We all love to travel, however when it comes to planning the travel, we all start looking for a professional. The process of travel planning is quite overwhelming. But it can be exciting too! Here is an ultimate guide to travel planning from us!
We too started off taking help of professionals for planning our travels. But then we found out that we missed out on few places or the places we saw were the ones anyone would visit anyhow. So we decided to do our own research and then contact the professional. Then we came across various websites and apps like MakeMyTrip, AirBnb, Thrillophilia, Tripoto, etc which started helping us out in planning at various phases. It was a long drawn learning process and we tried till we perfected the art.
So here we are, summarizing all that we learnt from our travels into this blog ‘The Ultimate Guide to Travel Planning’!
Why travel planning?
Taking impromptu trips are worth it if you have already been on many others and just want this one to be surprise. You should do it once in a while. However, if you are going to get few days off in the year then you need to ensure that you make most of it. That’s how we started it. We wanted to make sure that if we traveling to certain destination then we should not miss out on visiting places that really matter to us.
Checking everything in advance like the timings, dress code, etc ensure that you really get to see the place when you have planned it. However, we suggest not to over do it. Do not plan every day and minute of your travel. Leave some room for impromptu day trips during the travel. That way you do not feel burdened by your own itinerary.
Better money management
Travel planning also makes things efficient from money perspective. You can group 2-3 things together or eat at a local restaurant and save on money in different ways. Travel budget gives you a reality check and keep your spending under control. But do not forget to treat yourself to that special spa and delicious meal from well reviewed restaurant once in a while.
Planning outfits also become easier if travel planning is done right. Again a word of caution, different outfits for every day will make your bags heavier. Instead carrying items those mix and match helps make your backpack easier to carry.
Travel Planning: What kind of a traveler are you?
Just to get started with this process of travel planning I think you need to decide what kind of a traveler are you. Read our blog to know more and check if you can identify yourself with any one profile!
As we have been following this process for almost 4 years now, I can guarantee that it has been tried and tested. Go ahead and plunge in and I am sure you would end up itching to plan a travel right away.
Ultimate Guide to Travel planning:
1. Finalise your travel destination
We all have our travel bucket list. Generally we have a location in mind before we even think of planning a travel. If you don’t have any location in mind you can start by answering these questions about the destination you want to visit –
- Within India or outside India
- Where do you want to go – Beach, mountain, city, jungle, heritage site, etc
- Where do you want to stay – resort, home stay, tents
- How do you want to go – flight, train, bus, own car or bike
- Do I want to travel alone or with family or friends?
After having asked these questions, we come up with a shortlisted destinations. Then we start to research in detail –
- Is it a good time to visit? We review it from Google.
- What is the flight availability? We generally check it on MakeMyTrip.
- What is the stay arrangement? AirBnb helps in identifying pocket friendly home stays at various places.
- Whether there are any offers available for flight and stay options? Booking.com also assists you in finding good deals.
We also refer to Lonely Planet guides, Trip Advisor and Tripoto websites to understand the specialty of the places to be visited. We list down ratings of the places and then choose our most favorite options of all.
2. Budget for your travel
Availability of money can determine selection of destination as well as other things on the travel. Budget drives many things to be done during travel. So, the next important step is to budget for your travel. You should divide your budget as follows –
- Flights and visas
- Stay arrangement
- Local travel and Sightseeing
Our blog here can give you certain tips on how to efficiently budget for your travels –
Your travel can be very effective and fulfilling if its fits into your budget. So do your budget first and then be ready to enjoy your travel.
3. Get your travel itinerary right
Hardest thing is to decide what to do and on what date. A travel itinerary can make your travel either fun or doom!! So, you need to get your travel itinerary planned right.
We generally read a lot about the place from websites like Lonely Planet, etc. We also scourge for a location specific website, if there is any. We ask the people who have already visited the place. This research and discussions with other people helps in ensuring you don’t miss out on important things.
Read how to get : A Perfect Travel Itinerary
4. Plan for your packing
You need to plan what you want to pack depending upon the trip you are taking. Make shopping lists based on your destination, weather, type of travel (adventure, leisure, etc) and people you are traveling with (family, kids, etc). Understand the baggage restrictions, use simple packing hacks and pack efficiently for travel.
5. Insurance and Foreign currency
These items are ignored many times by the travelers. However, certain items like flight delays or cancellations, theft, damage, airline negligence increase your travel costs. Travel insurance can be helpful in minimising these costs.
When you travel out of country, you need to carry the currency of that country with you. However, when you don’t carry sufficient currency notes, you might have to withdraw the notes in foreign country or use credit cards for expenses. These can turn out to be very expensive. You face the risk of increased cost due to foreign currency translations. It is always efficient to plan how much currency you will need carry the cash or traveler’s card with you for that amount.
6. Plan for stay arrangements
It is always better to plan your stay arrangements in advance (unless of course, if you are backpacking!). We use Trip Advisor, Booking.com, MakeMyTrip and AirBnb to locate hotels and home stays of our choice. The type of stay will also depend on how much time we are going to spend in the hotel as compared to sight seeing in the city. And being a foodie, I will always choose my stay that comes with a restaurant or with restos and cafes close by. If you are planning to cook during the travel, you might want to look for home stays with kitchenette.
If you are going to reach the city late at night, you might want to choose a hotel which provides safe pick up and / or drop. IT also makes sense to select a hotel closer to most of your sightseeing spots or closer to some public transport. This will reduce your time in internal travel and of course save on money too.
7. Plan for local travel
There might be many options for local travel. You can hire a cab with a driver. Many places in India have a taxi union, so mostly the taxi fare to standard sightseeing spots is fixed beforehand. You can rent a car and drive it yourself, in which case you will incur the cost of petrol / gas. It will be subject to you having a valid driving license.
The best way to know the city will be to travel it by using local transport. You can also walk in the city if you are used to it – cost efficient and amazing way to really see the city.
Take your pick and plan for local travel.
Put all your travel planning, reservations and registrations in a file and do not forget to pack that file!!
Follow this Ultimate Guide to Travel Planning and make your travel easy!