As some of you may know, I’m off on rather an exciting trip soon. And as I’ve been getting everything sorted it reminded me how much work planning a big trip can be.
When planning a big trip, research is always key. There’s nothing worse than getting home from a great trip and someone asks if you saw this or did that and you missed it. Or realising you couldn’t do everything you wanted because you hadn’t sorted your route correctly or taken enough cash with you. So I thought I would take you through the steps I usually go through when planning a trip.
Being a huge sun worshipper, finding out which countries have the best weather during the time I want to be away is nearly always step one for me. There is nothing worse than deciding you want to go to Thailand for example, only to get there and discover that its rainy season.
This will very much depend on how much time you have. If you’re doing a week long trip, you probably won’t want to move around much. However if you’re away for more than that and want to try and see a variety of places, planning a sensible route is KEY to ensuring you don’t waste a tone of time of planes, trains or boats. I always try and use google maps to drop pins on all the places you want to go to and then figuring out the most time effective way of getting around them all.
One of the best sites I found recently is Rome 2 Rio which will allow you to pop in two destinations and will detail exactly how you can get from one to the other.
There’s a strong argument to say that this point should go above the route point as usually your budget will determine how long you can be away for. But equally I think if you have a dream trip in mind, you can plan it out and then save up for it to ensure you have enough cash to do everything you want to do. That’s what I did when I booked my 6 month long trip.
But just make sure you look up roughly how expensive things are where you’re going. Your budget will stretch far further if you’re going to some parts of Asia, in comparison to the USA for example.
Once you have where you want to go sorted, the next thing you need to look into is visa’s. Every country will have a different requirement when it comes to visa’s and what you do and don’t need. It’s usually pretty easy to find out with a simple google search, or contact their embassy where you are. Another thing that a lot of people sometimes forget is that some countries won’t let you in if you have less than a certain amount of months left on your passport. Generally speaking you need a minimum of 6 months left, but check what each country requires.
If you’re doing a longer trip (2/3 months plus) you don’t always have to book your accommodation in advance as sometimes it’s nice to be able to be flexible. However I would always recommend booking at least 1 night in each country you’re planning on going to. This just gives you somewhere to head to when you land and means you aren’t traipsing around trying to find somewhere when you’ve just got off a long flight.
The obvious sites are always my go to, tripadvisor, trivargo, hostleworld, booking.com etc. Booking.com and hostleworld are pretty good because they usually have quite a few places that you can reserve for free and also cancel for free up to a certain point.
Blogs, Youtube videos, tripadvisor, lonely planet guides are all my top picks when researching things to do. You get real experiences and recommendations from similar people to you with similar budgets. You can’t beat it.
Lost LeBlanc on youtube has some amazing travel tip videos, and of course my lovely tatty travels always has great content too.