How to Plan the Perfect Trip

There are 30 days until I fly to Thailand, and I’m realizing, I’ve barely planned. By now, I’d normally have my itinerary color coded and broken down into daily activities (with a rough outline of times for each activity). This sounds like a lot, but, it was born out of necessity. The first (and last) time I didn’t plan with close attention to detail, it was a disaster (feel free to read all about it here). Now that I have it down to a science, I’ll share my step by step method.

Flights

Choose a destination! If you need some travel inspiration, check this out. Another way I get inspired is by looking at Skyscanner‘s search “everywhere,” feature. You type in the dates you want to travel, and Skyscanner shows you the best deals. Google Flights has something similar. After you put in the dates, you can choose from categories like, “adventure travel,” “Beaches,” or “culture.” You can also search by continent! Google also lets you search on a calendar for which dates are the cheapest. Once the destination is set, I like to use Kayak to cover my bases for prices. And I like the way Kayak gives their advice on whether to buy or wait based on price trends, it’s usually pretty spot on.

It’s always a good time to do a little online searching. There are especially good deals to Europe for the next few months. See a few of my favorites below, and click to get even more dates.

ZürichParisRomeBarcelona

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Courtesy of Google Flights

Research

So you might be wondering, “shouldn’t I do some research before I book a flight around the world?” Well, preliminary research is good when you don’t know anything about the destination you’re considering. That way, you know what to expect and can start to get excited about it. But, I wait to do all my heavy research until after I have my flight booked. I have to plan travel around work and school, so, I’m a little restricted with my time. I don’t want to let that get in the way of seeing the places I want to see though. So, I book my ticket based on where I want to go, for the amount of time I have, and figure the rest out from there. A common excuse for not going abroad is not having enough time to justify the price of a ticket. But if you know how to look (like the flights above), it’s just about the same as traveling domestically (i.e., no more excuses). And with proper planning, you can fit most of the big stuff into even the shortest trip! Whatever you miss, just gives you an excuse to go back.

Naturally, I find the best advice from the experts, bloggers! Occasionally, I do a traditional Google search but, I’ve found the best information through Pinterest searches or bloggers I follow. Asking people you know in real life is also invaluable, insider tips make things easier. And since hindsight is 20/20, you can learn from their mistakes, as well as their successes.

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I start by accumulating my top things to do and/see and organize them by priority. Google Slides is my favorite way to keep track of the information. You can have a slide for each place or activity and write down all the important information like hours and admission prices. You’ll thank yourself later when you don’t have to keep googling it a thousand times. It’s also really helpful when you’re traveling with other people and trying to sell them on your plans!

Itinerary

Once all the research is done, the itinerary is a like a puzzle a puzzle to solve. I find it easiest to map out all the sights I want to see. That way you can group things together by proximity, instead of wasting time going back and forth across the city. This is where insider information comes in handy as well. It helps if you have an idea of how long you’ll spend everywhere. I make my itinerary on Google Docs. I know it sounds like I’m a spokesperson for Google (as if they need one), but it’s just so convenient. Not only can you share it with whoever is coming with you, but you can access it from anywhere in the world. For example, when you’re actually on your trip and need to remember what you had scheduled. If you thought I was kidding about my detailed planning here’s some proof, and if you’re as OCD as I am, here’s a good template!

 

Voila, all you have left to do is pack. If you’re looking for some tips on that, check this out.

Enjoy!

 

Pinterest

33 responses to “How to Plan the Perfect Trip

    • It’s such an exciting part though, you get to learn so much about the place you’re traveling to! I’ll definitely check that out though, I’m looking for more things to do.

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  1. Wow you’re so organised when you travel. Suddenly I feel I’ve been lazy with my travel planning. lol… I think your process will help me actually learn more about destinations and maybe that will heighten the experience as well. I’m all for that. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good I’m glad. I think that’s one of the best parts of traveling. Obviously you learn a lot while you’re there, but the research beforehand teaches you a lot too! And then you can be your own tour guide and impress your travel companions!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Done amazing tips here. I think we are planning soul mates lol. Itineraries are the best things ever in life 😂😂 in regards to research I also always check the laws tourists should be aware of. Thanks so much for sharing xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. Sometimes it’s a pain to do them, but pure bliss when they’re all done! And definitely a good point. I never look specifically into the laws, but some places it’s very important.

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  3. I need to get more technical with my planning and itinerary. I just write stuff down on little pieces of paper and then try to figure them out later, lol. Great ideas:)

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  4. Great tips. I usually plan everything out like where I want to go (obviously lol) and how I’m going to get there i.e. flights, ground transportation and how much money I’ll need. Then I search of fun things to see while I’m there. Sometimes I might pre-book some activities or I just end up booking it when I get there. All in all it’s all about planning and also having fun!

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  5. I think it’s great Google and Skyscanner have these “everywhere” features. Plenty of people are worried about the cost of traveling and this option gives you an extra push like “hey, there are some affordable places out there to see too!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly. And sometimes it’s places that you haven’t really thought of to go. It’s fun just to check where you can go for cheap every once in awhile.

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  6. I love planning my trip. My iceland trip took 2 months to finalise the itenary. The hard part is after u book
    Flights u always wish u had 2 more days. But a great share on organising and planning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve definitely felt that before. I like the challenge of squeezing in the perfect trip into the time that I have. It hasn’t failed me yet.

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  7. Add to your search engines KIWI.COM as well! It combines flights for you and has a radius search too, so you can find alternatives a bit further from your goal destination but much MUCH cheaper!

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  8. I got a great deal on my flight to Alaska with Google Flights. I had one question. Sometime I look for deals and get some horrible flights e.g. prone to delay, missed connections or bad weather. How do you make sure you get a good flight but still within a budget? I make sure my layover is 3 hours minimum. What else?

    Liked by 1 person

    • A lot of that is up to luck. There are some airlines or even specific flights that are notorious for delays. Vueling for example is often delayed. You can find this out by looking at reviews. If you’re nervous about it, the best get is to go with a better rated airline even if it costs you a bit more.

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