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Our Tips on Planning a Trip

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Tips on How to Plan a Trip

Decembrists' Church Museum, Wooden Church , Chita
Decembrists’ Church Museum, Wooden Church , Chita

Like many travelers, my husband and I also have a list of places which we want to visit and experience. For both of us, travelling means to have a relaxed and an immersive learning experience and how to plan for a trip accordingly.

While there could be different trip agendas in mind, there are certain things that we take into account before going on a trip. At the risk of sounding nerdy, we have, over the decades, perfected the Art of the Travel Planning Project. 🙂 So, we have decided to share with all of you a few questions that you should ask yourself before shortlisting on a tour.

What do you want to experience during the trip?

This is one of the first and foremost questions you should ask yourself. Some of the themes to ponder on could be:

  • Experience of a small country
  • Theme based travel: This could include adventure travel, new cultural experiences, festival events etc.
  • Beaches or mountains
  • Serene places or big cities
  • Cuisine (yes, we know of people who travel just for that tasty sushi in Tokyo) or shopping!
  • Experience of exotic places on occasions like honeymoon or anniversary
How to plan a trip
Snowy slopes of the alps

Where do you want to go?

Once you have finalized your experience, you should then select your travel destination.

Points to ponder before finalizing:

  • References from your friends and family about the places they visited
  • Weather consideration. A normal leisure summer tour to Siberia could become an adventure travel in the winters
  • Amount of funds available will often restrict the choice of places
  • Most importantly, accessibility of these places
How to Manage Finances while Travelling

What’s the budget and how to save?

While you might find glorious places that you wish to visit, it is also important to take into account the monies involved. The more exotic you want your trip to be, the more expensive it becomes. My husband and I have a thumb rule for budgeting. We split the budget into 3 parts i.e. “Accommodation + Food + Miscellaneous”. This division of 33% each helps us plan better.
If you also have a strong desire to travel like us, you need to learn the Art of Creating a Budget to have better chance of fulfilling your bucket list.

Points to ponder:

  • Plan early. This will help you save money on accommodation and travel expense
  • Learn about local modes of transport. A lot of money can get saved
  • Avoid starting the trip on weekends because the fares are generally higher
  • Limit shopping at the beginning of a trip
  • Most importantly, start saving for travel early by opening a travel fund

One of the most important components of travel planning is money. Travelling abroad is extremely expensive and a perfect trip might be achieved with savings of at least 5 years. My husband and I, always plan ahead and start saving early. While saving money is important, we always feel it is equally important to secure our investments. In case, something unfortunate were to happen on an expedition, at least we want our families to have a secure future and means to accomplish their goals.

Considering all this, many people recommend  ICICI Pru Smart Life, a plan which gives the double benefit of saving money for passions like travelling as well as protection against untoward happenings. Travelling goals are never disturbed as this plan ensures that the company pays all future premiums on my behalf in case of an unfortunate event. This way, we are completely involved in our travel and do not worry about other things.

How many days for the trip?

A complete research on the destination should be done by pouring over travel books, browsing travel forums and blogs (like ours, pun intended). This will help arrive at the duration of the trip.

Points to ponder:

  • Check for any visa restriction on the number of days
  • Understand how many days you want to spend in each location
  • Plan for inter-city travel before itself
  • Always consider the traveling and waiting time
  • Keep a day or two as buffer
EBC TREK Mount Everest Nepal; how to plan a trip
Sun rises behind Mount Everest!

What is the season of travel?

Timing is everything! You might have an experience or destination in mind but you cannot do an EBC (Everest Base Camp) Trek in the monsoon season.

Points to ponder:

  • Research the best and worst time to visit the destination
  • The high, mid or low season can also have a direct impact on the budget
  • Identify shoulder seasons. Often, the shoulder seasons are the best time for a great experience as one can expect great discounts all around

How to plan your travel itinerary?

Once there is clarity on the budget, experience and destination; the next part is to figure out how to reach your dream destination.

Points to ponder:

  • For most of the international trips, travelling through air is the quickest and most efficient mode to reach your destination
  • Once you have reached the destination, then you can start using the local transport system
  • Try and use night travel as much as possible
  • Depending on your places of visit, book your tickets in advance

Importance of getting your visas sorted in advance?

If you are travelling to another country always check the visa requirements.

Points to ponder:

  • Search for the official website of the local embassy or consulate and check the section on visa requirements. In most cases, they are accurate. Also, there are several travel bloggers who have written about their visa experiences. It is a good idea to read them.
  • Collect all the documents required
  • Keep an extra copy of all the required documents
  • Have sufficient buffer time for visa application and processing
  • For most countries, the passport validity must be at least 6 months beyond the date of travel and must have a bunch of blank pages for them to deface 🙂
  • Often, you might be asked flight tickets, insurance, proof of finances and accommodation details for visa application. This means you might have to spend money before even commencing the travel. For accommodation, many sites offer booking without any payment. Unfortunately, similar option does not exist for flight tickets

How to keep a mode of communication with your family at home?

Previously, it used to be extremely difficult. But, now in this digital word, Wi-Fi makes everything easy.

Points to ponder:

  • Buy a local SIM card at the airport or at the earliest location, if possible.
  • Most countries have tourist SIM cards with great packages for calls and data
  • Always keep an extra budget for such expenses

Conclusion

This is not to say that things won’t change during travel. This is just so that the plan is slightly more complete even before you step on to that aerobridge and also, so that you need not worry about minute details while you plan to rejuvenate. Happy Travelling!

Please feel free to share your views on the subject.

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P.S.- This article Our tips on planning a trip belongs to Le Monde, the Poetic Travels, an Indian Travel Blog, by the 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 www.lemonicks.com, 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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27 thoughts on “Our Tips on Planning a Trip”

  1. I love that you think of travel planning as a project plan. That and lists work for me! We keep saying we need a calendar that shows what is the best time of year to visit all of the places on our list. But also need to consider if shoulder season is a better time for cost and crowds. Some great travel planning tips. The other one that helps us is the app “Rome2Rio”. It helps us see the transportation options between places we want to visit.

  2. This is a practical and very thorough project plan. I do love how you have approach your budget based on 3rds. I’m assuming you designate a certain amount for each 1/3 given accommodations are likely to be higher than food expenses. What about travel insurance? Where does that come in for you? Love the step by step approach.

  3. Great suggestions. I especially liked the thought of keeping some money aside for incidentals and SIM cards. Traveling on the weekdays is a big money saver, as is not going during peak season dates. Well done!

  4. Wow this is very good planning! I normally am not that good at organisation but I do book trips based around food! I also tend to avoid places where I need a visa, but I’ll need to sort that out when I go to Asia!

  5. All excellent tips on planning a trip abroad and what important things to consider in timing, expenses and transportation. Lots of good things to think about here.

  6. Agree that shoulder season is a great time to travel. Not only is there a cost break, the weather tends to be mild. Love that you have to keep a day or two as buffer in your planning, I have learned this the hard way… several times!

  7. Well enumerated. Planning for travels is a long and enjoyable process. Often we miss out on some of these tips and the travel ends in a disaster. Need to pin this up.
    Add a pinnable vertical image if possible.

  8. I love all these questions you pose to help you think about planning a trip. It’s definitely helpful to identify what you want out of your trip, rather than just going blindly. It really helps to set expectations, so you don’t get disappointed or surprised.

  9. I always love reading about other traveler’s strategies. Mine keep evolving. As a travel chameleon, so much depends on where I’m going, solo or not, and what kind of trip it is. These are some great tips.

  10. Great tips for planning a vacation! With small children, we usually end up at theme parks but now you have me thinking outside the box! Thank you for sharing!

  11. Really informative post! I also love how there’s a table of contents to really help it be a really good resource for people planning their trips! I learned quite a bit myself as well!

  12. Not sure if my comment posted or not. I don’t see it. If it’s a duplicate, just ignore this one. 🙂 I just wanted to say I appreciate your tips. We use night travel, especially when we have the kids, if it’s a trip abroad and that works out SO WELL!

  13. These are some great planning strategies. Especially about tapping the knowledge of locations from friends and family. As well as splitting the budget into thirds to making it more manageable. It’s always good to see how others do it.

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