In my many years of traveling, I’ve experienced: weeks in other states, month-long trips out of the country, weekend getaways, and city-hopping in Canada. But the one thing that I’ve learned in all of my travels is that planning is key to having a successful trip!
Sometimes the idea of planning a trip may seem daunting at first, but I promise it doesn’t have to be. It can be as fun as being on the actual trip itself! So whether you are in the early stages of researching a trip, or all you know is that you want to take a trip, you’ve come to the right place!
Every day in the planning process is a sure-fire way to plan the best trip ever. So grab your notebook and let’s get to work with planning your next trip!
Stage 1: Pick a trip destination.
Ask yourself: Where do I want to go, and why?
Sometimes the answer to this question could be as simple as:
I want to go to Belgium to try their Chocolates.
Or as complex as:
I want to go to Barbados to play Mas at Crop Over.
Whatever your reason, no matter how big or small, are all valid reasons to travel to a new destination. So embrace your reason, and let’s move on to the next stage of planning!
Step 2: Research, Research, RESEARCH!
Research is the most important part of planning any trip, and it comes with the most moving parts. So take a deep breath, and let’s start with the basics!
I always start with the Country Information, so my go-to website is the U.S. Department of State — Bureau of Consular Affairs. There you will find all of your countries information, like entry requirements, travel advisories, embassy messages and more.
Country Information should always be your starting point when researching. Once everything looks good, its time to start thinking about travel time!
Time to decide!
When do you want to visit your destination? And how long do you want to stay?
Sometimes you can answer these questions with ease, depending on the purpose of your visit. For example, if you want to visit Barbados for Cropover, you know your travel dates. But if you’re going to Belgium to try chocolates, a simple Google search can help you figure out your destination’s best travel time.
Be sure to not book trips around holidays (unless that’s the purpose of your trip), as they tend to increase the price of stay and flight accommodations. The research stage is also the time to figure out how you’ll navigate your new destination!
Step 3: Look for Stay Accommodations
I start researching my stay accommodations as soon as I decide on my travel dates! And I tend to book my stay before my flights.
When booking stay accommodations, location is always important! Make sure you’re not staying too far from everything unless that’s what you’re going for!
Step 4: By Land, Sea, Or Air!
Congratulations! You are almost there! After your stay accommodations are set in stone, it’s time for you to book your means of transport. Are you going to fly, take a boat, hop on a train, or catch a bus?
Step 5: Create your Itinerary
So you’ve successfully finished booking your home, transportation, and located the nearest embassy. Now it’s time for the fun stuff!
But! Before I go any further, I have to admit, I am not the best itinerary maker. I hate to plan stuff when I’m feeling good, and then not feel up to any of my plans the day of. So, to solve that problem, I normally write out the things that I have to see and do and plan the rest of my days the morning of.
It’s worked for me thus far, and it stops me from being overly ambitious, then feeling bad when I don’t complete my destinations “to do” list!
And that my Globetrotters is the end of the list! I hope you found this helpful, and if you have any tips on how you plan the perfect trip, please let me know down in the comments!