Planning for your next big trip? Here are some tips to help you prepare for that much awaited holiday.
- Prepare and research in advance
For trips that would last more than a week, I would suggest to prepare months in advance. I get very excited that I start checking out six months before to see if the things I want to do and places I want to see are doable before I book my flight.
It is helpful to check for immigration requirements of the country you are planning to visit. As for me, I plan really early as I usually need to arrange and apply for visa and I buffer for extra time in case there are delays in processing.
- Plan your expenses
Although it would be great to have a good trip on a very little budget, it is not fair to neglect yourself of the things you want just to save on expenses. For myself, I will do a rough plan for my expenses and save every month. Here’s is a sample template for planning your travel expenses.
- Make an itinerary
I would usually list out a list of places which I want to visit and afterwards label those “must see” and those that I can go without. If I have extra time, then I would visit those on my second priority.
- Buffer for last minute changes
Do not make your schedule too rigid and up to the last minute. There would always be delays and disruptions for sure whether it be the long queues, bad weather, massive traffic jam, or maybe you’re just too lazy to leave the hotel early. Always be flexible in your schedule.
- Download maps
Download offline maps so you won’t need data especially in no signal areas. The first map I would usually look for is the subway or train map. This helps me gauge how long or how far I need to go from one point to another, and see the various points that I would need to be from there. Especially for far flung places, looking at the transportation links and options can help to decide whether the place is worth visiting or not.
- Download apps
Nowadays there are plenty of apps and city guides that can provide a lot of information on food and dining, things to do, festivals, emergency numbers, etc. These apps are very informative and have downloadable offline information and most of them are on the specific country’s tourism websites. Aside from these maps and translators are also readily available. I always search in Google Play Store and download from there.
- Check Instant Street View
I use Instant Street View to see the actual locations of the places I am going to especially of my hotel. While it may be enjoyable to get lost in the city, it is not as much fun when you are dragging your luggage with you.
With Instant Street View, I am able to see how the places actually look like and my means of going there from the nearest train station or bus stop. It also helps you gauge the security of the area and what shops and restaurants are available nearby.
- Pay items online
For my travel to London last Christmas, I only needed cash for oyster card and food. I paid for accommodation, day trips, and airport to city train online. I also bought a London pass which saved a lot of time especially in queuing up on major tourist sites. For other activities and tours, I booked and paid through Expedia and Viator. It also feels safer that you do not have to carry around a lot of cash.
- Check the weather
It is a must to check the weather forecast and adjust your wardrobe accordingly. You wouldn’t want to be wearing tank tops at 10 degrees! I usually check last year’s actual temperature and this year’s forecast on Accuweather and I have never had wardrobe mishaps so far. Whatever the weather, make sure you got yourself covered.
- Bring comfortable shoes
Be sure to bring comfortable shoes as travelling usually entails a lot of walking. Make note of the type of roads you would be walking into and bring the right pair (or pairs!) of shoes. I usually bring three pairs and as much as I like wearing high heels, they are not very practical when you are walking for the whole day.
- Read blogs, watch vlogs and read reviews.
You can get tips on what to visit and how to get there, the different activities you can do and most importantly, the average pricing of goods and services. I listed some sites that really helped me or are currently helping in planning for my trips and most of them are inYouTube. I use Tripadvisor more for checking user reviews of accommodations.
- Will Fly for Food
- Samuel and Audrey
- Love and London
- The Wild Native
- Life Where I’m From
- Rick Steve’s Europe
- Internationally Me
So there you have it, my 11 tips to help you prepare for an epic holiday. Hope this helps you make planning for your travel easier and more enjoyable.