Plan your Trip

When I first started to travel solo in 1991, I had the attitude of ‘She’ll be right, no worries, I’ll get there’. Living in Europe changed my mind, not because I wanted to but because I had to. To avoid getting horrible and stressful trips instead of relaxing holidays I had to prepare.  Do you know that Dutch people plan their holiday a year in advance? Yep, took me a while to get used to it but I learnt it the hard way. When I wanted to book my trip, everything was booked solid and those that were available no-one wanted to stay at. Therefore, I suggest ‘Plan your Trip’.

Let’s start with the essential things that you want to check.

Checked Items

Checked if you have enough saved for a comfortable trip and for any unexpected expenses.

Check if your travel documents are up to date. If the expiry date is within three months, you’ll have to renew them. If renewal is required, renew them before booking your trip.

Check the details of your travel insurance and does it cover the area you’re going to.

Check if vaccinations for the country of your destinations are required. If needed, can you get a doctor’s appointment in time.

Are you using medication than check if you require extra medication for your trip. Can you get your prescriptions and signed medical documentation for any border officials prior to departure?

If you have a mobile problem, check what travel assistance is available and if booking is required.

Check if your driver’s license is up to date and do you require an international license? If required can you get one in time.

Check the requirements for entering the country of your destinations. Do you need a traveller’s visa and can you get it in time.

Now the fun part, letting your imagination run wild. What do you want to do.

What kind of trip are you planning? A holiday or sightseeing trip of various countries? Nationally, internationally or both? Planning for a holiday is different than planning to backpack around.

Travel Season

In which season do you want to travel? During the summer, autumn, winter or spring?

Travelling during the summer sounds great especially the lovely warm weather between May till September. However, take a minute to consider in Europe that between the months of June through August you have the peak season. This is usually the time when school-age children have their holidays. Prices during this time are at their peak and you’ll have to deal with crowds everywhere.

Travelling during spring and fall (May, September and October) can be great or a bust depending on what the weather will be like. Prices though are at their lowest and hardly any crowds to annoy you.

Travelling during the winter season (November through April) is the low season. There are fewer crowds, heaps of flight discounts and plenty of accommodation. Except for ski resorts, they’ll be overbooked with hordes of ski fanatics. If you’re flying within the US, then the cheapest days to fly are on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. For International flights it’s best to fly on weekdays.

Transport

How are you going to get there and how long are you planning on travelling? If by car, what are the best routes, do you need to pay road and tunnel tolls. Do they drive on the right or the left side of the road? Or by bus, either on a bus tour or regular bus? What about train, will you be able to changeover to a connecting train smoothly? Or if travelling by Plane, when are the cheapest flights and are seats available.

Location, location, location

Where would you like to spend your holiday or better yet in what manner do you relax, cause that’s usually how you want to spend a relaxing enjoyable holiday. Do you like to visit Cities, or towns, spend time in nature, party it up in Nightclubs, Suntan on beaches, go hiking in the mountains or visit historic sites?

And once you get there what activities are you interested in doing? Going shopping, for walks, Swimming with dolphins, surfing, listening to a music festival, or visiting museums.

Plan your trip1

Accommodation

Where are you planning on staying? With family, friends, in a Hotel, a Hostel, Backpacking or Camping, it’s all depends on your budget. If you’re planning to stay at a hotel, make sure how many stars the hotel has and check their reviews. This way you’re aware of the hotel's weaknesses and are better prepared if they should happen.

Now that you’ve considered these options, you will want to refine it. By finding out when places are open and their hours of operation. What are the costs of attending these places and does it fit within your budget?

Got it sorted? Then you’re ready for booking.

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