How to plan a trip: a step-by-step guide

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Planning a trip can seem like a lot of work but it can actually be really fun! We have compiled this guide on how to plan a trip to make the process easier for you.

There are of course several steps you have to take to plan your trip but with a bit of organization, you won’t find it so overwhelming.

It also depends on your traveling style. There are people that prefer to go with the flow and not prepare much in advance. While others find it easier to research and arrange their travels beforehand.

Keeping your preferred traveling style, take only the steps that suit your needs and disregard the others. There is no definitive guide on how to plan a trip since we are all very different. So, feel free to implement only some of our tips.

Planning a trip can include buying flight or train tickets, booking accommodation, packing your suitcase, and plan your activities.

Let’s see in detail our step-by-step guide:

Decide if you travel solo or with a partner(s)

People hugging

The first step is probably to figure out if you want to travel alone or with friends/family. It is an important decision because depending on your travel style you may need to change some details.

Both options are great but present some differences. When you travel alone you decide everything and don’t need to compromise on anything. But you also have to plan everything yourself and it can be a bit intimidating.

When you travel with someone else, you can share responsibilities and ask the other person(s) to help you with the planning. It also means that you don’t get to make the final decision and you’ll need to compromise.

Choose a destination

Person pointing on a map

Deciding where you want to go is of course another important step. First of all, when are you going to travel? During summer? During winter? Some locations are more enjoyable during certain seasons so keep that in mind.

If you’re not sure where to go, do research online, go on Google, or read some travel blogs and you’ll find some places that inspire you.

After choosing a destination find out what the visa requirements are. Do you need a visa to enter that country? And if you do, where can you get one? Do you need to get a visa in your home country, or can you apply for a visa when you arrive?

Figure out your costs

Piggy bank with coins

In order to know how much you would need for your trip, you have to decide its length. For how many days do you want to travel? A week? Two weeks? A month? Your travel length will affect how much money you’ll need.

Of course, you can also go the other way around. How much do you have to spend on your trip? Knowing your budget, you can calculate how long you can travel with it.

Whatever method you decide to follow, knowing your finances is very important. A pro tip is to always budget more than you actually need. Things don’t always go how we planned, so we need to have some extra savings just in case.

Book your flight

Plane's wing

Now that you know your destination and you have a budget, it’s time to book a flight. Check out multiple travel websites to find the best deal.

If you are flexible on the dates, you can actually save a bit since there are days that cost less than others. This is why I usually buy flight tickets first and accommodation second. Flight prices vary quite a bit and you can save some $ by changing your departure dates.

Don’t add extras if you don’t really care about where you sit for example or get on board early. And take only a carry-on to avoid paying for checked luggage.

Book your accommodation

hotel room

There are several accommodation options out there and where you book depends on your personal preference and budget.

If you’re going for a romantic weekend maybe you’d prefer a nice hotel that has all the amenities. But if you’re staying for two weeks, or traveling for a month, a B&B or a hostel may be more appropriate.

We prefer apartment-like accommodations because they usually also have a kitchen and a washer machine. In this way, we can save a bit on eating and/or doing laundry.

Pro tip: pay attention to where are located the attractions you want to visit and book a place near them. Pick a strategic location so you can walk around and reach the various locations on foot.

Plan activities

People jumping

Planning activities is the fun part for us. We love looking online for cool places to visit and plan our days.

Don’t plan every minute of the day, leave some room for unexpected activities that may come up. We usually just have a list of things we want to do and places we want to visit and roughly divide them.

When we are on site, we may swap a day for another or an activity for another depending on the situation.

Pack

Suitcase open

Lastly, pack for your trip. We made a list of essential items to bring when you travel, if you want some inspiration.

Try to keep it simple and don’t take too much stuff with you. Some of the items you could buy there and some you won’t even use so just bring what you really need.

Remember that you’ll have to carry your suitcase so it’s best to keep it light.  

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