Posted on March 6, 2016
Ready To Travel But Don’t Know Where To Start?
I get asked a lot about how I build and plan my trips. As for me, I really enjoy the research and the challenge so that helps somewhat. If you don’t know where to start the following tips and guides will help. Planning and organizing a trip can be overwhelming at times, although there are apps, websites and travel agents who can assist with your booking needs some ground work should be laid first in order to build your trip. The following tips are a guide to help you do just that and pull together a great travel adventure. Let’s get started.
- Destination: Decide where in this big ole’ world you want to go. How long do you want to be gone? Say you want to visit Costa Rica in August. If so, check the weather during the August time span – if you are looking for fun in the sun then you want to make sure you haven’t picked the rainy season.
- Accommodations: After the destination has been chosen, time of year and length of stay, it’s time to decide on where you are going to lay your head. Do you prefer a hotel, 5 star luxury resort, medium budget motel, bed and breakfast, hostel or perhaps a cute little boutique hotel? So many choices I know and here is something else to consider: are you traveling with someone who might need assistance such as an elevator or other special needs? Don’t be afraid to call the hotel directly and ask the questions to get the info upfront- then you can make a sound decision if the hotel is a good fit. For additional information on this subject I have wrote an article A Guide To Traveling With Limitations. It will help you if you are traveling with someone who has certain needs and disabilities.
- Transportation: You will need some form of transportation. Do you want to rent a car or depend on public transportation? If it’s public transportation, it’s a good idea to have your hotel close to a subway or bus route- the less you have to struggle to find transportation the more time there is to explore. Research what is in the area to see- you may already know what is there in the city because you could have based your trip around visiting historic areas of the world. For example, I am traveling to Cambodia to see the ancient temples of Angkor Wat. I already know what I want to see in the city, so I chose my hotel and transportation around the temple area.
- Tours: There are countless tour companies on the internet that can be researched. Viator is a good tour company with a wide variety of tour options to choose from. They are not the cheapest but I’ve used them many times without regrets. Some people prefer to wing it which is perfectly fine. It’s a good idea to check out any tour company before committing to the purchase.
- Travel insurance: I can’t say enough about this. It’s always a good idea to get travel insurance when traveling outside of your home country. Most health insurance companies will not cover a medical situation outside of your country. Also, travel insurance is good because it offers emergency evacuation, travel delays, loss luggage and more. Don’t leave home (out of your country) without it. Listed below in the Travelers Tool Box are few travel insurance companies that I have used over the years. Remember to print off your policy and have it with you during your travels. My thoughts on travel insurance are “better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it.”
- Currency: I like to have a little foreign currency on me when I arrive to the country I am visiting. Just enough for transportation and food. Money exchanges in airports usually don’t give favorable exchange rates. Check out your local banks to see if they deal in foreign currency – I have used Bank of America for ordering money in the past – it’s convenient and easy to do- order your money at least 10 days before travel. Some travelers prefer to wait until they arrive in the country they are visiting and make a stop at a local ATM or banking facility- this is perfectly fine to do so- what every works for you concerning funds. I have a currency converter app on my phone and it helps immensely when I travel. If you don’t know how to convert the money when making purchases and getting change back, download an app before you travel. Below in the Traveler’s Tool Box a currency app is listed if you choose to use it.
The following is good information for your travel tool box. I like to search several websites to get a good shopping comparison.
Skyscanner Kayak Expedia Momando
Hotels Booking Agoda Trivago
- The Man in Seat 61
The Man in Seat 61
This website is crazy loaded with information. Tickets for trains, ferries and rail passes just to name a few. The website maps out where the ticket offices are, choice seats on trains and ferries just to name a small portion of information available here. There are pictures to guide you with the information that is given. I’m not even touching the iceberg of that is available on this site.
- Travel Blog
ytravelblog is a fun read as well and loaded with great information.
- Travel Insurance
Allianz Travel Insurance
CSA Travel Insurance
The Travel Channel
I use Trip Advisor a lot to read as much information as I can about a new destination. I like it because the reviews are from travelers just like you and me who have been to the places we want to visit. The Travel Channel is fun to watch and I’ve got a few ideas from it. As a reminder there are countless other sites to visit and get feedback from as well.
It’s free and easy to use.
Food For Thought: The Miscellaneous Items List
Make sure your passport is not expiring within 6 months. Many countries will not allow entry if the expiration date is 6 months or less. Make copies of your passport and keep a copy with you and it’s a good idea to email a copy to yourself as well. Always go the extra mile when it comes to protecting your valuables.
It’s a good idea to make copies of your flight and hotel itinerary – include hotel name, city and phone number and length of stay. Airline and flight times. Give a copy to a family or friend. It’s a good idea to have someone back home knowing your whereabouts- emergencies can crop up, so be prepared.
These tips and guides cover a major portion of trip planning. If I haven’t mentioned something you have experienced let me know. I’m always looking for more to build on and better ways of travel. The main thing is preparation and planning the rest will come together smoothly.
Enjoy your next adventure.