Are you going on a trip soon? Are you going on a post college/army trip to Southeast Asia or South America or Europe? Maybe you are just travelling around the United States with some buds. But no matter what you are doing, the difference between a fun and exciting trip versus one which falls on its face and is a drag lies in the planning. Here are five important steps to planning out your next great adventure.
Deciding what your trip will be
So you’ve decided to go on an international adventure. Congratulations! So now you have to make some decisions. What type of trip are you looking for? Are you looking to go on safari in the serengeti in Africa, lay on the beach all day in Koh Phangan, go hiking in the Himalayas? Maybe you just want to live it up in Europe and see the art and architecture and history that brought you Western Civilization?
With all of these choices, it’s hard to find out what will fit best for you. But once you decide where you want to go and what you want out of your trip, the next most important thing to consider is the length of your trip. One week? A month? A year?
Get an idea of your budget
So you’ve decided where you want to go and more or less what type of a trip you want along with approximately what time of year you want to go. Now is the time to start looking into what flights and lodging will cost. Do you want direct flights or are you fine with layovers? Do you want a five star hotel or do you want to backpack and live in hostels? Additionally, how much does a meal typically cost? What about taxis or renting a car in this country? By figuring all of this out you can get a good idea of how much money you need to save up. It is best to do this stage at least two months before your flight.
Pro tip: always assume things will be a bit more expensive than they really are. It’s better to bring money and not need it than need it and not have it!
Things to do
You don’t want to arrive at your destination and after a day say to yourself “ok, now what?” It’s important to have an idea of the sights and sounds of the city so that you can know what to go see and what things are. You will know where the good restaurants are, where the big shopping streets are, and the awesome cultural aspects of the place you are in.
This is the trip of a lifetime, and you don’t want to waste all of it staying in bed. This is the stage where you buy guidebooks or look online to understand what there is to do in a certain place. Also, this is the part which make you super excited for the trip.
Start planning out the actual logistics
This is where your trip really starts and where it starts to feel real. This is when you buy the tickets, reserve the rental car, or just start figuring out how to get around. As opposed to winging it and wasting a half a day hitchhiking, it’s a better idea to see how the busses in the country you are going to work. Where the train station or airport is and how to get to where you need to go (keep in mind that airports are usually MILES away from the actual city).
This is also the point when you decided where exactly you will be going, for how long, and how exactly you will get there. Make sure all of your documents are in order.
Can’t travel without documents
Remember, make sure you have everything you need. Some countries require a visa before entering them (you don’t want to be turned around at the airport). Make sure your passport is up to date, and make sure you have some sort of ID.
Good luck on your trip.