decide to rent a car, be sure to reserve in advance to save time. Besides, you will usually get a better deal when you book early rather than showing up at the counter and renting directly. After all, you don’t want to negotiate a deal for a rental car after a long flight. It can be time-consuming and stressful.
Another option you can try is to check whether your hotel provides shuttle services. Some hotels provide shuttle services that can pick you up from the airport and take you to the hotel or vice versa. Some hotels that are located near tourist attractions often provide shuttle services for these destinations as well. So, you might want to confirm this with the hotel.
5. What to Do during your Trip
When everything about transportation and accommodation has been settled, the next thing to plan is what you are going to do during your trip. List all the tourist attractions and the best things that you can do in the destination of your choice. Also, don’t forget to list the best walks, day trips, as well as city tours.
Travelling doesn’t mean that you have to visit paid tourist attractions only. There are plenty of free activities to enjoy and great admission-free places to visit. Once you list all the attractions and activities available, you can sort them out according to how much they cost, how far they are from your hotel, and how to get there. This will narrow down your list, and you’ll get the ideal things to do for your itinerary.
6. Decide on the Places to Eat
Another important thing to plan is where you are going to eat during your trip. Do you know that you can learn a lot about a culture from their cuisine? This is why culinary tours have become a hyped activity these days, and you can do that too!
Just like how you list all the best tourist attractions, this time, make a list of restaurants, cafés, bars, pubs, and even street foods. Don’t forget to try local delicacies so that you can immerse in the local culture. It doesn’t have to be fancy restaurants. Family-owned restaurants or local diners usually serve delicious dishes as well.
7. Prepare All the Necessary Documents
Once you get everything prepared, it is time to prepare all the necessary documents. Check your passport if you are travelling overseas. If you don’t have a passport yet, apply for a passport at least 6 weeks before departure. If you already have one, check the expiration date and whether it still has enough pages or not.
You should also check the visa requirements of the country you are going to visit. Each country will be different, and you need to prepare this ahead. It can take some time to apply for a visa, and you don’t want to leave it to the last minute. Once all your documents are prepared, make copies of all those important documents. It can help you in case your important documents get misplaced.
8. Don’t Forget Phone and Internet Access
Another important thing to prepare is phone and internet access. Most people will at least bring their smartphone. But you will need internet and data plan to use your smartphone during your trip. You may want to update a Facebook post, upload new photos onto your Instagram and many more.
Sure, you can buy local SIM cards and use them during your trip if you have an unlocked phone. If that is not an option, you can use your phone when Wi-Fi access is available. However, if you want to be connected all the time, you need to find out what are the available data plans or SIM cards in your destination.
While travelling can be a fun activity, planning a full trip can be overwhelming and sometimes stressful if you are not used to it. The above list covers everything you need to know to plan your trip, from booking hotels to planning your activities in the destination. Have fun!