We all love to travel. But we don’t really like Planning for travels. Who doesn’t want to see new places, meet new people, experience new culture and humble oneself with the beauty of the world that The Creator made it to be?
However, if you are planning for travels on a budget, it can be really painstakingly hard. Of course, unless you are that person who would rather enjoy the surprises of another land, you still need to plan some parts of the travel, despite wanting the thrill of the unknown.
Picking travel dates and destination
Planning for travels starts with the dates inclusive for the trip. You will need to look at the calendar for non-busy days that you can use for relaxation and vacation. Most of the people tend to book flights on holidays because of work and studies. However, take into consideration that this is the peak season. And fare is at its highest during peak season. That is why others prefer to travel during non-holidays to get the lowest flight rate. Travel dates are also important in order to pick the lowest possible fare. If you are already sure to travel at the said date, it is important that you book tickets ahead of time to get low rates.
Your destination is as important as your travel date. You may need to research on the culture and other important matters of your destination, especially if you are Muslim, as you need to know if there are halal restaurants you can eat at. Your travel destination will also be crucial in packing your luggage and how much baggage allowance you will purchase.
Planning for travels’ itinerary
Your research about the destination and dates of your travel will most likely affect your itinerary. This is the answer to the following questions:
What do you want to do in your chosen destination?
Are you meeting with someone in these places and time?
Which places in the destination that you want to physically visit?
How much time will you allot to each activity and place that you want to do and visit?
And, so on!
As cliche as it sounds, you need to plan your budget. If you are on a tight one, you may need to widen your research on how to make your travel, budget-friendly. The easiest way to do this is to look at blogs of people who have traveled to the same destination and how they managed their budget.
Be sure to commit to the budget you have created. If it can’t be helped, just stick closer to the amount you have put in the budget. This allows you to be disciplined for your other upcoming travels. Also, make yourself accountable for any excess you made during the actual travel.
Just like what is mentioned in the first bullet, travel dates and booking dates are important in getting low fares. If you have low budget, it is rather helpful that you book flights ahead.
One trick in getting low fares is to book your flights one by one rather than clicking continuous flights. Also, it is a plus if you enroll yourself to loyalty programs of the airlines and ferries if you travel frequently. Points can be converted to tickets when you reach minimum needed. 😉
If you need a Visa, you may want to check the websites of the embassy of the country you are visiting to know the requirements and what you need to do to acquire one.
Booking your accommodation
May it be hotels, inns, Airbnb or Couchsurfing hostels, it is best to book them ahead of time. A lot of accommodations will be fully-booked in touristy places during peak seasons. So, it is more appropriate that you reserve rooms earlier.
Packing your luggage
Your destination and itinerary will dictate what you will be bringing for your trip. If you are going to a hot and tropical country, it is best to bring clothes that are appropriate for summer. If you are going to a cold place, then you may need your thermal long johns and jackets.
Toiletries are also very crucial. It is best to bring smaller bottles or sachets, if available, to minimize the weight. It is best to bring extra tote that you can use to separate used clothes to unused ones or just for another use, too.
It is best to call and ask your airline of choice about their hand-carry luggage terms, too. Some airlines do not require that your laptop, camera, magazines, etc to be included in the total weight of your hand-carry luggage; while others require them to be included.
When packing your luggage, be sure to use methods that would help you fit more into a tiny luggage. You can either fold your clothes at the size of your luggage or roll them to make use of every corner of the bag. You can search for tutorials on Youtube for this.
My mom always tells me to have at least a pair of clothes and undies in my hand-carry luggage, just in case your checked-in one gets lost in the airport. It has been helpful when one of our luggages went missing in Brunei International Airport last 2011.
Moreover, be reminded of the things that are prohibited to be carried on your checked-in and hand-carry luggage. It is also best to have a weighing scale available to check the weight of your baggage ahead.
The most important reminder is to not carry unnecessary things with you!
Important Documents and Stuff
From passports, valid IDs, tickets, itinerary, gadgets, cards, address books to extra cash, double check everything. It is also recommended that you have a soft copy of your documents in your flash drives and emails for emergencies. Moreover, always carry in your bag your passports and other documents during the travel.
Bring extra biscuits, candies and water (unless prohibited) just in case you may starve at airport and ferry lines. I also bring first-aid medicine on every travel.