How to Plan the Perfect Trip (In 10 Easy Steps)

Bailey Goodnight

There is so much to do when planning a trip and lots of things can go wrong, like arriving at an Airbnb past midnight and finding out the code they gave you doesn't work and you end up sleeping in the car until the owner gets back to you. Despite the things that can go wrong, traveling is a wonderful experience that doesn't have to be stressful, if you plan ahead. These are a few of our traveling tips to get you started on your journey. 

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Step 1. Decide where you want to go.

Sometimes this is the most difficult part when planning a trip. Where you travel to can determine a lot, including expenses, how you’re going to get there, what paperwork you need to fill out, and what you’ll end up doing. I say go to the first place you think of because that is usually a dream destination.

Resources for picking your location:

https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-guides/

https://www.upventur.com/hubs/original-content/blog/trip-reports/how-to-solo-travel-and-best-destinations/

Step 2. Decide when and how long you want to stay.

After deciding on the destination, it is time to decide when and how long you want to stay. If you had a specific vacation time already in place then you’re already done, but if you have more leeway with the length and timeframe of your trip than you have some decisions to make. Research weather patterns and best times to travel depending on your location. A great resource for choosing when to visit a destination is http://climatefinder.com. You can choose when you’re going, and your perfect weather and it will point you in the right destination.

Step 3. Figure out how much it’s going to cost you and start saving.

This is one of the most important, but most annoying steps of the planning process. No one likes spending money, but it is necessary. There are ways to get around spending unnecessarily high amounts of money though! Depending on the destination, there are ways to save money on flights, boarding and activities. If you start saving early you can just put a little in every week and eventually it adds up. Make sure to calculate small expenses, like transportation and souvenirs.

undefinedStep 4. Book Flights for your trips.

There are tons of ways to get good deals on flights. I’ll link some resources at the bottom for the best discount flight ticket finders. It’s highly recommended to book flights as early as you have the dates in order to get the best deals. The closer you wait till your trip, the closer you’ll get to becoming “the guy that paid the most for his ticket.”

Resources for best flights:

https://www.skyscanner.net

http://nomadicmatt.momondo.com

https://www.google.com/flights

Step 5. Book your accommodations.

Just like there are tons of resources for booking cheap flights, there are similar ones for booking cheap rooms. There are always more affordable options than hotels, but if you do want to stay in a hotel there are ways to do that without breaking the bank as well. Other options include apartment rentals, like Airbnb or Wimdu.

Resources for booking boarding:

https://www.hotels.com

https://www.hostelworld.com

https://www.airbnb.com

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Step 6. Create your itinerary.

Now we get to the fun stuff. Planning out your days can seem daunting, but if you have a general idea of what you like to do it’s a lot easier than you think. Make sure to throw in things you’ve always wanted to do, museums, nature walks, but don’t overbook yourself. You want to have time for spontaneity, what happens when you find something that you didn’t think of and then you don’t have time for it?

Step 7. Get the boring stuff out of the way.

Getting the details in order is very important. When planning a trip make sure there are no visa or passport requirements, and if there are make sure they’re squared away. That can easily be arranged via a trip to the post office or apply online.

Resources for getting Visas and Passports: 

http://www.projectvisa.com

Before leaving also make sure you contact your phone service provider and your bank to make sure your debit card and cell phone don’t get turned off mid-trip.

Important documents to make copies of:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Flight Tickets
  • Driver’s License
  • Hotel Reservations
  • Credit Card
  • Itineraries
  • And anything else you wouldn’t want to be stuck without

Step 8. Create a travel playlist.

This is another fun one. If you’ve got a long plane or car ride ahead of you make sure you’ve got entertainment downloaded already for along the way. I’ll link a couple of the best Spotify playlists for traveling. The first link is to our curated road trip playlist, which we update monthly. 

Spotify Travel Playlists:

https://open.spotify.com/user/upventur/playlist/3ZaW49K9Zz4yF3jm7k2ura?si=y3Pg1fG8TCaY8uWIwfnItw

https://open.spotify.com/user/atlastrecords/playlist/2OxJrcgA6AQGk1sSQ8ZZ2a?si=UkMSas7BSDSTb-golJKq2A

https://open.spotify.com/user/isxb.ella/playlist/1QaNR0XaGctxRO1yML4r9V?si=qx0K6_wtSMq0ItQc0se-_g

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Step 9. Pack your stuff.

Traveling light is important. Make sure not to overpack or you’ll end up a) having to leave it at the destination when you buy too much new stuff, b) paying for extra weight at the airport, or c) all of the above. Pack only the bare essentials, and if you end up needing something you can always buy it there.

Packing tips:

  • Know what you’ll be doing so you can pack accordingly.
  • Plan out outfits for each day so you can mix and match and only  bring the clothes you know you’ll wear.
  • Check out the weather for your trip before you start packing. No reason to bring a scarf when it’s going to be 80 degrees everyday.
  • Never check essential items. It's better to put pricey items like cameras and laptops  
  • Roll your clothes! Don’t fold them. Trust me, it saves space.

Step 10. Enjoy your trip!

Don’t stress! It’ll all fall into place! As long as you give yourself a little bit of time to plan it’s pretty simple. Enjoy yourself and have fun.