These are some steps that you definitely should consider before going on your trip and how to plan everything in advance, where to start and how to get to the point where you can say “I am prepared for my trip”. Of course, you don’t have to follow all the steps in order to have an awesome trip, some trips will become your favorite, because you didn’t prepare for them at all, others will go wrong no matter how well you will prepare. So, just always stay positive, open-minded and eager to learn from your experiences because that’s what travel is all about.
Let’s get to the main points that I want to share with you. If I could sum it up in one word, it would be RESEARCH. The best thing that you could do for yourself is checking everything in advance before leaving for your trip. Here are some main steps:
1. Get inspired.
I go through Pinterest or Instagram using the hashtags of the place where I want to go and I read a lot of blog posts about it. That way I get more inspired about the country that I’m visiting and find some new ideas. Another good website is wikitravel.org which will help you get a better understanding of the place that you would like to visit.
2. Look for attractions to visit
You can research topics like “Top places to visit in Paris”, “Things to Do in Paris” on Google or Pinterest. You can either make a list on your phone or pin them on Google maps. That way, you will be able to see all the places marked with a green flag.
3. Search for different activities or tours
Always check fun activities to do in the place, where you’re going. For exmaple: walking or bike tours, cooking classes, outdoor adventures or food tours. I usually make a list on my phone in advance with their prices. That way, I can sort through them later and choose which ones I like the most.
The next important step is to find your flight ticket. The most popular websites to use are: Skyscanner, Google Flights, Kayak, and Expedia. Also, consider booking your flight directly from the airline’s website. A lot of the time, it’s a cheaper and better option in case if your flight gets delayed or canceled.
5. Choose the location
Now that you can see all the places that you would like to visit on your map, you can easily decide in which area to stay at. So you don’t have to rely on public transport or taxis all the time.
6. Choose your accommodation
The next step is deciding where to stay. It will depend on your budget and personal preferences. I always go with the cheapest option, since I never spend a lot of time at the hotel. Hostels will help you meet more people and save some money. Hotels will give you more privacy and other benefits depending on its rating. Apps that I usually use to compare different prices are: Hostelworld, Booking.com, Airbnb, Hostels and Agoda
You also need to research the best places to eat and which foods you should try. Because, you don’t want to miss out on some delicious local meals. If you want to find the best options, it’s better to look through the places which other people recommend. Honestly, I don’t like using Trip Advisor because lists can be manipulated there. Usually I go through different blog posts or watch some YouTube videos on best places to eat. People will take the time to write about a place only if they really enjoyed it. After that I pin all the places that I want to eat at in Google Maps. I use Starred places or Favorite tags, so they look different from attractions that I’d like to visit from point 2.
I just do a quick Google research on public transportation in the city that I’m going to. I check which way is the most convenient one, between taxis, online apps, and public buses and metro. Another thing that I check in advance is how to get from the airport to the city center, so I’m not confused when I land.
9. If you are going somewhere for a longer period of time
for more than 2-3 weeks is joining 1-2 Facebook groups for the place that you’re visiting (like “I love Bali”, “Bali Life”, “Thailand Backpacker Group”) because you can find more great places to visit and some helpful tips in general.
10. Make an itinerary
You shouldn’t plan everything hour by hour, but there will be places that you’ll want to visit more than others. That’s why, it’s a good idea to check their schedule, closing days and write down their opening hours. So, you won’t be disappointed if the place that you wanted to visit the most, is closed.
11. List of things that I need to buy before my trip
I write down everything that pops up in my head before I start packing. So, I don’t forget what I need the most at the last moment. Also, I make a list of things that I have to buy before my trip. So, that way I don’t forget anything important and always stay prepared.
12. Download the apps
I have a whole blog post of apps that are very useful and a must-have when you travel.
13. Do not over plan
I consider everything that I mentioned above very important but don’t forget that traveling is about exploring new places and growing. Do not plan every single minute of your trip and just leave some space to breathe and get lost in beautiful streets and emerge yourself in a new culture.