How To Plan A Trip – The Ultimate Guide
Welcome travel lovers! Do you want to see new places, but still have no clue where to go? Not to mention how to find the best flight deals or what to pack for your big journey? Good, because it means you’re on the right page. Here you learn how to plan the perfect trip from scratch.
When I’ve learned something on my travels, then to plan and prepare before I go on my journeys – no matter if for a long weekend trip or for a month itinerary. However, to plan the perfect trip can be pretty exhausting sometimes. Especially if you’re not the best travel planner. But don’t worry! There are easy tips you can follow to make your vacation unforgettable. From packing to finding cheap flights and hotels, find here my pieces of advice for a memorable journey.
How to find a good destination?
First things first: the destination. Of course, everyone has spots in mind. But deciding for a place can be hard sometimes. However, there are a few questions that can help to make your decision. If you can answer them, you will have a pretty good overview of which destinations are eligible:
- What time of the year do you want to travel?
- Are you more up for a beach vacation or a sightseeing trip?
- How much time do you have for your vacation?
- Do you want a short flight or can it be long-distance?
- Are you traveling solo, with a friend or in a group?
- What is your budget?
If you have a clear destination in mind or at least a small range of travel destinations, write them down and think about what destination might be the best option for you. That’s the first step to plan the perfect trip before we can go on with topics like how to save money for your next trip and how to find the best deals.
How to save money for your trip?
Once you have found your dream destination, let’s talk about money. You probably want to find a cheap flight and low-priced accommodations. I can help you with this – no problem. But before we get there, you can also save some bucks before you even book anything. Have a look at my tips below and save money for your upcoming trips around the world!
- Create a saving plan only for your travels. Thereby, the monthly payment depends on your income and the approximate amount of your travels. For example, I save up to $500 each month for my trips.
- Reduce your expenditures. This can mean less shopping, lower lunch costs, or less drinking with friends. Of course, you shouldn’t start living super simple and giving up on everything. Just try to live more conscious and always ask yourself: do I need this or are there cheaper options?
- Sell the stuff you don’t need anymore. You can do it by going to the flea market. Or you can take a photo of your things and put it online. It’s not just good for your wallet, but it’s also a refreshment in your home.
- Borrow some things. It’s a great way if you want something for just a short time or only for trying it out. I always ask my friends if they can lend me something, so I don’t have to buy it myself. This can be moving boxes, a book, or a backpack and/or tent for your next journey.
- Start doing free things. It begins in your own city. There are so many free options that make so much fun – especially with friends. So have a look at what’s free in your city and start doing that instead of going to the movie theater or too much drinking.
- Use travel reward credit cards. This sounds a bit confusing because you have to invest in these cards in the first place. But if you travel a lot, you can get flights or hotels for free. So, in the end, you can even save money from those reward cards!
Now that you’ve read my tips, try them out for a month or two and you will already see the results. At the end of this period, you are going to have more money than usual! And that’s only one step less to plan the perfect trip.
How to find the cheapest flights?
Nowadays there are so many options to find cheap flights. On the one hand, you have lots of platforms such as Skyscanner, Momondo, or Kayak where you can compare flight tickets and get the best deals. On the other hand, there are some great tips to keep in mind. But before I reveal you these booking hacks, I want to tell you more about the comparison portal Momondo. It’s just one of many online platforms, but it’s also my favorite. And here’s why:
Momondo specializes in flights. So the people who are working for that platform can put all their effort into optimizing the website according to flights. The results are clear: We don’t just get a smart user interface, but also consistently the cheapest deals. That also show several publications such as Travel + Leisure, that named Momondo the best travel search engine, or the travel guide website Frommers, that used a scoring system to ascertain the best platform with the top three finishers: Google Flights (9 points), Skyscanner (19 points) and Momondo (39 points). And Travolution Awards even chose Momondo to be the best price comparison site. At least now it seems pretty clear that Momondo is the winner when it comes to finding cheap flights.
On the platform, you can search for the cheapest, quickest, or best results – depending on your preferences. Moreover, the site doesn’t track you with cookies. So if you look for your trip a second time, the prices won’t suddenly be higher than before. That’s a huge advantage! But the best thing about Momondo is the fancy calendar which shows you average prices before and after your preferred dates. That way, you can look for the best low-priced dates. There are so many more features, Momondo offers. But I suggest having a look at their site by using my link to get a picture.
Now that you’ve found the perfect flight website, let’s break down my travel tips. Here I’ve listed a range of hacks you should keep in mind when you book your flights:
- Best booking time: Book 6 weeks before you aim to depart
- Cheapest time to book: In the afternoon (when business travelers already booked their flights in the morning)
- Best days to book: Tuesday followed by Wednesday, while Friday, Saturday and Sunday are the most expensive days for both domestic and international flights
- Best months to book: Depending on if southern or northern hemisphere, the best months to book are February, May, August, October, and November
- Pick the holidays: Be rebellious and look for flights on major holidays, e.g. on Christmas, New Year or get surprisingly good deals on Friday the 13th
If you use all of these tips, I guarantee you, that you will save a lot of money when you book your next flight. Just try it out and compare airfares like a pro! And you will see, how easy it can be to plan the perfect trip.
How to find cheap hotels?
After you have booked your flight, you usually check out next what accommodations are available on the net to make your stay in your destination country complete. I prefer looking at Booking.com and Airbnb. Probably you’ve already heard of both. And here’s why: Booking.com offers over 120.000 destinations and more than 28.000.000 hotels worldwide which get more and more every day. So it’s a popular platform where you definitely find a nice hotel, apartment, bed & breakfast or hostel. Also, you can read honest ratings of the accommodation. That’s a huge help to find the right place.
Another reason why I love Booking.com are the numerous helpful features such as the filter function where you can filter for the lowest price, the star rating or the distance from the city center. Moreover, you can choose between different facilities your accommodation should have or in which district you want to stay. But the best thing is: if you once found a place, you will get an overview of all available rooms, how many people can stay there, if breakfast is included and what the exact price is – without any extra costs! In addition, you can book within two minutes. It’s just so easy that you can spend more time on other more important things. Just click on the link above or use my search boxes to get results directly.
But of course, there are more possibilities to book your accommodation. One thing I always do is checking out Airbnb. There you don’t just find cheaper places than on Booking.com, but also apartments from locals. That’s a perfect option if you travel alone and want to get in touch with the natives.
Airbnb provides accommodations in over 190 countries and more than 26.000 cities. Unlike Booking.com, you have to create your own account. For this, you can use my link above. But don’t worry. It’s easy, fast, and free. And once it’s done, you can start looking for nice places. On Airbnb, you can either look for the whole apartment of the local or you can book a private room and share the rest of the apartment with your host. This decision depends on your preferences. But both options are possible.
But Airbnb has much more than that. Locals offer activities such as surf lessons, boat trips, and guided city tours. Or you can search for restaurants recommended by locals. You see, Airbnb is a platform with lots of possibilities to stay at and discover your next destination.
Need to plan more?
Besides finding a cheap flight and good accommodations, sometimes there are more things to keep in mind when you plan the perfect trip. For example, think about the question if you need to rent a car or if you just use public transportation and Uber. Another one is if you want or need to book tours in advance. By thinking about these options, you make sure that your trip is well-planned and you don’t have to care about any of these things during your vacation. You might not be that flexible anymore, but if you’re the type that enjoys a stress-free journey, booking in advance is a must!
For finding the best tour, I use GetYourGuide. They provide great trips and always have the ones I’m looking for. This includes any kind of tours and excursions, activities like cooking classes and tickets to numerous popular attractions. I’m sure you will definitely find something you like because they offer more than 40.000 products in destinations around the world. So have a look at their page and get the tour you want!
If you’re planning to do a road trip, you probably won’t get around renting a car. Therefore I use Rentalcars. It’s amazing! Rentalcars compares deals from the biggest and most popular car rental companies, such as Sixt, Avis, Europcars, Alamo and so many more. By using the link above, you just type in your pickup location, the dates of your total rental days, your age and that’s it. The rest does Rentalcars by finding the best options for you. In the end, all you have to do is choosing the right vehicle – and nothing gets in your way to have the perfect vacation.
How to pack for your trips?
It’s obvious that packing for a trip can be nerve-racking sometimes. What do I need for a certain country? Will it be hot or cold? Do I need sneakers or are sandals enough? What do I need for the beach or in case it’s raining? And what if my luggage is too full to close it? First of all: don’t worry! You are not alone with all these questions and there are so many options to pack everything you need within a short time. So don’t stress yourself and go on reading, because here you find the perfect guides for your needs!
I’ve put together a list of all the things you need for your perfect vacation. My ultimate packing guide provides you with great and helpful packing hacks and a basic list of what you have to think of. You will also find a printable checklist at the end of the post, so you always have the list ready to hand to check off each point.
If the guide is too basic and you need something tailored to your journey, I recommend checking out my Packing Guides. There you are going to find a list of packing guides for several countries and different kinds of trips. Otherwise, you just need to ask yourself these questions and you will definitely find the things you need:
- How long am I traveling? → Less than 1,5 weeks: carry-on bag, otherwise luggage
- Will it be hot, cold, or both? → Always pack for a layer-look (also in case it gets cold in the evening)
- What are the must-haves? → Sun blocker, sunglasses, bug spray, first-aid kit, and comfy shoes
- Anything else? → Camera, music playlist, book or e-reader, charger, power bank
How to travel safely?
After my packing tips, you’re almost done with my guide “How to plan the perfect trip”. Now there’s one last thing you need to know: how to travel safely when you’re on the go?
Traveling the world is a wonderful and life-changing thing. You discover so many new places, you go on great adventures and you get to know different cultures and people. But even if you think some parts of the world are safe, it’s always good to have a backup. Because twisting your ankle or getting really sick can happen everywhere.
So, if you really want to travel safely, I suggest you get travel insurance. I usually travel with World Nomads. It makes me feel carefree on my travels, I’m less anxious and I can enjoy my vacation even more. I recommend travel insurance especially if you plan a longer trip (10 days and more), a big adventure like canyoneering or a sports trip such as surfing.
Besides getting travel insurance, there are more possibilities to travel safely. Here I listed some great tips that might help you to travel calmer – especially as a solo female traveler.
- Avoid parks by night
- Keep your valuables in a safe place
- Be careful with accepting drinks from strangers
- Write down the emergency info of the country
- Learn more about the common travel scams
- Don’t share too much with strangers
- Don’t put anything in your back pockets
If you want to read more about solo female travels, have a look at my post A solo traveler’s guide to Marrakech. I hope you’re well-prepared now and you got the best tips for how to book and plan your perfect trip. Is there anything else you want to know? Just contact me or let me know your thoughts in the comments.
I just wanted to let you know that this page contains affiliate links. If you decide to buy something using one of these links, I will earn a small commission. Don’t worry that’s at no extra cost to you, but it does help to fund my travels and keep the website running. Thank you!