Step by Step Guide on How to Plan a Travel for Yourself
Save on Travel Costs and Make your Trip more Enjoyable!
Most holiday-makers usually prefer buying a travel package from a travel agent that arranges everything from flights, hotels, excursions and activities. Not everyone can afford such packages and we’ve seen some companies charge such outrageous amounts for a small vacations. For this, we have written this post with some steps and tips on how to plan a travel for yourself and save the most count of money possible.
but yes…, planning your own travel is not easy as it takes time to research and it can be stressful. Although at the same time it can be exciting and you can save a lot of money doing all the research and booking by yourself.
Plus you’ll get the freedom of doing anything you want, at your own time. Unlike going with travel groups where you would have limited time to do thing you enjoy.
So, how we have said before and to make things a little easier, we have prepared this guide for you to plan your own travel. Just follow the steps and have fun it!
WHERE to go?
1. Pick your Destination
The first thing you would have to figure out is where do you want to go. Anyone planning for a trip would have a list of places that they would want to go, right?
Just by scrolling on Instagram or Facebook, you could see lots of photos of destinations from everywhere around the world. And I think its really tempting to go to all of those places all at least once in our lifetime! 🙂
You should pick somewhere sensible that is reachable and somewhere that would most probably fit your budget. If you’re looking for some inspiration, take a look at the places we’ve visited before by clicking HERE.
WHEN to go?
2. Pick your travel Dates
The next questions are :
When can you do a trip?
How much time and days do you have off-work?
How many days you need to ‘recover’ from your trip before returning to work?
Depending on the time you have, you may choose a destination either closer or further away from your home country.
If you have only 1 week for holidays, its better to pick a destination that is not very far. Otherwise, you would be spending more time on the commute itself rather than enjoying the holidays.
And if you are working, you would have to make sure that your days-off be approved by your company.
How much would the trip cost?
3. Write out your Trip Budget
Its a good idea to write out your Trip-Budget as you can oversee every possible expenditure that you might incur on the trip. Bear in mind that its also easy to miss some small expenditures like unexpected night-outs or even ‘accidental’ shopping sprees. The cost of travel may widely vary depending the area of travel.
You should determine how much you’re willing to spend for this trip. Plan for a trip that fits your budget.
For example : In Europe or North America would definitely be more expensive than areas in the Southeast Asian or Latin America region.
Staying in hostels or B&B is usually cheaper than staying in hotels.
The transportation that we choose is also very important. It’s cheaper to take public transportation than taking taxis or other forms of private transportation.
And even the food that we choose to eat can run out our budget. If you prefer to eat out in a restaurant, it would cost more than eating street food. Any cheaper would be by buying food from a supermarket and cooking the food yourself.
If you’re wondering how much your trip is going to cost, check on the flight fare and accommodation prices first. These two expenditures are usually the most expensive portion of the trip.
And also check for travel blogs or websites about the place we are going to visit for more information on transportation tickets and places of interest to visit.
Preparing for the Trip!
4. Book your Flight Tickets, first!
Many fare comparison websites offer cheap flight tickets but it depends on the destination and travel dates. Its better to travel in off-peak season, where prices for flight and accommodation is a lot cheaper. But then you would have to get days-off during that particular period, so plan ahead.
But the best way to keep track on low prices is by fare comparison websites like KAYAK or SkyScanner which you could set an alert you by email if there’s a price drop for specific fares on specific dates.
These websites have been our favorite and they are the ones we use in our previous trips.
Both of the websites can be used to compare flight fares and all searches can be customized by airline name, departure times, departure airports and classes of flights.
Where to Stay?
5. Book your Accommodation
The same goes with Accommodation, there are many travel comparison websites offering cheap packages to travel to some different countries. All you need is to search in Google and check if any of these offers are good for you.
But to search directly in your specific travel dates, we recommend you to use Booking.com. This is by far the best website we’ve relied on since our first trip. We normally book our accommodation with them. They have a wide variety of hostels, B&B, hotels, guest houses, with very good and cheap prices.
Another website that we been using a lot lately was AirBnB. On this website, we can choose the type of accommodation from Whole-Place for you, a Private-Room sharing some common spaces and Shared-Room staying in a shared space.
They offer cheap and lovely accommodations in strategic locations. And in their website, you can also book for experiences and restaurants.
AirBnB has a referral program that offers £25 discounted off your total accommodation bill for first time customers, click HERE to redeem the offer via our link.
When choosing the location of your travel accommodation, it’s very important to make sure that the distance between the AirBnB house to the touristic areas or places of interest, the airports and the nearest public transportation is within walking distance just in case we need to go places.
Some people prefer to save money on accommodation and went with the cheaper option, ending up having to walk very far to go places. Its not worth the price if its far from everything.
6. Draft your Itinerary
With the flights tickets and the accommodation booked, it’s time to prepare travel itinerary!
This part can be a lot more tricky because we have to research about a lot of things. You would have to make sure every part of the trip, connects. For example : How to get to the airport from your hotel, where do you want to visit in the city and what transportation you would need.
The itinerary would start from the moment you leave your bedroom door to the moment you return to that same door you left. The more detailed your itinerary, the better, rather than being in a messy situation during your trip.
7. Booking your Transportation
On your trip, you would have to use different types of transportation, either public transport (bus, train, tram) or private (taxis, ride-hailing cars).
So when you are planning for a trip, you would have to determine when and where you would be at a certain time and date as you have to book the tickets in advance.
For example : If you’re visiting a destination that you wish to explore different cities or towns that you wish to travel by public transportation, you should check on the times and prices to book the tickets in advance so that you won’t have to worry about this when you’re travelling.
8. Booking other Tickets
When planning for a trip, you should decide if you wish to visit any attractions. Places like museums, churches or other attractions may need online booking.
By booking in advance, you can avoid having to wait in long queues or chances of tickets been sold out. Also in most attractions, buying tickets online are much cheaper.
9. Check and prepare all necessary Documents for the trip
When you’re going on a trip, one of the most important thing is getting all documentations ready, especially your passport.
The worst thing can happen is when you’re at the airport and you’re missing your passport.
Check the expiry dates of your Passport. Some countries would refuse your entry if your passport is expiring in the next 6 months. So we have to be sure and renew the passport if necessary.
Another important document would be your Visa. Depending of your nationality and the country you are visiting, you might need a Visa to enter the country.
Click HERE to check if you need a Visa for your trip.
10. Check if you need any Vaccinations
Some countries does require vaccinations for visitors to prevent some diseases from spreading.
Usually you would have to ask for an appointment with your doctor. If you need to get vaccination, the doctor would refer you to the specialist in the Hospital.
The most common vaccinations and treatments are usually against yellow fever, polio, rabies, encephalitis, tetanus and malaria.
To check whether you need any vaccinations or if there are any outbreaks or health warnings, click HERE.
What Currency do you need?
11. Check on the currency used in the destination country
Based on our previous travel experiences, some countries even use dual-currencies, which consist of local currency + American dollars (USD).
So before you leave on a trip, determine exactly how much cash do you want to bring foreign currency. Also decide if you’re using any Debit or Credit cards on the trip.
Our advise is, use as much card transactions as you can, save your cash for emergencies.
Also consider getting a travel-money card that you can conveniently ‘refill’ from your current account.
When you use a travel-money card, you lower the risk of becoming a victim of fraudulent card transactions. Because you can load some money on the card and not worry about your savings money getting stolen.
UPDATE : On our recent trip to Paris and Amsterdam, we’ve put the TransferWise Travel Money MasterCard to the test, surprisingly it was really easy to use. Switching to the local currency (£ British Pounds to € Euro) takes seconds and costs almost nothing (£0.34 per £100.00) at Google.com foreign current exchange rates. We also get to use the TransferWise app to keep track of what we spend and check on individual currency account balances. Click HERE to see our post about this card or click HERE to visit TransferWise website.
12. Get a Travel Insurance
When traveling on a budget, you won’t want to spend a lot on the trip itself which makes sense. But Travel Insurance isn’t something you should exclude from your budgeting.
But from our experience, we would always recommend you to get a travel insurance to safe-guard yourself from unexpected holiday emergencies. We’ve also heard and read many stories about travelers going abroad and getting in a situation where they really could use an insurance coverage.