For me, planning a trip is almost as exciting as actually taking the trip. I have a set process for planning a trip and follow it numerous times per year. I recently received an ace Travel Journal from Marco Polo which I have used to plan our upcoming trip to Madrid. It has loads of pages to fill with information about what to see and do! Perfect for someone like me who finds it difficult to be spontaneous!
Decide where you want to go – sometimes I have set ideas about where I would like to go and carry out research purely on that place. Other times I scour the internet to see where is cheap/good value for money i.e. £14 return flights from Stansted to Gothenburg earlier this year swayed our decision to visit.
Decide how long you want to go for – as a part time traveller with a set annual leave entitlement, I do not have the luxury of spending as much time as I’d like in places. I must allocate a timescale, for me an ideal length of time for a European mini break is three nights. For an international trip then a minimum of seven nights.
Decide on a budget – If like me, you don’t have a money tree growing at the bottom of your garden, it is important to decide early on in the planning process what your budget is. This means taking into account flights/other transportation, accommodation, food, drinks, sightseeing. Even though flights are cheap it may be expensive to eat and drink as it was in Gothenburg.
Save the cash – this may seem like an obvious one as nothing in life comes for free (not even for travel bloggers – time is money after all). Travel is a luxury not essential (although I could argue against this case). Therefore sometimes I need to tighten the purse strings prior to taking a trip – taking a packed lunch to work/ not buying drinks from coffee shops/staying in on a Saturday night etc.
Book flights, accommodation and activities –
- Flights – I always use Skyscanner to search for flights. It searches the internet and shows you all the flights available, making it extremely easy to find the right one for you.
- Accommodation – For accommodation I usually use Booking.com as the majority of hotels/apartments/B&Bs are pay on arrival, meaning I get extra time to save my pennies.
- Activities – after researching the top things to do I always try to book as many tours/tickets/events as possible before I visit anywhere for fear of it selling out or eating into my spending money.
So your flights and accommodation are booked, that means you are definitely taking the trip (yeah!) although it also means there is plenty of preparation to be done before you get to kick back and enjoy yourself :-
Buy Travel Insurance – I’m sure we’d all like to think every trip we take will be smooth sailing. However, sometimes things do go wrong – you could lose a bag or need medical assistance. If like us, you take multiple trips per year, check out annual policies meaning you only have the hassle of sorting it out once a year.
Buy stuff – this my favourite part of preparing for a trip – SHOPPING! I usually make a list of the things I need for any given trip and happily set about buying what I need from sun screen and flip flops to snow boots and wooly jumpers. I always try not to buy too much, however usually fail – one day I’ll learn to pack light.
Let your bank know you are out of the country – having been caught out a couple of times ourselves – once in Thailand and once in Las Vegas, we always call our banks before we take any trip to let them know that we will be using our cards in another country and which country it is. No one wants to be stuck with no cash abroad!
Check out if you need a visa – this is important as without a visa you may not be allowed entrance into some countries. Check out if you need to apply for a visa before you fly (from the UK) i.e. United States of America or whether you can be issued on upon arrival (from the UK) i.e. Bali. I certainly don’t want to take a flight, especially a long one, to be turned around at the other end. Check it out with the embassy for the country you are visiting.
Check out if you need vaccinations – no one likes being ill on holiday, especially if it can be prevented. Therefore, check if you need vaccinations for the country you are visiting and also check that your standard vaccinations are up to date as well. It is important to have your shots in plenty of time before your trip to give them chance to kick in (usually around 8 weeks).
I am not the most organised or motivated when it comes to packing and quite often leave it until the night before a journey. However, as I usually take a trip at least once a month I seem to have the process down to under 10 minutes and never (touch wood) have I forgotten anything important.
- Open suitcase/backpack/rucksack
- Throw your stuff in
- ENJOY YOUR TRIP!!! – don’t forget your journal so you can make notes along the way!
Giveaway (UK Entrants Only)
Now here’s your chance to win one of five Marco Polo Travel Journals for yourself. Simply click below to enter.
Closing Date: NOW CLOSED
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1. The promotion is open To everyone aged 18 or over, excluding employees and their immediate families of Marco Polo, its agents or anyone professionally connected with the promotion.
2. To enter, simply enter via link in post – Rafflecopter
3. No purchase necessary, however internet access is required.
4. The Prizes: 5 x prize winners will receive a Travel Journal
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