New to Travel, Travel

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.

Research accommodations

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!

Research transportation

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.

Start booking

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.