HOW TO PLAN A TRIP – 10 STEP TRAVEL PLANNER GUIDE

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Planning a trip, whether overseas or not, is an exciting part of travel. As exciting as it may be, creating a travel plan can, however, be a source of stress and anxiety.

Well yeah, dreaming about your destination and all the things you’ll do, is exciting. 

But once you start putting down all those ideas and adventures that you’ve been dreaming about and try creating an organized travel plan, you realize, there is a load more work to planning than you had imagined.

The truth is, planning a trip doesn’t have to be the cause of so much frustration or overwhelm. 

After all, you are planning what should be an enjoyable and relaxing vacation.

Over the years of planning many many trips (including a full 12 months of travel), we have crafted a great method to plan travel.

And in this article, we are laying out everything you need to know and showing you exactly how to plan travel in 10 practical and easy steps.

Along the way, we will show you how to break down travel planning into easy-to-follow steps that cover everything you will ever need to know. So you can be sure not to forget anything when you create a travel plan.

Ok then, let me not continue rambling because we’re going to dive right in. Get ready to take notes cause this is a long guide. You may even want to save the link to this article in a note or share it on Pinterest for future reference.

Travel has changed from what it once was. Please follow the latest news and follow local regulations in your chosen destination. Doing so will ensure you get the most out of your trip and keep yourself and others safe while enjoying your trip.

HERE IS A SUMMARY OF WHAT WE WILL GO THROUGH

STEP 1. HOW TO AFFORD TRAVEL

Whenever we get into a conversation with friends and talk about travel, everyone is baffled when we talk about our one, two, three-month, and even 1-year trips.

Obviously, people are perplexed by these things because of the huge misconception that traveling is super expensive.

We don’t afford to travel because we’re rich or something. But because we prioritize travel over many other things.

So while our friends dine out in fancy restaurants, go for drinks every week, buy the latest iPhone and spend a ton of money on weekend breaks in some local 5-star hotel, we do none of that.

There are many ways that will make traveling much more affordable. And in this section, we will explain exactly how we manage to afford to travel.

BUDGET

Oh yes, setting a budget, and actually sticking to that budget. Many seem to forget how important it is to stick to a financial plan while traveling.

Take a good look at your financial situation and set an amount of money to spend that you’re comfortable with.

Your travel budget should reflect your financial situation.

Having a budget set in place before you start planning a trip will determine which destinations you should be looking into, what type of accommodation and restaurants to consider. And what are those activities that you can realistically afford.

A budget is the foundation of a solid travel plan.

START SAVING

If you have the time before you travel, it would be a good idea to start saving up in advance.

Before you go, make some sacrifices. Take on an extra shift or put some extra hours into your own business. Keep dates of your upcoming trip clearly written on a calendar or a picture that reminds you of your destination and use them as motivation.

Cut down on extra expenses that you can easily get by without.

Instead of buying coffee from expensive cafes for your daily commute, use the free office coffee.

Instead of buying your lunch, prepare a healthier meal at home to take with you.

Instead of paying monthly subscriptions for services that you rarely use, keep only those that offer some true value.

These costs may seem relatively insignificant. But the truth is, cutting down on those small expenses, day after day, all add up. You could easily be saving $100 every week. That’s around $5000 a year, or enough for 2 or 3 decent trips.

STEP 2. TYPE OF TRIP / PURPOSE

Ask yourself “what is this trip all about?”

Having a clear idea of what is the purpose of the trip will determine a lot of the things we’ll get into in this travel planning guide.

Is it a two-week relaxing family vacation that you’re planning? Maybe you’re planning a fun holiday with a group of friends? Or a big adventurous solo trip with no clear end date?

Asking yourself these questions will influence a lot of the planning process.

TRAVEL AS A GROUP / FAMILY

If you’re planning a group trip (family, friends, as couples) you should always get input from everyone involved.

Not everyone has the same tastes in things they’ll want to do and places to stay. Nor will everyone have the same travel budget. So you need to lay out a clear travel plan that meets everyone’s expectations.

Also, think about the fact you’ll be spending a lot of time with those people. Often, even people that you know really well are completely different when you spend enough time with them.

When you’re spending a lot of time with the same people, it’s inevitable that some friction will arise at some point. Maybe somebody doesn’t like part of the plan or they didn’t like the hotel you booked. These things happen [unless you travel solo].

Therefore, my suggestion is to avoid planning every single thing together. Like, ask the others to plan certain days for themselves just in case things don’t work out. If everything is good you can always join in. These things are very common between couples (2 or more couples), especially if only the men are friends and the girls barely know one another or the other way around.

STEP 3. TRIP DURATION

The trip duration will determine a lot of the destinations you can realistically visit within your allocated time.

For example, if you’re planning a 1-month trip a 12-hour flight isn’t going to be such a big deal. But would that 12-hour flight make sense for a 4 or 5-day vacation?

Prioritize time management over everything else especially for shorter trips. There is no point in cramming too much into a travel plan if that means spending half your time getting from one place to another.

For short trips, choose places not too far from home and that you can easily reach within a couple of hours. And the longer the trip duration gets, move further away.

Taking into consideration the time you have and the time you’ll spend getting from one place to another, will help choose destinations (and do things once you’re there) that realistically make sense for the time you have.

STEP 4. PICK A DESTINATION

Choosing a destination when you plan travel seems like a straightforward process right?

But the world is a pretty darn big place. So unless you always go to the same places each year or your destination is predetermined by an event like a wedding or a family reunion, choosing a destination that works for you is a bit more complex.

To pick a destination you need to take a look at what is the purpose of this trip.

Is it a family or group trip and everyone has different interests? In that case, maybe a trip to the Maldives may not suit everyone. Probably Thailand will suit more people in the group because it offers a broader choice of activities other than beaches being the main focus.

Or maybe you’re looking into an adventurous low budget trip where you want to do hikes explore waterfalls and get lost in amazing landscapes. Then leave Iceland out of the plan, it’s too expensive. Instead, choose somewhere cheaper like Indonesia, Hungary, or Turkey. You’ll get more bang for your buck.

Choose your destination wisely and make sure it meets your budget and interests.

Use a map if you already have an idea of where you want to go.

Get all those ideas of places that you want to visit and mark them on a map. Like just mark where in the world those places are located using a paper map or online map like google.maps.

It will be easier to understand where certain places are by visualizing them on a map. And if you see that certain places are close to each other, you could also combine more than one place in a single trip. As long as you have enough time and they meet your budget. and interests.

RESEARCH DESTINATION

At this point, I’m assuming that by now you already have a clear idea of the place/s you want to go.

So what you’ll need to do now is to get familiar with your destination.

Do some digging and find out more about your destination. There is no better way to plan a trip than getting to know more about that place before you’re physically there. Your research will also eliminate surprises once you get there.

Start off by asking yourself….

WHEN WILL YOU TRAVEL?

Every destination around the world has certain months of the year that are considered the best time to visit. But the truth is, the best time to visit a place depends entirely on what you are expecting out of that trip.

The months or time of year when you travel will have a big effect on what your trip will look like.

You’ll have to take into account what the weather will be like around your travel dates. Is it too hot, too cold, rainy and dull?

Most tourists will be waiting for the best weather to visit destinations. That’s normal I guess. But those bright sunny days and clear skies often come at a cost of finding crowds of tourists and higher price tags on hotels, tours, flights.

So keep in mind that the best weather doesn’t necessarily mean the best time to visit.

About one month before and a month after the popular peak season, every destination has what they call shoulder months. These months are a transition between the bad (or not so great) weather and the good weather. Although the weather may still be a bit unpredictable, there are quite a few advantages.

Shoulder months are a great time to visit new destinations because there will be fewer tourists, cheaper hotels, tours, and flights. Although not perfect weatherwise, these months meet all our needs of avoiding crowds and finding great deals on just about everything.

SAFETY and SCAMS

Safety should be a high priority while planning trips since every place in the world has some form of risk. Whether it’s a natural risk like earthquakes or something else like scams and pickpockets, it’s always good to know these things in advance.

A lot of the risks involved in travel can be avoided by knowing about them in advance. For instance, if you’re going to Thailand where Tuk-Tuk scams are very common, be on high alert whenever dealing with one of the drivers.

Or if a place is notorious for pickpockets, try avoiding crowded places when possible. Knowing in advance will help avoid getting into a rough situation.

And most importantly use common sense.

I always wonder why some people find it normal to do certain things while traveling but would never dream of doing the same things back home. Learning to ride a scooter, barefoot, no helmet and obviously, no license seems normal for some people just because they’re not in their home country.

So please, don’t do stupid things that you wouldn’t be doing back home.

Also get insured whenever going on vacation or traveling. I know, insurance is a waste of money. But only until you really need it like for a massive medical bill. Just get yourself covered, at least for medical expenses. It’s not worth risking thousands of $$ in medical expenses over less than $1.50 a day for a reliable coverage.

CHECK OUT SAFETYWING’S TRAVEL HEALTH INSURANCE. IT’S THE BEST TRAVEL INSURANCE AND ALSO COVERS COVID 19 RELATED BILLS

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

What will you need to enter the destination you want to visit?

In some places, a Visa is necessary to get into a country. Or if you want to stay for a certain amount of time.

Note that entry requirements will depend on your nationality.

For instance, as Maltese citizens (yep I’m from a tiny island country named Malta) I and Jacqueline get 15 days Visa-free if we go to Thailand. But US citizens get 30 days Visa-free.

There are other requirements that you should know in advance. For example, you may need a minimum amount of months remaining on your passport before expiry, a certain amount of funds in your bank account, a flight out of the country and other things.

To find out what are the requirements, research the destination on your government travel website. You’ll find all the information you need regarding entry requirements and also what are certain risks like common scams, places to avoid, or any risks of natural disaster.

Here is a list of useful travel government websites:

STEP 5. RESEARCH THINGS TO DO

Now that we’ve cut through all the confusion, and all the technical stuff is out of the way, now comes the fun part.

Now you get to go through all those ideas, places you want to see, and tourist attractions that you can’t miss and put them down into a solid travel plan.

Start off by asking yourself, “what triggered your interest to visit that place?”

Answering this simple question is useful because whatever got you triggered to consider that place is probably your main interest.

For instance, what triggered our interest in Bali was an amazing waterfall. In the end, we spent 1 month in Bali mainly exploring waterfalls and other related stuff like hikes.

When you have a clear idea of what interests you most, it’s easier to find other related things.

Write down every idea you have and find out more about it – find out entrance fees, reviews, opening hours and most popular times. Doing this research will give you a good idea of what to expect.

Here is another option. If you’re short on time and you’re visiting a destination that offers loads of interesting things to see and do, then why don’t you consider a tour?

Tours are a great way to get the most out your day and usually cover the most important things you’ll want to do in that destination. And most importantly, tours don’t always cost a ton of money. In fact, considering the time spent to plan out a day and researching ways (transport) of visiting the places you want to go, a tour may actually work out to be cheaper than expected.

There are 2 different websites that we use if we want to do a tour. And we make it a point to pre-book in advance to avoid finding everything fully booked once we are there.

  • Klook is our go to website for tours in Asia. They offer the best deals and almost always, the tours are cheaper than if we organized everything ourselves.
  • Viator is the other option for destinations outside of Asia. You’ll still find tours for Asian destinations on Viator, but they’re more expensive than klook.

Both Klook and Viator offer a wide range of tours and day packages for various activities and sightseeing spots. You can click on Klook and Viator blue links in the text above to see more detail. All you’ll need to do once on the page is enter the destination and dates and find out what activity or tour is good for you.

TRAVEL INSPIRATION

Short on ideas? There are loads of places to find a dose of travel inspiration.

Instagram is a great place to get fresh ideas and discover new destinations. When I’m planning a trip, I always like to go through a few Instagram posts related to that place. Usually I always end up with a few other places that probably I would have never found through any other research. Just keep in mind that a lot of those who post on Instagram go to great lengths to produce those amazing images – like editing the images and waking up super early in the morning to avoid crowds. So what you see isn’t necessarily what you’ll get.

Pinterest is also a visual platform but instead of just images, the pins on Pinterest are linked to related articles. So if you see an image of a place that you like, you can click on it. Clicking on the image will open up the related blog post (article) where you’ll find loads of related information about that place. And you can save those things that you like.

Blogs. If I already know where I’m going, I always make sure to check out a few other blog posts. Travel blogs are created by people that have physically visited that place and the content will reflect what to actually expect in that destination. On the other hand, big travel websites usually write content by researching a place and not actually getting a firsthand experience from physically visiting.

But don’t plan too much

Although we’re all going on about how important it is to plan your trip, don’t overdo it. Don’t cram too many things into your day to day itinerary.

Actually, leave some wiggle so you can do random stuff and be spontaneous.

Over-planning is as bad as under planning. Here’s what will usually happen if you over plan:

  • you’ll rush along
  • have to bribe you taxi driver to “step on it”
  • won’t meet the strict schedule and go into a panic attack
  • won’t have the time to enjoy a place
  • you’ll stress out
  • you won’t have the time to do something that you found out about once you’re there

Our suggestion of how much to plan depends on the length of a trip. For example, if it’s just a short weekend break, it would be good to plan everything in advance because it will help you get a lot more out of your time. But still don’t squeeze too much in.

For longer trips, for example, 5 days or more, we always leave 1 or 2 unplanned days. Being spontaneous usually leads to interesting places that you had probably never even thought about.

STEP 6. FIND YOUR VACATION STAY

At this point we already have a good idea about our destination. We understand where all the stuff that we want to see and do is located and we know what are those areas to stay in that will work best for us.

So based on our criteria we search for hotels (or any other type of accommodation) that will meet our budget, is located in a good neighborhood. Has a few things nearby within walking distance – bars and restaurants for evenings. And if it’s a city, we like to stay somewhere close to a train station, subway, skytrain? (in Bangkok)

Overall, we like to find a place that is centrally located to all the things we want to do and also has a good list of nearby amenities.

And whatever the case, whether we are planning a long trip or short trip, we always make it a point to book in advance.

Because booking accommodation in advance is always (according to us) cheaper.

If we plan a short vacation, like 1 or 2 weeks, we always have our accommodation booked before we leave. This saves us time figuring out where to stay. Because we’re already a bit short on time.

But even for longer trips, like months-long trips or a year, we still book our accommodation because just walking into hotels or hotels and getting the rate directly is more expensive.

We always thought that walking into a place and getting the price directly would be cheaper. But to the contrary, we found rates are between 10% to 20% higher.

You can try it for yourself. In the worst-case do like we’ve done. First, check the price on a booking platform like Agoda.com and then walk into the hotel or hostel and ask for the rate directly. If the price is higher just walk outside, book the cheaper option online and walk back in with your freshly booked stay. And at a cheaper rate.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT HOTELS AND HOSTELS ON AGODA.COM

Hotels and hostels aren’t the only forms of accommodation that you should consider for a vacation. I can tell you, there are some great vacation stays that will work even better than a hotel.

A website named VRBO offers some amazing alternative vacation stay that is very much different from the common hotels and hostels. Ever wondered what it would be like to stay in a beautiful cabin in the middle of the woods? Or relaxing in a stunning villa with a pool far away from the hectic city life? Or maybe you want a cheap apartment where you can cook your own meals while getting some online work done?

VRBO offers beautiful vacation stays equipped with all amenities like a kitchen, T.V, dining area. Basically, everything you need and some even have a pool, garden, terrace, depending on the type of place you want and your budget.

CLICK HERE FOR YOUR HOME AWAY FROM HOME WITH VRBO

STEP 7. RESEARCH FLIGHTS

Nothing excites us more than booking our flight. It’s like we can do all research in the world but booking our flights is what excites us most. It’s kinda like sealing a deal and that trip is for real.

If you’re planning an overseas trip, your flights are probably one of the biggest travel expenses. So it is important to start your research in advance.

But don’t book right away.

Flight prices change all the time. So don’t just book the first flight you find – unless you already know that it’s a good deal.

Instead, take your time to stalk the available options, check what different airlines are offering, maybe change the departing airport unless it’s too far away. Or if possible, play around with travel dates. Even moving by 1 day can make a big difference. These small changes can have a huge impact on the final price you pay.

Compare all flight options

Instead of searching through all the available flights and airlines, we simplify the process with the help of a website. Basically, we use something that does all the research for us instead.

When we plan a trip and get to the point of looking up flights, we always use a website named Kiwi.com.

All Kiwi.com needs is your departure point, destination and travel dates, the search engine will do the rest and will show you all the available options.

Flexible Travel Dates

Being flexible is one way to save lots of money on your flights.

If you’re adventurous, flexible and don’t mind going somewhere that you hadn’t considered before, choose a destination based on flight prices. Like find a cheap deal to wherever and just take it.

You can find great deals for random flights for destinations all over the world.

To be honest, we’ve never had our destination chosen by a cheap flight. But it does sound interesting to be that spontaneous while saving a ton of money.

Really, you can save loads of money. We’ve seen $300 flights from the U.S to London, Paris, and Spain. And the other way around they’re usually cheaper, like a $250 return flight from Europe to New York for 9 nights!

Being flexible is key to find great deals and avoid stressing over where you should go. If you want to see what’s on offer RIGHT NOW, go check out the Kiwi.com website. There is always some great deal there.

CLICK HERE TO FIND GREAT FLIGHT DEALS ON KIWI.COM

When to book flights

Flights are generally at the cheapest point about 3 months and up to 3 weeks in advance of the departing date. Booking too early or too late may be more expensive.

We start looking into the flights about 4 months in advance and take note of the prices we found. But then instead of monitoring the prices all the time, we occasionally take a look to see if there was a change in price. If there is no price fluctuations we will book our flight about 6 to 8 weeks in advance.

We also use a notification system on flight websites which lets us know if there has been a price drop in a flight that we want. To find the notification look for a bell icon and click on it and enter your details: dates – destination.

Consider what time you depart and arrive at your destination

Some flights may be cheaper because of the time they depart or what time they arrive at the destination. For example, flying in the middle of the night is generally cheaper.

But at what cost? You have to consider that in some places it will be a challenge to get from the airport to your hotel because there will be less taxis and buses won’t be operating. Even if you do find a taxi, there is usually a nighttime fare.

Also arriving during the night at a destination that you don’t know isn’t really the safest option. And you’ll have to book an extra hotel night just for those few hours when you arrive. (hotel check-ins are at 1 pm or 2 pm unless specified otherwise).

So, in the end, it may work out cheaper to buy the more expensive flight and arrive during the day.

STEP 8. MAP YOUR TRIP

What we do next is we put everything that we know we want to do and see, places we want to stay, restaurants, and anything else that could possibly make sense on a map, and put them all onto a map.

The reason we put everything on a map is that it simplifies planning out our days by putting everything into perspective.

We can visualize and understand where places are. That helps us determine which places will work for us. So if we’re planning a short trip and a certain activity is too far away, we will take it off our to-do list. Or if we want to be in the middle of bars and restaurants, we won’t book that hotel that is in the middle of nowhere.

Pinning everything onto a map also helps us determine how to plan out our days and create a practical route. For example, if we see a cluster of our pins near each, we group those things and call it day plan. Or if certain activities are in a certain order, we can easily figure which is the best route to take.

In today’s age, there isn’t any need for a paper map, you can use an online map to do this. And we always use google.maps because it has loads of features.

You can give different colors to the pins, give icons to the pins so you can easily understand what that pin is, and also organize everything into categories like, museums, restaurants, hikes, waterfalls. Or whatever you want which will depend on your trip.

Google.maps is quite straightforward to use but you’ll still need to know how to do certain things. But we’ve taken care of that. You can check our article that will help you create practical travel guides for google.maps.

FOLLOW THIS STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO GET STARTED

STEP 9. LOGISTICS

Where is your destination and what options do you have to move around? You’ll need some form of transport to reach all those things you want to see. So it’s best to know in advance and avoid any complications once you reach your destination.

Plan your arrival first to ensure a smooth start. We don’t like to step out of the airport all confused in an unfamiliar place, maybe no one even speaks English, and we still have no idea how we are going to reach our hotel. So we plan exactly how we will get from the airport to the hotel.

Send an email to your hotel and ask what are the ways to get there.

Are you on a budget? Then find out where the bus stops, or maybe there could be a shuttle service into the city.

If you want to make sure that you don’t get overcharged by taxi drivers with the usual scam “I’ll give you a fixed price cause the meter isn’t working”, use a Grab or Uber. But make sure you know where their stop is located because most won’t be allowed to enter in the airport’s arrival area.

We always like to take note of the available transport options. We find out what the prices are, where bus and train terminals are located. And if there are any scams or anything important that we should know about related to transport.

We don’t necessarily have an exact plan, (like bus number and departure times) to reach every single place on our list.

But if there is a place that is a bit *complicated to reach, or if we’ll be using long-distance buses, [things that need some pre planning], we always plan exactly how we will do those things. And if something that we want to do deserves having its very own logistics plan, then we always make it a point to pre-book any buses, trains, ferries maybe flights, that we’ll need.

Because, like we are planning those logistics, everyone else is doing the same thing and we don’t want to find that all options of getting to that place have all been sold out when we need it. So we make sure to secure our spot.

Also, if you plan on doing any tours, make sure to pre-book because the best tour organizers usually sell out their tours well in advance.

So, plan out your arrival and how you’ll get to your hotel. Figure out what options you have to move around – taxis, buses, trains, hire cars, scooters (we love the freedom of moving around on a scooter especially on tropical islands). Cost for each option. Any scams or risks related to any one of them. Plan exactly how you’ll reach complicated places. And pre-book things that may sell out like buses, train tickets, ferry tickets, flights.

*Complicated (meaning for us): in a way challenging to reach because of a strict budget, may involve a combination of buses, trains, boats. Anything that makes something complicated. As budget travelers, we love complicated things because they are usually cheaper.

P.S. About that scooter on a tropical island thing, make sure you have the necessary requirements to drive a scooter. You’ll need a valid motorbike license in your home country and an International Driving Permit and always use a helmet even if the standard in that place is to not use one. It’s for your safety after all.

Here’s a transport resource list that we use:

  • Rome to Rio: for detailed routes in just about every place in the world. Enter the starting point and destination and Rome to Rio will take care of the rest. You’ll get a list of available options like buses, trains, taxis, flights, to get from one place to another. Every option will have relevant information like bus and train schedules and prices, trip duration, bus numbers. Well, everything you need.
  • Seat 61: if you want to know what to expect on a specific train ride make sure to check out seat 61. The detail in this guy’s blog is impressive. I think he must have used all the trains in the world. You’ll find detailed schedules, prices and an insiders look on what to expect on that specific ride. This is important if you’re planning a long distance train ride or a sleeper train.
  • 12goASIA: nothing ruins a trip more than wanting to get from one place to another only to find out that everything has been sold out. To avoid such complications we use 12goAsia to pre-book anything that we think can sell out like trains, ferries, buses, flights. Pre-booking allows us to secure our spot on that specific ride whatever it may be. Prices are generally the same as what is on offer in train stations or bus stations and even if there is a small mark up, it still isn’t worth risking that option selling out when we need it.
  • Klook: for tours, activities, entrance tickets or any other entertaining thing that we’ll want to do we use Klook. They have the best prices for tours and activities and we can always see reviews from other travelers which helps us determine if that thing is for us or not.
  • Viator: this is another online website offering great tours in destinations all over the world. We use Viator for destinations outside of Asia simply because they have more options in other parts of the world.

STEP 10. START PACKING

Oooh, that’s fun! Packing means you’ll soon be off. But don’t leave it until the last minute because you’ll probably either under-pack or over-pack with a bunch of unnecessary travel items.

Before you begin packing, think about your trip.

Is it an adventurous holiday and you’ll be moving around a lot? Then consider getting yourself a good backpack.

Imagine hauling around your wheeled luggage on a bus, a train or maybe ferries. It’s a lot easier to do those things with a backpack.

It’s a lot easier to walk around with everything on your back rather than hauling around a wheeled luggage.

And what is the purpose of your trip and the climate going to be like?

Is it hot, cold or maybe you’re going different places with very different temperatures. And how about the things you’ll do?

Think about the climate and your day to day travel plan and the activities. And the things that you’ll be using the most. For example, if you’re planning a beach holiday and there is a chance you could go on a single hike, probably packing a bulky pair of hiking boots just in case isn’t a great idea. Instead, pack a pair of slippers that you could use for different occasions.

Packing items and outfits that serve more than one purpose is practical and will help in not taking too many things with you.

But if you need to pack for different climates, don’t pack a bunch of summer clothes and a bunch of big bulky winter clothes. Doing that will just take up too much space.

Instead add layers. Take out those bulky tops and stack up with layers. As the climates get colder and colder, add layers on top of each other. It would be almost impossible to pack a complete winter wardrobe and another only for summer. Obviously, you’ll still need winter things like a thermal vest and jacket. But choose tops or bottoms that are smaller but serve the same purpose as the bulky ones.

Keep it simple and avoid over-packing

Pack versatile outfits. If you want to have lots of different outfits but don’t want to carry around lots of luggage, the only way to go is to pack versatile clothing. Think of tops and bottoms that you have that just seem to go well with everything. Those are the things you will want to pack because although you’ll have less clothes you can easily mix and match everything together.

And send things for laundry. Just because you go on vacation it doesn’t mean you have to take an outfit for every single day. Most hotels will have a laundry service and usually, it takes less than 24 hours for them to do it. So instead of packing 2 weeks’ worth of clothes, pack for about 5 to 7 days and when needed, send the dirty clothes for the wash.

Roll or fold. There is a huge debate about which one is the best to save space. And in my opinion, both have different purposes. I fold trousers and anything else that seems bulky like a beach towel. But t-shirts, shorts, long vests or anything else that is quite small, I roll.

But although we’re all about being practical, and only pack items that add value to our trip, we always pack a few just in case items.

Here is a list of just in case items that we always pack.

  • First Aid Kit: We always pack a mini first aid kit just in case of any minor incident. There’s no need to have a crazy amount of supplies. We pack paracetamol, band aid, gauzes, plasters, that yellow antiseptic spray for wounds, sickness tablets, food poisoning pills, diarrhea pills, electrolytes, sun cream, mosquito repellant (deet spray).
  • Hand Sanitizer: Now, it is important more than ever to always keep our hands sanitized. Pack a small hand sanitizer that you can hang on your bag for quick use.
  • Face Masks: And face masks also. In most places you’ll able to buy them from your destination. But if you want something specific other than the medical masks, (like the N95 masks) it’s better to pack a few with you.
  • Universal Power Adapter: To connect electronics in destinations that use different electrical outlets.
  • Duct tape: For many things. I’ve duck taped backpacks to a scooter, rolled it into a washing line, used instead of wax strips.
  • Bungy Cords: If you travel a lot on motorbikes or scooters, bungy cord are a must so that you can secure you backpacks in place.
  • Soap Bar: Just in case we are somewhere remote, we always pack a soap bar so we can wash our clothes. We just take a common soap bar and not the one specific for clothes.
  • Flip Flops: To use in the hotel or hostel showers. Even though the shoer may be cleaned regularly there is still a chance of getting a foot infection. Just slip on a pair of flip-flops to avoid that from happening.
  • Sarong: Take a sarong with you to cover shoulders or knees in religious places. You’ll save money renting one and you can also use it as a scarf on chilly evenings.

Don’t forget about your packing essentials

Make sure you have the following checked off your list.

  • Passport – Some places also require that you have 2 blank pages and 6 months before passport expiry.
  • Visa – Check requirements in Advance.
  • Vaccines – Covid and any other vaccines needed for that destination.
  • Insurance – better to be safe while traveling.
  • International Driving Permit – If driving overseas.
  • PCR test results – if needed.
  • Credit or Debit Card – make sure you have enough funds.
  • Medication – also take your prescription with you.

FINAL NOTES

Planning a trip requires quite a lot of, well, planning. But it doesn’t have to be stressful and actually, it should be quite enjoyable if you break down your trip into manageable sections as we did in this guide.

You may also want to save this guide if you’re not going to start planning right away. And even to follow the steps as a reminder to what you should be doing next.

Either way, you can let us know what you think about this article. And also, did we miss anything in this guide? Or maybe there was something you didn’t quite understand? Let us know in the comments below. It will help other travelers that are planning a trip understand the various ideas from other people.

Do you travel on a budget or want to travel to destinations without breaking the bank? Well, we do and we’ve written about a lot of amazing destinations that are very cheap to travel in.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT ALL THE AMAZING STUFF WE’VE DONE WHILE NEVER SPENDING MORE THAN $30 A DAY

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