How to plan a trip – let’s go on a new adventure
When someone goes on a trip… seriously reporting is almost easier than planning. But how does perfect planning work? Get your foot out of the door? Yes, that's an option. Nevertheless, you plan to pack your bag beforehand too, so a bit more planning doesn’t hurt. There is always something to plan, even if you don't want to plan anything. Do you have a bucket list? You see, you planned.
What type of traveler are you?
To Mallorca in midsummer? Nice, unless you don't like the crowded beaches with screaming children. Maybe a city trip instead? Try to divide your bucket list by category. This will help you later with the flight and hotel search.
Categories, for example, like this: Adventure / Budget / Luxury / Couples / Group Travel / Wellness / City Trip / Vacation Packages, can be very helpful in the planning process.
I recommend Pinterest for your categories. You will find hundreds of travel destinations and travel tips. You can set up these categories for yourself by setting the board to «Private».
All about the destination
Preparation means knowing when is the best time to visit a desired destination. Personally, I don't like it too hot, so I would never book a summer trip to Mallorca or a city trip on a hot August day. During this time, I’m aware of this and book a destination from a different category. Weather also plays an important role. A tropical storm is not on a "must see" list. A weather website helps you to picky the perfect time. The choice of destination depends on the possible duration of the trip and willingness how many hours you want to spend in a plane. I don’t have a problem flying 10 hours for just a one week trip, but not everyone is as crazy as I am!
And: the less you know about the destination, the more research you should do.
Booking the Flight
I’m totally in the mood to book the next flight right now. How about you? Where do we want to go? Within an hour I could be at the airport. Challenge accepted?
Experience has shown that airfares are higher if the destination of your choice celebrates a National Festival on your day of arrival. Check about public holidays in advance. School holidays are a big no-go and could hurt your travel budget a lot. Affordable offers will make you happy during the off season.
The arrival time is a small but important point: it is easy to lose your orientation late in the evening in a new city. Try to plan your arrival time during daylight hours. So, you have time to make small purchases such as drinks or groceries before it’s time for dinner.
Try to select the airline by country of arrival. To France with Air France, to Sweden with SAS… and so on. Most of the time you land in the home airport of this company and thereby fly cheaper.
Perfect day for booking
Depending on the destination, last minute can be super cheap. Booking about six to eight weeks before your desired departure brings you the cheapest option. It’s best to book overseas flights even 3-6 months in advance.
Price Calendar is your friend
Online search websites offer a graphic of a price calendar and with one look you can see which day is the cheapest. Departure Wednesday, return Monday? No problem, the price looks better than departure Friday and return Sunday. Sunday is the most expensive day to fly. Departures on a Tuesday or Wednesday are cheaper than on a weekend.
Travel agency or book by yourself?
Ask 3 people and you get 5 different options. I am clearly relying on a travel agency I trust. Why? Even if it’s a small travel agency, they have better offers than you may be used to at ebookers.com. Their contingent allows them to provide you with a fair price.
Connecting flights are also an issue; you are better protected here if a travel agency is behind you. If you miss your connecting flight, this is at your expense (well depending on the cause). If you book all your flights by yourself and miss one flight you might lose all your connecting flights. If you book through a travel agency you have a greater chance to have a helping hand when rebooking.
I'm a bit on a comfortable level here. If I know when and where, the travel agency will find the right flight for me. I save another two hours, which I prefer spending with online shopping instead. Airline prices can change up to three times a day. This way I won't trip over the costs.
Luggage or no luggage?
This is often a question of your budget. Airlines offer cheaper flight options without luggage and you only travel with a carry-on. This is usually enough for a city trip. But if you have planned a two-week beach vacation with your loved one? Then you are my hero if a carry-on is enough for you. For two, just one additional piece of paid luggage might be already enough and you don’t need to waste more money. If you are traveling alone, remember you’ll be carrying everything yourself. Pack lightly, even leave the beloved books at home.
Budget or luxury? There are many options for you here. Hostels are cheap a quick way to socialize with others. However, I prefer the security of my own room to lock. Here I take my beloved hotels.com app and book everything on the go. Every 10th night is a night for free.
Is your passport still valid? Do you need a Visa or ESTA? You must have these answers ready before you book your flight. An expired passport gives you unnecessary trouble when you start your vacation. In worst case, a forgotten visa means an immediate return trip. Hence my tip: look closely at your passport and check the requirements of the destination you’re traveling to.
Save travel documents or copy them again (if a piece of luggage gets lost). I save my travel documents in my Dropbox on the go. In case of an emergency, I can access it from anywhere. I also save my travel insurance policy in the Dropbox. If you have any questions, you have all the information you need in your hand.
An overview of my tips
- Pin it! Share your desired destinations by categories, maybe even by season
- Avoid peak season, off-season is a better friend
- Choose an airline by country of arrival
- Weather an issue for you? Avoid seasons you don’t like
- Before booking check the validity of your passport. Clarify visa requirements
- Watch flight prices and activate the price calendar. Book about 6-8 weeks in advance
- Additional luggage only if necessary. You must be able to carry it yourself
- Save your travel documents in the drop box or make an additional copy
Tip: Plan, but don't plan every minute. Be open to the unplanned!
How to find your perfect accommodation or how to get around during a city trip? Stay for more travel tips
Shop your perfect travel tee
Show off your wanderlust, at home or on the road, while you dream of your next triumph: discovering an amazing little pastry shop… finding the perfect travel T-shirt (the kind you really miss on laundry day!)… fitting everything into your travel bag on the first try. Whatever journey you can dream up next, you know it will be good. Because an adventure always awaits, just around the corner.