Do you love to go on holidays but don’t really look forward to plan out your itinerary? Does it feel like there is just too much you need to handle by yourself? Then you are totally the opposite of me! I love the planning part, but I get your frustration….
No worries, I am here to help you out. I will give you a 5 Step plan I developed for myself and some extra tips and hacks so you will become a Trip planning master.
Pick your destination and set the dates
First pick your destination or destinations you will go to.
That is all. Easy step right?
Just pick a dream destination, or like me a bucket list destination. If you don’t really know where to go, you can always check out my bucket list for some inspiration.
If you are on a budget, I suggest to read about close by destinations with cheap tickets from your starting point. Or even far away destinations with a cheaper lifestyle. A great tool is Momondos trip finder, where you can look for flights with a budget to anywhere’ anytime’.
Book the flight
I always book my flight first. Because booking upfront is cheaper offcourse and kinda already pushes me to follow the next steps!
Finding that flight deal
If you are flexible with your dates, experiment with different departure and arrival dates. Even better if you live close to different international airports so you can check out the offers from both (for example I can take flights from Brussels, Amsterdam or even Paris if the price is worth it)
There are manyyy blog posts around the webs about flight hacks, and you can read all about it (I am not a pro flight hacker so I can’t tell you about them). BUT I always find good deals. I already mentioned my favorite flight ticket search engine: Momondo. I find this site SUPER practical and user friendly, you can apply filters but I usually just go by the cheaper ones. After using different search sites, I think Momondo still shows me the most cheap ones.
Attention!! ALWAYS check if you have transits and your connecting times. Believe me it is NOT worth it sticking around in a transit zone for 14 hours for some bucks less.
Mark down your route
Destination check, Ticket check… now it is time to draw out your itinerary!
If you are only staying in one city
Great, this step will be easy as well. Just mark down the sightseeing you want to be doing. When I go on city trips, I just use my Google account (gmail) and save the places I want to go to on Google Maps.
How? Well just go to Google Maps, Log in. Then click on the top left corner on the Menu sign and click ‘My Places’. You will have an overview of your lists at ‘Saved’. Now you can search up any point, restaurant, hotel, whatever Google maps has. Click on it and on the left you can now save it to any list you want. You can even add different labels and colors to a point. And it is Google Maps, so you can easily get a route description between points! Hooray.
Are you doing more than one city?
Oeeehh I am liking this adventurer in you already! You can keep your airport arrival city as your hub. Meaning you start and end here. Then select other places or cities you want to see (depending on how many days you got of course). This might be the most difficult part of the planning, as you have to do research on WHAT YOU want to see and visit.
psssst…. are you already bummed by this BIG responsibility? Here is a site I love to use to fabricate an itinerary: Inspirock
My upcoming South-Korea trip is a shared trip I made on there (take a look or copy and customize if you want). What I like about this site is that you can add any city to it, and the site will help you through and plan out things to see and do for you. It automatically fills in activities for you if you want. They have a Route view, a Day by Day view (with a timeline, a calendar and maps option) which makes it all so SUPER practical.
If you didn’t like Inspirock, stick with Google Maps! Instead of just saving places, you can select in your places menu ‘maps’ and create your own route map! Add all stops and even sightseeing spots. Now you get everything on a single map. Use different labels and colors here too (for example accomodation – restaurant – attraction – stations -…)
Living online is great! But you don’t always have the WIFI available. For bigger trips I like to make pocket itinerary travel books, I can teach you how here! Oh my God Jessica, stop being so planning obsessed already
One last tip: Plan to stay at least one night extra in your hub before flying back home. Plan a quiet chill exploring day, or a full relaxing day. Like this your body will have a bit of rest before the flight (and possible jetlag).
Make accommodation reservations
This step might already automatically happened while you were planning your itinerary. If not, I have already writen a guide on how to book a good place for you on Booking.com. So check it out.
If you are too lazy to click or don’t really like Booking.com, that’s cool. I will keep it simple: Book on your budget, a place that will be easy moving around and back to.
My tip here is: make reservations you can still cancel!! Like this you are sure you have a place to stay, but you can still modify if anything changes (or if you find a even better place! Muwahahaha)
Pre book domestic transportation
This is the final step to have you all set to go! Only if necessary you will have to book domestic flights, or reserve trains. According to your itinerary, book as many as you can in advance, with flexible times when possible.
If you don’t need to pre book trains or buses, already look up information about this. Stations, ticket passes, prices, etc.. so you avoid unpleasant surprises.
Are you planning to rent a car? I advice to book it in advance too. There are many sites for pre booking this. Alot of flight ticket sites and even Booking.com offer you good rental car deals. Just don’t forget your International drivers licence if you need one!
You are now a trip planning master ready to set off! All you need to do now is… PACK!
I hereby handle you a star for completing all steps ★