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Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

5 important travel planning aspects

As travellers, we live by the age-old aphorism “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” I am sure most of us do a lot of planning, at least in our mind, before an upcoming trip. It is an innate nature of us humans. However, the key is to write the plan down and try to stick to it. Can the plan change before or during the trip? Yes, of course! It has happened to me before and can happen again. Hence, its best to have a written plan, as it helps to replan better, should the need arise. Planning a trip can be an enjoyable exercise and at the same time, one learns a lot about the destination. For example, I found about the famous ruins bar and a couple of more things to do in Budapest while planning for my journey. This resulted in adding a few more days to my schedule.

Over the period, we have devised a travel planning method that helps us plan our trip better. We add, change and delete stuff as we delve deeper. The reason is, no two travels are the same.
I think the following planning tips are most important for a stress-free, pleasurable and satisfying holiday. I have also included examples from my past travels to explain how these planning tips have helped us. I find once we have these pinned; other planning factors fall in place.

Packing Light

It is easy to say, but it is so difficult to achieve. There is always a thing or two which we pack as “just in case.” However, many times, the type of travel encourages us to travel light. When I flew from Kathmandu to Lukla for my Everest Base Camp trek, it was in a small twin propeller airplane and there was a weight limit of 10 Kilograms for the checked in luggage. Now, this was a blessing, as trekking with heavy luggage is never easy.

Made it! Vasu pointing at the rugged Mount Everest

I was to find out later, all I ever needed for the grueling multiple-day trek could quite easily be accommodated in just one bag.

Vasu enjoying a moment on the frozen Baikal Lake, Siberia, Russia

Packing Right

The second most important factor is to pack the right clothes and gear. For example, when I travelled to the frozen Baikal lake, I needed the right amount of warm clothes and a couple of extras, in case my clothes got wet. I actually carried a second pair of lightweight boots meant for -10 degrees Celsius, in case it got too cold. I found on the first day on the icy lake that I had made the right decision by carrying the second pair.

Driving vehicles on the lake Baikal, Siberia, Russia is a breeze in winters

Planning the Money Matters

It is quite easy to get carried away when planning for an exotic destination and what we want to do there. The whole purpose of budgeting is to estimate how much we want to spend on our travel. The money-god always seems to play the spoilsport whenever we are travelling. There is never enough for all the things that we want to do.

Based on our 100 plus days in Europe, we devised a thumb rule for budget estimates, which is one-third each for accommodation, food and everything else. Of course, travelling to and from the destination has to be considered separately.
However, when we make my travel plan, we always make sure to have access to at least 20 to 30% more money than my budget as there could be so many unknown factors or events that could dent your pocket.

Frankfurt Hauptbahnhoff, the main railway station, Frankfurt, Germany

Planning for security back home

Our planning must always cover our home base. We should remember that life is full of surprises and it is best to be financially prepared for everything. Hence, I have prepared myself with ICICI Prudential Life’s iProtect Smart, a term plan. The plan covers me against 34 critical illnesses and also secures my family with a life cover. This allows me to travel with a free mind as my travel budget remains secure.

Planning Around Visa Limitations

We all know when we Indians travel to Europe on a Schengen visa, we are allowed to be in Schengen zone only for 90 days in 6 months. However, with meticulous planning, we included non-Schengen countries in our travel plan to extend our Europe trip to 100 plus days.

Church of St. Sava at night, Belgrade, Serbia

Although countries like Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia and Romania are not Schengen countries, they allow us to enter on a valid Schengen visa as long as we come from and exit to any of these countries or to any other Schengen country. This information meant that we could travel more on the same visa.

Away we go!

As Hans Christian Anderson puts it, “to travel is to live”. So work, save and travel.
So we see every travel is unique but once we have the above travel plans in certain detail, we are actually ready to go. In fact taking care of these little nuts and bolts makes your travel all the more enjoyable.

So, where are you travellers planning to go next?

Places visited by us during our #NiVaEuro epic journey

If you want to travel places with us, we invite you to join us on our feed or Facebook travel page.
P.S.- This article Failing to plan is planning to fail belongs to Le Monde, the Poetic Travels, an Travel Blog, by the Indian traveling couple, Nisha & Vasudevan R. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited. If you are viewing this on another website rather than the RSS feed reader or, then that website is guilty of stealing our content. Kindly do us a favour. Please visit our site and let us know. Thank you.

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19 thoughts on “Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail”

  1. Your words are absolutely true!! One needs to plan well before travelling!! Thank you for you wonderful post. Your blog contains very relevant information which I was looking for.

  2. All fantastic tips on planning effectively from start to end. Thanks for covering all the basis on how to start the process and important parts of doing it well.

  3. Love the words, they are so true. I dont always plan for my trips, I just love to let things go with a flow and see what happens, which usually they work out fine. 😀 But planning is a must for those who are not quite sure sometimes.

  4. It was sad to see that I failed on the very first tip. While I have gotten better at packing, we still pack far too much. We will never be carry on only people – unless only going for a few days. But because we don’t pack light, we often pack right. Travelling out to non Schengen countries is a great way to extend a European trip. I will have to remember that.

  5. I’m a fan of planning and research – it always makes it easier if things go awry to have planned and know your options beforehand! Good to understand the schengen visa arrangement too!

  6. Nice tips. I’m a big fan of planning an itinerary for my trips. This way I don’t miss out on anything but I keep it flexible so I can make modifications and adjustments if something comes up.

  7. I am a big researcher and planner. But I also like to be flexible and spontaneous on my travels allowing myself to enjoy as much as possible. Not strictly keeping to the itinerary makes sometimes travels less stressful for me and enables me finding some hidden gems and unexpected moments of joy.
    More I travel, more I appreciate flexibility, spontaneity, and freedom. With all respect to necessary good planning and research.

    xoxo Milijana

  8. Renata -

    I’m certainly an obsessed planner. Although I agree with all the points you are listing, I personally rather need to work on letting go and rolling with the punches.

  9. Packing is such a part of travel, especially when I do multicity trips. I do better and better at packing lighter each time. I try to pay for everything in stages. Airfare, then hotel, then as many attractions as I can purchase ahead of time. It’s much less of shock when I do it that way

  10. Great tips. Planning is so important. It takes much of the stress away. Great tips about budgeting to have more than enough money.

  11. Those are very true words. I like to travel and visit new places.
    There is no point just sticking to one place in this huge earth.
    Everybody should step out of their houses after making proper plan with friends or families and visit every beautiful places in this world.

  12. You are right, detailed planning is needed to have a successful trip. The packing light is indeed easier said than done. This is my constant challenge, though I’m getting better 🙂 One cannot overstate the importance of insurance, another must on any travels. As Americans, we have the same Schengen limitations. Researching the non-Schengen countries ahead of time does allow you to make the most of your travels. Great tips here!

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