How to Plan a Trip: Process from Start to Finish
If you’re struggling in terms of planning a whole trip, many travelers feel your pain. Especially with this pandemic, having to take covid tests and provide extra documentation for locations, planning is such a task.
Even for the most experienced traveler, it’s still a process because you still have to do your research, plan, and finally execute the plan. It doesn’t always mean it’s easier. Rather, you become more accustomed to knowing what it is you need to do to plan a trip.
It can seem like an intimidating process if you are unsure of where to start. However, these points will help you to plan your next trip from start to finish.
Pick a location
This is the first, and one of the most difficult, parts of planning a trip. Where are you going to go? There’s a lot that goes into picking a location. I’ve created a post which outlines some things to consider when determining a location to travel to, which I will link here.
Once you’ve done your research, and picked a location, you’re one step closer to planning your trip!
Determine the type of travel
What I mean by this, is how are you planning to travel? Are you going to solo travel, travel with friends, family? You’ll want to take this into consideration when you’re planning your trip as this will effect things from time frame to activities and location.
Map out your time frame
Once you’ve picked a location, the next thing to do is to determine your time frame. That is, when do you plan on traveling to your location and for how long. This is dependent on your circumstances and ability to travel for varying lengths of time.
Pick a time of year to travel
This goes hand in hand with the previous factor which is picking a time of year. Meaning not only which season you want to travel during but whether it’s going to be a peak season, off season or anywhere in between. The type of travel and season will be factored into the cost of your trip as well.
Research airfare (or any other way to travel)
Now that you’ve found a place and know when you’re going, next you have to research airfare. Or, if you’re taking the train, bus, a car, any other way of getting to your location will need to be researched.
Either way, you’ll want to look at the price of the fare, length of time, convenience, and whether it’s right for you.
Next, you move onto researching accommodations in your locations. There’s a different types of accommodations and you’ll need to determine which one is right for you and your trip.
You can stay in hotels, hostels, Airbnb’s, resorts, villas, houses, and much more!
For your specific location, you want to do some research on the modes of transportation. How do you plan to get around? Are you going to use public transportation, Uber or taxis, trains, rent a car? Not only do you want to find out the types of transportation but the cost as well, as different travelers have different budgets.
List potential activities to do
When you’re traveling to a location, you’ll want to do some activities or events. It’s one of the best parts of traveling! You’re going to want to explore the area, participate in some cool tours or hikes, that’s how we see and learn more about the world.
I love making a list of varying types of activities and things to do for the places I want to travel to.
Research costs of activities
It’s a good idea to do your research to get an idea of the types of activities in the area you’re traveling to and the costs. Different types of activities or events will range in price point.
This doesn’t mean you’re going to book everything on the spot. You’re just seeing what’s out there and getting an idea of what you can do while traveling.
Create a budget
Now that you have a comprehensive list of things and tons of research, you then want to create a budget that works for you. The price of activities, transportation, airfare, accommodations and so on vary from place to place.
Whether you’re traveling on a budget or with a high budget, it’s still important to set a limit on how much you plan on spending for the whole trip.
We then move onto the booking process. Once you’ve got your list of fare, accommodation, activities, and anything else, you start booking them.
I’d recommend booking your airfare (or any type of fare) and your accommodation first before booking anything else. At least you know you have a way of getting to your destination and a place to sleep. Afterwards, you can then start booking any activities or events you’d like to do while traveling.
Create an itinerary
The fun part, I think at least, is creating an itinerary. This can be a tentative itinerary as things don’t always go according to plan when traveling. Yet, you can make a list of things to do, places to see, when to do them, and go from there.
Create a packing list
If you’re someone like me, once you have everything else planned, you immediately start creating a list of things you want to pack. Now, I don’t necessarily start packing 3 to 4 months before my trip, but I like to have a list of things I’d like to take.
This list will help you to be more organized and see if the things you want to take will be good for your trip.
Pack you things
After you’ve created your packing list, now you have to pack it all. This part is hard as well. Depending on your trip and length of time, it can make the packing process difficult.
Especially if you’re traveling during the winter or fall. But that’s ok, I have a blog post on How to Pack your Luggage for Fall Travel.
Enjoy your trip!
Now that you’ve done all this research and preparation, the last thing to do is to take your trip and enjoy the success of your hard work! It’ll be worth the blood, sweat and tears you poured into making your trip happen.
The planning process for certain trips will be somewhat easier than for others. Even if you’ve got a planning system down to a T, some places have their own special challenges when tourists visit and you need to be aware of that. However, as long as you follow and trust the planning system, you’ll still be prepared, have a wealth of knowledge and have what you need.
19 thoughts on “How to Plan a Trip: Process from Start to Finish”
Thanks Jojo for all these great tips. Planning a trip can be stressful especially right now during this pandemic. I consider myself a planner. I rarely do things on the spur of the moment especially if I am traveling away from home.
Thank you for reading my post! I find it better to plan ahead and have somethings taken care of then to be too unprepared. It’s such a long and stressful but fun process!
Research, research, research. Definitely my favorite thing about travel planning. It’s not a good trip planning session if I don’t have a million tabs open. But I agree, the key is narrowing things down piece by piece to figure out exactly what works for you
I know right, if you don’t have at least a million tabs open you’re not doing it right lol. It’s such a fun but stressful and time consuming process
Great tips for planning a trip! One of my favorite parts of a trip is actually planning it all out!
It’s all part of the fun and hype of going on a trip, is putting things down and planning it out! I don’t think a trip becomes real to me until I start planning things out!
Love how you’ve laid out these steps so concisely. I guess the order really does depend on your priorities and constraints. For us, we often have to determine the “when” based on when my partner can book off work, before we actually figure out where we’re going to go. This works for us because we have to usually book my partner’s days off a year in advance, and we’re happy to go almost anywhere. PS: Looks like the title “Pack your things” is missing the “r.”
Absolutely, everyone’s priorities is different and it depends on your own circumstances and schedules. But I’m glad you guys have found a system that works for you!
this is really helpful. No matter how much one my travel, they can always learn something new about the process. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!
I agree, it’s definitely a learning process that’s constantly evolving and changing as we grow as individuals. Thank you for reading this!
I’m the ultimate planner, so I always love reading other people’s tips to see if I can pick up anything new. As soon as I know when and where – it is full blown research for me. I usually start with sites I trust and see what I can learn about what is under the radar and not too touristy. I do everything you’ve listed, perhaps in a different order. Great list, especially for those that might not be Uber planners.
Thank you, I appreciate that! Planning and researching is such a tiring but fun and rewarding process. It actually makes a dream trip more of a reality.
I defo do teh research part 20/30 times. Good advace planning and researching hotel prices, airfares timings (early morning can be a third of the cost as a mid-day flight) and where you are staying (out of the centre for half the price but same quality but on a chaep Metro line into town) are essential. I am the ultimate planner – I have to be, as often I’m doing a 5 nation trip in one go. Joining airline and hotel loyalty schemes can help reduce costsor get youupgrades. I always have a bufget in mind and rarely go over it. Good article with lots of info…
When you’re country hopping, it’s super important to plan and research things ahead of time! Those loyalty programs, points systems, and travel credit cards are awesome and definitely help with traveling. Thanks for reading!
Great post! Some things sound so obvious but there’s so much to do when planning a big trip, there’s always things that you might forget! I would definitely say that deciding where to go is the mist difficult part 🙂
I agree, it’s hard to narrow a location down when you want to go everywhere lol. Thank you for reading, I appreciate it!
Do visit to my blog and follow it if you like.
Thank you, I appreciate it! I’ll check it out after work
It’s my pleasure dear! Okay