Some people are born with a travel itch they can’t seem to scratch. Others acquire it over time as they learn of the many wonderful things traveling has to offer them. There are also many people who simply travel for business, or prefer to do so once in awhile, and typically for vacation.
As with any new adventure – be it a job, new home, fifth cat, having a child – a bit of planning has to go into the mix to make sure everything goes as well as it can. Below is a quick rundown of what I consider to be key steps to planning any trip, near or far.
Step 1: What type of trip are you going on?
How long will you be gone?
Is it going to be just a couple of days? Will you be spending a week there? A month? It’s important to know how many days you want to spend somewhere so that the appropriate funds can be set aside for the journey. This also helps with knowing how many activities you can fit into your stay.
What do you want to accomplish?
Are you hoping to spend as much of the trip as possible floating in a jacuzzi with cucumbers over your eyes? Or are you the type of person who likes to get out and do things? Either way, knowing what kind of activities you want to do can help in choosing a location. This way you can research museums, hiking locations, spa resorts, tours, and even food destinations that may interest you.
How far are you going?
If you’re anything like me, I love going out of country. But maybe that isn’t your cup of tea and you want to explore your homeland. That’s perfectly fine, just try not to completely rule out the other option as it’s a great big world out there with so many new experiences to offer you. The point is to go somewhere you’ve never been, and if that means a national park a couple of states over, then mission accomplished!
Step 2: How much money do you need?
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone say, “I can’t afford to travel” and every time I want to rudely correct them with, “No, you don’t want to travel because it scares you somehow.” Truth be told, most people are perfectly capable of finding the time to go somewhere, but too many don’t like stepping outside of their comfort zone or having a little bit of patience. The difference between those who are willing to wait for it vs. those who think it’s too much of a hassle; the ones waiting will actually reach their goal. If you aren’t able to put more than $10 a week towards your travel fund, that’s okay. Sure it’ll take longer to reach your fund goal, but you will reach it.
Step 3: Destination Research
So now that you’ve probably got an idea of where you’d like to go, research it. You can never know too much.
What’s the money conversion?
When going out of country, it’s very important to know (and have written down somewhere accessible, such as your phone) the conversion between your money and theirs. It would be awful to travel somewhere, only to find you didn’t bring enough cash.
What should you look out for?
There are scams all over the world to watch out for. Look into what other tourists encounter during their stay so you know what to keep an eye out for. As a general rule, don’t carry your wallet in your back pocket or in a bag you’re carrying. It goes in the front pants pocket where it’s more difficult for anyone other than yourself to access.
Finally: Pack accordingly
Make sure you’ve got everything you need that you won’t be able to obtain once your trip is underway. Try not to carry anything that adds unneeded weight to your load. If you want to have reading material for planes or vehicle rides, try to bring something you wouldn’t mind losing – that way you don’t have to lug it around once you’ve finished.
There are many other, more detailed steps you could take when planning a trip, but these are what I consider to be key in having a smooth trip experience. Now, off you go. Plan your next adventure!