Just 5 steps to planning your first trip? Unbelievable?
Yes, I know. But it’s true. You can plan any trip in just 5 steps. Even your first. It’s not really difficult and I have seen people struggling with doing just that. In fact, it’s so simple even I laughed hard after I wrote this article.
One of the easiest things to do is to plan your trip. By the end of this article, you will know for sure and you will be suddenly more confident than ever and start planning a trip, even though it’s your first international trip.
Always remember that sometimes its possible that before completing all the steps you will realize that you will not be able to travel to that destination (due to budget/ visa rules/ safety factors/ not enough holidays/ unpleasant weather/ other factors), but don’t feel bad as that’s the case with most of us. So just start again, but dealt you have enough knowledge and confidence now.
So here goes.
Select a destination you want to visit. This can be a tough one and for the most part its the toughest decision to make. Where to go? But once you have that figured out, the rest of the steps fall into place. Once you have selected a destination and country, the first thing you have to check and confirm is the Tourist Visa regulation. Check all the conditions and see if you full fill them. You can do so by visiting their embassy website and checking for info, calling them to reconfirm the same info, confirm processing time and costs involved. The embassy is the best place to check and confirm that information. Alternately you can also read about it online and check with some reputed tourist agencies that can do Visa processing for you. The benefit of a Visa Agent is that you do not have to do much of running around and they usually get the Visa done for you. However, all this is not cheap and comes at a price, so you are the best judge of the decision you take.
- The travel and travel budget. I am pretty sure by now you know how many days you have on your hand for travel. So you have to start figuring out two things, one is the mode of transport and the other is the budget for the local travel+stay.
- The first one can be done by checking the flights/ buses/ trains to that destination if Domestic. Only Flights if it’s International. Make use of multiple travel booking websites like Skyscanner, Momondo, Google Flights, Goibibo, Expedia, Cleartrip, etc. Just google “list of online flight booking websites” and you will have a ton at your disposal. Research the rates well to understand when are the cheap flights for onward as well as return journeys. This will take up most of your time as research is complicated and sometimes confusing. It’s possible that you may need to via a third destination to get cheaper flights. E.g. travel to Bali via Kuala Lumpur or Singapore for cheaper flight options. In any case, only a detailed search at that point will yield more info. It cannot be discussed now.
- Then search Booking/ Agoda etc websites to search for the daily accommodation costs. Multiply that by the number of days you are planning to stay. Never choose the cheapest option for planning, on average multiply the cheapest only by a factor of 2 and take that as the daily average. Never calculate less as hotel rates change every few hours and you do not want to be caught on the wrong side of planning.
- Research online for the local travel budget and also the cost of food. This is available online. For local travel, there are usually trains, buses or taxis available. Food can be had at local shops or in restaurants. Always add 50% to the costs as a figure of safety. You should never fall short of money when traveling.
- Research online for the places that can be visited during your stay. If you are traveling for 5 days, search for 3/4/5 day itineraries on google. Go through all the information and club all the information into a file. Check the cost of each attraction and how you can travel to those attractions. All this information is readily available online.
- For all the online research you do above, just remember to read the information posted in the last one year. Anything older than that must be considered outdated and should not be referred to.
All the above research actually completed 70% of your job, you just need to execute it. If everything falls into your plan and budget, then you can go ahead and start processing all the information. Start with Visa formalities and apply for one. Visa may require you to submit flight tickets as proof. If needed, book the cheap flights for your dates of travel and submit them along with all other papers to the embassy. Wait for the Visa. After you get your visa, start booking the hotels as per your budget and plans. You have the choice to pay in full using your cards or only reserve the booking and pay only when you reach the hotel. As your budget is already planned, arrange for Forex (the currency of the country you will be traveling to). You can search for local forex dealers in your town and country. Choose the cheapest one. You can opt for currency as well as forex card. Nowadays all Forex dealers deliver currency to your home even on the last day before your travel. So there is nothing to panic even if you are late. But even if you take a forex card always keep some currency in hand for an emergency.
Start buying and packing all the stuff that you need during the trip. Packing checklists are available online on google, just search. Use them to pack everything and not miss out anything. Ask your friends who have been traveling if you are missing out anything, they will give you the best advice.
This step is the most important and is the last one. Check and recheck all information with other travelers/ groups/ forums. Don’t get a false sense of confidence. Always ask 2-3 previous travelers and 2-3 people who are planning to travel. Discussion helps. Previous travelers will give you tips and experiences. New travelers will share itinerary and additional information.
That’s it. And you are ready to set off to explore the world. Happy Travels.
I feel this has been a good start to the Bali vlog series and with many more to come I am sure it will be an interesting read. Please stay tuned for more and share your feedback/ queries. Don’t feel shy to join in and write a few blogs for us and be featured on our website. Please do share this with your friends and family on Social Media. Cheers and happy travels.