How to Plan A Travel Trip

You’ve been thinking about taking a holiday for some time now, the only thing stopping you is the thought of planning it! It’s is all too much to think about and you’re not too sure where to begin with the process…we’ll that’s where this guide ‘How to Plan A Travel Trip’ comes in!

Start with the ‘Why’ you are traveling, research into destinations

and begin eliminating options following the process below.

How to plan a travel trip _ The Grand Canyon
To Find Wonder // Location: The Grand Canyon

How to Plan A Travel Trip

1. The Purpose of Travel

Find out the answer to this important question first – What is your purpose of going on this trip?

Here’s some reasons you might decide to plan a travel trip:

Relaxation

Explore somewhere new

Get out and see nature

See a city or a wonder of the world

Tick off a bucket list item

For a wedding or occasion

For business, work or study

Gather creative inspiration!

Spend some time thinking about your purpose for travel and create a brain storm in a journal page. If your purpose is for relaxation, brain storm the things you would like to see and do on your relaxing vacation…

Eg: drink fresh fruit smoothies everyday, have spa treatments, lay on the beach… These activity lists will all come in use for the next step of deciding on a destination.

Cairns Australia How to plan a travel trip
To Explore Nature // Location: Cairns, Australia

2. Decide on a Destination

Begin looking into destinations that fit your purpose. For example, if the purpose is to relax and the activities you want to do include laying on a beach, consider tropical island destinations. If the purpose is to see a Wonder of the World, look them all up, see where they are located and decide which one you want to see the most, like the Great Wall of China or Machu Picchu in Peru.

When deciding on a destination (or more than one), as well as the purpose of the trip, consider asking yourself these questions:

Where have you always wanted to go?

Whats kinds of activities do you want to see and do?

How much time do you have for your trip? (This may restrict your destination choices to ones that are closer to home)

What is the budget for your trip? (This may also steer your choice to certain destinations)

How far do you want to travel? (This may restrict your destination choices to ones that are closer to home)

How far apart are the destinations you want to visit (if there more than one country or major city)? (You don’t want to be rushed and exhausted, spending all your time traveling to and from places, so you may need to save some destinations for another trip).

Is it practical and possible to see them both (or all) at once in the time frame and budget?

What time of year are you planning to go?

Is there a certain time you must travel?

how to plan a travel trip map

3. Researching the Destination

Once you have decided on your destination(s), you’ll need to dive deeper into planning of this amazing trip!

This includes researching further into the destination (mostly using google, travel guide books and blogs) to gain knowledge about the place, which includes looking into the weather, the currency, the required visas and vaccines, the festivals on at the time of year and the general reviews of the destinations.

Consider asking these questions about your chosen destination, and research more into the topics:

What is the weather like during the time you plan to go?

What Activities or events are on? Are there special festivals on at a certain time of year you would like to see?

When are things closed and when are the public holidays?

How long should you allow for sight seeing each city or attraction?

What is the currency?

Do you need a Visa to travel or vaccines?

After all this research into the destination, Is the destination still right and the chosen time of year?

how to plan a travel trip books

4. Buying Flights

Now, off you go! You can now look at how much flights are going to cost, comparing across websites such as SkyScanner, cheap flights and booking.com. You may purchase flights now, or just have a rough idea of how much they might cost for your budget until it’s time to buy.

Tips on Buying Flights:

Flights are cheapest 3-months in Advance

Search across multiple websites such as SkyScanner, Cheap Flights and Booking.com

Research your flight costs and add them into the budget figure

how to plan a travel trip budget

5. Researching the Main Towns and Areas

You’re on your way to a new adventure! This is the section of the process where you become familiar with the main towns and areas of the destination. This is an important step so that you can orientate yourself on the destination before travelling.

Familiarise yourself with the main airport locations and how far they are from the town centre. Google the activities and landmarks where you want to go and start to create a ‘custom google map’ for your travels in your Google maps account. You can even download the map offline for up to 30days to use when you travel.

This will help you to determine the locations of where to start looking for accommodation and if you need to stay in more that one location, move around or stay in one place.

Use Google maps and travel guides to work out the answers to the questions below:

Where is the airport you fly into and how far is it from the main town centre?

Where is the main town centre?

Where are the attractions you want to visit located in the area?

Are there multiple areas to visit? Will some require a day trip out of the town?

Can you stay in one location, or do you need to move around to see all your attractions?

The Disney Concert Hall Los Angeles, USA
The Disney Concert Hall // Location: Los Angeles, USA

6. Researching the Transportation Methods

It’s also a good idea at this point to become familiar with the public transport systems available in the location and ways in which you can get around. This will help you when making final decisions about accommodation and attractions to visit.

Research these topics about your location:

Bus Routes available and costs

Train Routes, Subway Systems, Fast Trains available and costs

Taxi, Uber, Lyft, Pool and Rental car options and costs

Ferry and boat options and costs

Ways to get from the airport to the town centre

how to plan a travel trip transport map

7. Find Accommodation

Begin by looking on a few websites at the same time to compare prices and locations, such as Airbnb and booking.com. Then you may also want to google research “unique places to stay in (destination)” and see what comes up incase you want to book a cool experience for a couple nights. Also search for unique places on Airbnb.

When you’ve narrowed down the list of hotels (I usually have a million tabs open by this point), bookmark all the accommodation you like. Book Accommodation early to get the best rates, especially if you plan to travel in peak season for that destination. If your trip is longer than a month, you may choose to hold off booking all accommodation until closer to the time, as your plans may change.

Answer these questions before you look for and book accommodation:

What is your budget?

How close to the city centre can you afford to stay?

What do you want to be close to?

What style of accommodation will you look at? Resorts, hotels, Air BNB, Motels, Hostels, Camping, Something Unique, Something convenient?

What facilities do you need?

Make a checklist of your top 3 facility priorities when looking for accommodation within your budget. Eg: Close to train station, kitchen facilities for cooking, within 20minutes of the city centre.

how to plan a travel trip accommadation
The Freehand Hotel // Location: Los Angeles, USA

7. Researching Activities and Local Events

This is my favourite part and should be yours too! Now you can research more into all the things to see and do while we are there! Start by looking at the top 10 attractions your destination is famous for and see if anything interests you.

If anything does, then write it down and be sure to visit the websites for more information on ticket pricing, open times, close times, ways to get there and when is the best time to visit.

Then start researching into more unique or unusual attractions, events and off-the-beaten path tips that might be interesting to include in your itinerary. Some of the best places to find local attractions include searching events in the location on Facebook, reading blog posts from Traveler’s that have been to the location and talking to people about their recommendations.

Facebook also has the new status tool where you can ask people for recommendations and specify a location. Friends can then comments their favourite must-see places. Guide Books are still full of good info and can recommend some top sites to see.

Consider these resources to find great things to see and do:

Google the Top Attractions at the Destination and look down the list for anything that catches your interest. Then write it down.

Search the events on Facebook in the area you’ll be staying, you can search by Category and dates.

Read blog posts and city guides from other travelers that have been there.

Ask friends what they would recommend seeing and doing.

Ask for recommendations using the Facebook status tool.

Search the city guide maps made by locals on CoolCousin.com

Read through travel guide books like Lonely Planet.

how to plan a travel trip research

8. Preparing a Packing List

This bit is not as fun, unless you like packing lists! Your list might not be a final one down to every detail, but you should definitely think about what you will need to bring ahead of time, especially if you are going somewhere cold, developing, doing outdoor activities, wanting to create art or blog.

By writing this initial list, you’ll save time later and be able to see anything missing from the list that you have to buy.

Think about these items when writing your initial packing list:

  1. Tops and singlets
  2. Pants and leggings
  3. Skirts and shorts
  4. Pyjamas / Sleepwear
  5. Jackets and sweaters/knits
  6. Rainproof or Snow jacket
  7. Swimming gear
  8. Socks and Undies/Bras
  9. Accessories – beanies, scarves, gloves, hats, belts, jewellery
  10. Shoes – sandals, boots, runners
  11. Toiletries / Shampoo
  12. Make-up / Make-up Remover
  13. Medicine / prescriptions (fill them before you leave)
  14. Glasses / Sunglasses / Contacts
  15. Umbrella
  16. Art supplies, Journals and Sketch Books
  17. Camera, Tripod, Spare batteries, cables, chargers, power banks, memory cards, phone, SIM cards

how to plan a travel trip packing

9. The Time Leading Up to Your Travel Trip

It’s time to get excited! For the time leading up to your trip….

Keep up with the below activities:

Researching your destination, city, attractions and activities.

Budgeting and saving money

Applying and finalising all visas

Appointments for the doctor and any medical professionals

Filling out prescription medicine

Getting any necessary vaccines

Buying any necessary items like luggage, travel jackets, hiking boots, etc

Setting a date for your farewell party.

Brooklyn Bridge New York
Excited for Adventure! // Location: Brooklyn Bridge, NY, USA

10. Preparing Your Art Supplies and Journal

If you’re looking to do some journaling or sketching on your holiday, you’ll want to spend some time preparing your art supplies before hand.

(New to Travel Journalling? Check out my Journalling Essentials to get started)

Art supplies and journals can take up space and weight in your luggage…

Here’s some tips on how to pack for your creative trip:

  • Notebook: Bring a journal to begin with and then buy another (or more) as a souvenir on the road if you need to.

 

  • Writing Only Journal: I find that I don’t always update my Travel Art Journal every day but I will write a slab of what happened that day in a seperate writing journal that has nothing but the highlights and happenings from the day.

 

  • Paints & Pencils: Don’t bring every colour in the set. If your planning to bring coloured pencils, paints gouache and watercolour or markers – pick out the primary, secondary and neutrals only. This way you can always blend to create a colour.

 

  • Destination Specific Colours: The other option is to only bring the colours that will relate to your destinations. Eg: dessert discovery holiday might only require landscape palette, a holiday to the Great Barrier Reef might require the blues and brights.

 

  • Washi Tape: don’t bring the whole roll! Instead, grab a plastic unused credit card and wind some of the Washi Tape around it. You can fit up to 5 types of tape on the card. It will sit flat in your bag and take up less space.

 

  • Take versatile journaling materials: this means Washi Tape designs that are just coloured or can relate to various activities, Stickers that can be used on multiple pages and are not super specific, letter stamps to spell out any heading needed.

 

  • Stickers: Buy stickers while travelling. It’s much more memorable and fun to find stickers at the places you’ve been than to bring ones you’ve already bought. You can also buy them at the destinations and stick them on the front cover or into the journal when your back at home.

 

  • Sketch books: these can often add weight but may be necessary for you. So I find I can reduce some weight by removing the often heavy card covers they come with, and also removing sheets from a book if I don’t think I’ll use the whole thing on holiday.

travel journalling how to plan a travel trip

11. The Week Before Your Travel Trip

Yass! Only one week to go before you’re off on a creative adventure!

Here’s what you need to do the week before:

Have a Farewell Party! To say Adios! And Bon Voyage!

Lay out your items and clothing to see if you have everything you need and also to see if it will all fit in your suitcase.

Buy packing cubes for easy travel organising!

Call the bank and tell them your traveling, make sure your money is sorted.

travel journalling how to plan a travel trip supplies

12. The Night Before Your Travel Trip

The night before you will need to stop and think about what else will need to be packed in the morning and leave the list beside your bed. Work out what time you need to be at the airport in order to feel relaxed. Lay out your plane outfit ready to go, review your luggage one more time and then zip it up!

In the morning, pack all those last-minute things like:

Medicine

Toiletries & Make-up

Tooth Brush & Tooth Paste

Hair Brush

Phone Charger / Chargers


WATCH THE VIDEO
‘HOW TO PLAN A TRAVEL TRIP’

I hope you found this guide on ‘How to Plan a Travel Trip’ helpful in planning your own dream travel trip! If you any further tips you would like to share or comments, please leave them below! Wishing you happy and Safe Travels full of Creativity + Adventure!

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