This is it, you say to yourself. I am finally going to start planning my dream trip! You have a list of things you might want to see/do, but you don’t know what else to think of beyond that. Need some help thinking through the process? This article will break down the basics of planning your dream trip so you don’t have to.
A Step-By-Step Guide to Planning Your Dream Trip:
1) Figure out when you want to go
When we think about a trip, we usually think with a destination in mind. Sometimes, it’s better to think about what time of year you’re thinking about going.
If you have a number of places you’re interested in seeing, some will be more expensive to visit in the summer, for example, than others. There’s also the issue of some countries having different climates. Let’s take Japan for example: if you’re not too much of a fan of humidity, then you should probably consider going somewhere else in the summer. Your ideal destination might match up with your selected dates, but that won’t always be the case.
2) Booking your airfare
Now that you’ve narrowed down when and where you want to go, it’s now time to book your tickets. I don’t have much experience reserving things outside of airfare, so I will focus on that.
Booking plane tickets is tricky. There are thousands of articles that assert when the “correct” time is to place your reservations. Honestly speaking, there is no cut and dry answer. It depends on the time of year, where you are going, the airlines available, your departure point, and a number of other things. In my previous experience, it’s better to book as early as possible.
Bonus tip: when you’re deciding on 1- or 2-stop options, research the connecting airport. How easy is it to navigate the terminals if you’re on the opposite side? You’ll want to know what you’re getting into, especially if your layover is only an hour and a half long.
3) Where are you staying?
Hotel. Hostel. Airbnb. There are so many different options for accommodations now that one can prioritize by what kind of experience they want to have. If you’re on the cautious side, you can splurge for the hotel for added security. If you’re on the more extreme adventurous side, look into couch surfing!
The key here is to figure out where you’ll be living so you’ll know how to do the main planning of your trip. Which brings me to…
4) How will you get around?
Are there subways? Ferries? Will you be renting a car or trying out the local taxis? Researching public transportation can be one of the most frustrating parts of travel planning, but it is also one of the most rewarding. The amount of time and effort you put into researching this earlier, the more happier and relaxed you will be once you have arrived.
Researching transportation will also give you a better sense of the geography. This allows you to properly plan out your days with a number of activities in mind.
5) It’s all about the Benjamins, baby (If Going Abroad)
This tip applies if you’re traveling outside your native country. How are you planning to pay for things? ATM? Credit Card? Cash? Probably not Traveler’s Checks, but those are still a thing!
Look into your bank’s policy on foreign transactions and make sure to alert them of your travel plans. You don’t want to be in the middle of a transaction when your bank thinks someone is stealing your identity.
5) Go forth, my young Padawan
You have your destination, time of year, airfare, and lodgings taken care of. You have a sense of how to get around the town and you have money ready for when you arrive. Now the hard part of planning your dream trip is over. Now comes the fun part: the food, the sights, and the scenery.
Happy travel planning!
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