The Holidays are always the most exciting yet also among the most stressful times of the year. Whenever we get a chance to tour a certain place or have that city break we have been waiting for, we suddenly get confused as to where we should start and how to plan for a holiday break
It has also been difficult on my part to come up with the perfect routine for planning city tours and country travels because of the many things to take into consideration such as accommodations, transfers, and even restaurants to eat to. There’s so much that needs to be planned for vacation in a city and at it first it might seem like way to much work.
Honestly, I used to be the worst person when it comes to efficient planning and organization. I have gone through a lot of travel mistakes before I discovered a solution to my personal dilemma and character woe. If you are a bit curious as to the extent of my mental disorganization, let me give you a personal account. A few years ago, I was about to travel to another country when I only packed my luggage a few hours before the flight. And just as what everyone could expect, I left something very important! No, I did not just forget my underwear. What I forgot was my passport! And the rest of the story you must know.
Since that woeful experience, I made a vow to prepare ahead of time and to become as organized as possible and figure out how to plan for a vacation to a different city. I came to realize that in order for me to have a memorable, hassle-free, and successful travel escapade, I would have to spend much time in planning and preparations. This only means that every detail has to be anticipated so that I won’t be left hanging in the end.
Now, I feel like I have the responsibility to share with you the lessons I hardly learned so that you won’t commit the same travel mistakes that I have made. So let me give you a run-down of my own kind of routine in organizing any adventure and the proper way to plan for a trip.
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Browsing For Inspiring Travel Goals – 3 Months Before Travel
How do we get ideas for our next travel destination? The simple answer is our best friend – Google! Yes, we use this easy technological advancement in order to find the best place that would suit our budget and personal preferences. I also visit the websites of other online magazines and travel professionals on figuring out what places to visit.
Apart from Google, I also use the social medial platforms to find inspiration for escapades. Among the favorites that I regularly use is Pinterest which allows me to create a particular board where I can save photos that are significant to my search interests.
Searching For Flight Deals – 2 Months Before The Adventure
Do you think that this is such an exaggeration? Not really. Millions of travelers worldwide actually do the same thing because we realized that airways offer cheaper rates for early bookings in order to entice more customers. It is seldom that they will offer low flight prices on the dates that are nearing the actual flight particularly because of the law of supply and demand. In looking for the cheapest flight rates, I usually compare different companies or I simply visit websites that already do the price comparisons for me such as Kayak.
By using comparison sites, I am also able to search for more specific flight categories according to my desires such as flights to a certain location within a specific time frame and under a particular budget.
Whenever I search for flights through Kayak, I get to discover various places that would just strike my heart and would let me want to immediately go there. The best thing about searching online and making quotations is that I get to maximize our budget and our family gets to decide about the trip together. It doesn’t really matter if it takes over 1 week to finally make a booking for as long as we are sure with every step.
Another great tool is Google Flights. Using this tool from Google there’s so many ways to discover a great deal. You can enter your departure airport and see all the prices to everywhere around the world. You might have an amazing deal in a city that you never thought about, but with an amazing price you might want to check it out.
It’s also recommended to checkout the site The Flight Deal. This site provides flash sales from airlines to destinations around the world. Most of the time these prices only last for a few hours, thus it’s a good idea to follower their Twitter account and get instant notifications of deals happening.
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Finalizing Transactions For Everything – 6 Weeks Before The Trip
This is one of the most exciting steps along the way. About six weeks before the actual trip, I set a specific night to do all the transactions online. That includes finally booking flights including the travel insurance and the parking fee at the airport. I also make sure that I have keep a hard copy of the transactions altogether in a file case.
After booking the flight, I also search for accommodations that are available on the dates of our trip. Since Airbnb started, I’ve been choosing their houses and rooms for rent instead of booking hotel rooms. The options in Airbnb are just more appropriate and budget-friendly for a family with kids.
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you that you must also consider your dogs in case you have some. When choosing the final date, contact your relatives first if they could care for them while you are away.
You might also want to break down these activities into specific days. For example, spend one day only booking airfare, while the next day is only booking hotel accommodations.
Get Some Weather Predictions – At Most 2 Weeks From Day Of Travel
Can you just imagine bringing only shirts and some jeans to a place that has snow all over? Well, that’s the importance of checking the weather forecast two weeks before your official travel date.
For instance, I once had a travel to Warsaw when I discovered early on that I would be needing winter wear for the trip. That was such a wise idea to check weather bulletins because if I had not learnt about it, I would have brought only casual wear and it would have ruined all our plans.
Going Over The Itinerary – About A Week Before The Trip
The itinerary is the foundation of your trip and is the most important thing when planning your vacation. Without having a well-thought-of itinerary, then you could be missing important details of the travel or you could also be defying the entire purpose of your trip which is to have fun.
There are a number of online resources to help with the plotting of all activities for the whole duration of your travel. Do not forget to visit TripAdvisor and other travel websites to learn about the best activities and tourist destinations for a particular place.
One of the most helpful websites for my travel itineraries is GetYourGuide. This is a truly wonderful online resource because I get inspired with all their travel entries. Apart from articles, you also get to have a convenient platform where you can book the transportation and tours altogether.
Another great technological application is Google Maps which provides me a better overview of all the tourist spots and other destinations that I would have to go to. I just plot them in advance to help me during the travel days. It’s recommended that you read this article on why Google Maps is the single most important app to have when traveling.
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Planning The Luggage Contents – Around 4 Days Before The Flight
Believe me, there is an entire world of benefits to having your own luggage plans. Do not ever trust your own memory when packing. It is always best to have all the things that you need listed down in order to prevent any travel mishap arising from recklessness.
Let Your Laundry Work – Three Days Before The Adventure
Unless you are planning to buy all your clothes in your destination or wearing nothing at all, it is still best to bring enough number of clean clothes. The laundry work has to begin as soon as possible because you cannot just rush the washing and risk forgetting about your underwear, socks, or even coat.
Examine Your Gadgets – Two Days Prior To Travel
Can you just imagine having reached your destination and you suddenly realize that your camera’s memory is full? I remember falling into this trap over and over again. Since I want you to have the best memories kept, let me give you an advice. Always empty your memory cards before traveling. Also, you may consider charging other gadgets that will be important in your adventure. It’s also a good idea to check and see what kind of power outlets that this places has. It would be a bummer if you got summer and you can’t charge your electronics and spending a day finding a store to sell you a converter is waste of your time in a different country.
Fill Your Luggage – A Day Before The Trip
It is during your last waiting day that you feel all the pressure and the excitement. Because of the roller coaster of feelings, there is a tendency to be disorganized. Make sure that everything on your list is packed properly. Use pouch organizers for small items. Buy small bottles that are allowed for your flight. Fold your clothes efficiently.
Dig in the Details – Last Night Before the Trip
Oh, the last night is when all our nerves are excited to jump, dance, skip, and hop. No matter how much excitement we are feeling, it is important to be aware of all the important things. A city break would usually require me to ride a taxi or Uber. It is good to know first the cost of the trip going to your hotel or accommodation. Check the Uber app, ask the Airbnb host, call the hotel concierge, or simply ask Google for answers.
Write down all the things that you think would be of importance such as certain local language or dialect that you may need in order to effectively communicate with locals. It is also wise not to forget or lose the address of where you shall stay. Write down the exact location of your hotel or accommodation that is understandable by the locals.
After doing all these stuff of researching and writing down reminders, I go to the nitty-gritty of it all – packing snacks, preparing for the next day’s travel clothes, and fixing all the important documents.
Because I find it hard to sleep when I am excited, I also still browse some amazing travel photos on Instagram and Pinterest. You could also do the same thing in order to give you better expectations of how the city break would unfold. Doing this would also let you be more inspired to travel more and explore the city and the rest of the world even further.
For my last tip, you could consider doing my antidote to travel panic. I usually do not put in the essential documents in the suitcase because I have a tendency to forget about certain things when in a hurry. Can you just imagine me taking out all that I have packed just to find my passport and tickets? That’s why I just place it right beside the luggage so that I could easily see it before going out of the house.