5 Step Travel Planning Guide
This 5 step travel planning guide is a good way to roughly plan your travel itinerary. It is based on my personal methods of travel planning and will give you a good idea of things you want to do and in what order to do them whilst still leaving room for flexibility whilst you travel.
It is a rough travel planning guide because I have found that planning in detail too early on ends up being a waste of time.
Many things can/do happen which will change them, both in and out of your control.
Sometimes you just need to do things on a whim and you always learn about awesome stuff you want to see/do while in-country.
This travel planning guide assumes you already know your budget, where you want to go, and how much time you have for your trip.
5 Step Travel Planning Guide
1. Check About Visas
Step one of this 5 step travel planning guide is to see if you need a visa, and if so, what you need to get it (time, money, procedures, etc.). Also, knowing how long it will last and how you can extend it (if needed) is very useful information.
Also check if you need to show proof of exit, i.e., a ticket out of the country.
2. Plot Your “Must See’s” on Google Maps.
My “must see’s” are the items on my bucket list.
For those of you that need ideas check out step three.
Plot them on Google Maps.
Tip: I like to have only one or two must-see items for each week I will be in the country. Any more than that and I feel too rushed. Of course, this is all relative to the size of the country and how close the items are to each-other.
3. Research Other Things to See
Get a copy of lonely planet and look at the top experiences for the country. You can also flick through and look at the “must see/don’t miss” items they mention.
Anything that peaks your interest plot on the map. Give them one of two categories.
- Must see’s. Add them to you list of must see items and plot them on the map.
- See if on the way. These are item that you would like to see if they happen to be along your intended travel route. Plot them on the map also but use a different color so if you are short on time and/or money you know you can skip them.
WikiTravel.org is also a good source and/or just do a general google search.
4. Decide Your Travel Route
Choose your entry and exit points and then just go from one to the other via all the things on your map in a logical manner, i.e., minimising back-tracking.
Entry and exit points depend on the actual ability to enter or exit (border control) as well as where you are coming from and going to next, such as where it is cheapest to fly into, or where your boat ports, etc.
5. Decide Possible Stopping Points
This depends highly on how much time you have and your ability / want to actually travel, i.e., be on a vehicle. Use your “see on the way” places.
Personally, I don’t like to be on a vehicle for more than a few hours, so if time permits I choose places between my destinations to stop and have a look at. This also means I am not just rushing through anywhere without actually experiencing the place. For me it is true that the journey is often better than the destination.
If you are a long term traveler them you may even want to have a break from traveling and just live somewhere for a while.
Remember that these are only “possible” stopping points. Stay flexible because you’ll probably end up changing your plans anyway.
Well that’s it for this 5 step travel planning guide. Everything else, such as how to get to specific places, entry costs, tours, accommodation, etc. is researched closer to the date of travel or on the way.
What travel planning steps do you have? Let us know them (or anything else you want to say) in the comments 😀 .