So, I found some inspiration from a Reddit post I saw a short while ago. This couple from the UK was planning on traveling to the US, specifically San Francisco, Yosemite, and Los Angles, not to mention going to multiple places such as Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge on a budget of 1500 pounds!
They want to travel and do a lot of things while on the West coast and were looking for advice on planning and asked if their budget was enough. So, they took to a forum for answers and for the most part received very helpful feedback and advice on their planning and research. Quite frankly, only having a budget of 1500 pounds for roundtrip airfare for two, plus multiple destinations and excursions, is a vast underestimate of the total cost they’d actually need for the whole trip!
It got me thinking about how for some people who are brand new to traveling they may not know where to start. Or how to budget for a trip with multiple destinations and excursions. So, I decided to take to my blog to discuss these basic tips for those who are brand new to traveling and need some guidance on planning a trip.
5 Basic Things to Research for your Trip
First things first, you have to have an idea of where you want to go. From there, you’ll center your research on the area you plan on visiting. Some places are cheaper than others, so really hone in on what your location is. For example, being a native New Yorker myself, New York City is definitely more expensive than out here in rural Pennsylvania. Although, NYC has a variety of activities, entertainment, dining, and other cool options to keep you going. Rural PA may not have a lot to offer like NYC, but the beautiful views of the rolling hills, valleys, and nature scenery may be enough for other people. Basically, once you’ve picked your location, really put in the effort to see if it is a location that is going to be more or less expensive. This will be one of the components that will determine your total budget and expenses.
2. Airfare Prices
Again, location is key! The location you want to go to, the airport you choose, the time of year, even the day you book your tickets on will ultimately determine the cost of airfare prices. The sooner you can start looking at prices the better. Get an idea of when you’ll want to go to your destination, see which time of year to book the plane tickets fits in with your financial allowance, and book your tickets when they’re the cheapest!
My favorite place to go to look for cheap tickets is http://www.skyscanner.com
. I’ve found roundtrip tickets to Florida for $100 and so many other places! Like I mentioned earlier, the time of year, the airport, the location, and the days I plan on traveling will affect the ticket prices. However, I’ve found overall that Skyscanner is usually at least $5-$10 cheaper than other airfares, and can even be $100-$200 cheaper in some cases!
You can also visit Kayak.com, Bookit.com, Cheapoair.com, and other website for cheap airfares and even hotels! You can get great bundles for plane tickets, hotels, and even rental cars!
Now that you’ve picked the location, what are you going to do? Where are you going to go? Are you going to just relax by a lovely lake near some mountains? Or are you going to experience all the museums, activities, shows, and anything else a city has to offer?
You’ll definitely want to research what’s out there, what’s around the location you’ll be staying at, and what it’s going to cost to do those activities. As always, the cost of such activities or entertainment will vary depending on the location and time of year. Maybe the location you’re going to only has activities during a certain time of year like London’s Winter Wonderland or Germany’s Oktoberfest. Keep these things in mind when you are researching places to travel!
Getting there is half the fun, but now you have to think about where you’re going to stay. When picking a place to stay you have to think about your financial capabilities, your preferences on lodging location, and if you want to be close to any attractions or not. Maybe you want to stay in a hostel with other people (I’ve met some amazing people this way!), maybe you want to stay at a lodge in the mountains away from a city, or maybe you want to stay right in the heart of a bustling city.
Wherever you want to stay just make sure you’ve done your research (I know it’s becoming very repetitive but it’s important!) and you know how much lodging is and if you have to book in advance given the time of year, or activities that are going on, around the time of your trip.
5. Dining/Night Life
Dining and a location’s night life scene is just icing on the cake when traveling. I’ve enjoyed so many dining locations and night life fun while traveling but it’s necessary to see what’s around and how much things cost. For instance, the location I went to for Myrtle Beach in South Carolina has quite a few restaurants and places to eat, all for relatively decent prices, but the catch is that they’re not within walking distance. My boyfriend and I had to use our car and drive to a lot of the food places in Myrtle Beach because they weren’t easily accessible. However, if you’re traveling to a city then you may have a few more options that are easy to get to from your hotel.
Either way, your dining and night life experience will depend on the research you’ve done and your budget. If you’re able to, I recommend asking the locals where they like to go to eat or go for the night life. This is a great way to get to know the locals but to also experience the unique cuisines of scenery of that location.