So you are ready to plan another trip – I know I certainly am – but you don’t know where to start?
You can save a lot of money researching and booking yourself, but sometimes it is also good to use a travel agent – for the main flights and accommodation anyway.
If you want to use a travel agent I suggest Flight Centre, they are great at organising everything, friendly and you can really do everything via email correspondence if you can’t make it there.
You have picked your destination, where do you begin?
- So start planning, get a notebook, make a note page on your phone or computer, whatever suits you best
- Before you book your appointment with a travel agent or start booking anything yourself, go to TripAdvisor and search the best places to go in that country, the things to do, the places to eat and the places to stay (you can even save them to your account)
- Then decide if you want to do a tour or on your own (tours including Contiki, Top Deck, Intrepid etc)
- Compare flights using Webjet (they also are good for counting in multiple flights)
- Use Trivago or Hotels.com to search the best accommodation, just so you have some fair idea
- Also, check if there are any travel expos coming up, you can get good deals at those
- Based on the cost of all the places you want to go, where you want to stay and all the rest then decide how long you will go for and your budget (if you have one)
- Research the country as much as you can, Lonely Planet has great information and Smart Traveller will give you tips and advice
- Please please research travel insurance, it is so so important – if you book with a travel agent they will help you but you can get better deals online or at Australia Post
- Now the fun part, booking the tours is all so much fun and you can find some great stuff on TripAdvisor and really research the best things to do in that particular country, you don’t want to get home and realised you missed something awesome
Now you have booked most of your trip, definitely leave some free time for spontaneous trips and adventures, it is time to enjoy the process of the build up to your journey!
But when it comes time, what do you need to organise last minute?
- Your transport to the airport, and leave enough time for traffic
- If you have a layover, ask in advance about the process once you get to your stop over, some can be different
- Tell your bank and anyone else that needs to know when you’re heading off and when you will return
- Pack for the right climate, but you don’t need 1000 outfits, you can wash in your hotel sink and you will definitely buy clothes HOT TIP: buy suitcase storage bags, they definitely help when travelling to make things look neat when they are a real mess
- Don’t forget that passport, buy a travel wallet so all your documentation is together
- Scan and print all your important documents and leave some copies at home
- If you are travelling with someone, communicate with your packing, you might end up bringing double of things you could share
- Pack a book or something for the flight, sometimes watching movies for 10 hours can be too much and don’t decide to buy one at the airport, that is expensive
- Get something to chew on for landing and take off, it will help big time
- Also buy a bottle of water before the plane, or bring an empty bottle to fill, sometimes you can wait a while to get a drink
- Pack your tooth brush in your carry on, take a spare pair of undies and some deodorant, when you have been flying you want to shower as soon as you get off, but sometimes it can be a while before you get to your hotel
- Don’t forget the plane ticket and departure photo so everyone knows your off on an amazing adventure
- Eat all the free meals and get loads of free drinks – well you pay for it after all
Most importantly remember, not everything works out as planned. I missed a flight from LA to Vegas and instead of having cocktails and gambling at midday on that day I was in a $300+ Uber trying to get to Vegas as soon as possible, it wasn’t really funny at the time but now all I can do is laugh!
Always trying to stay calm and remember “the things that go wrong often make the best memories”.
Be in the present moment whilst travelling, enjoy your time, take opportunities and always do the ‘fun’ thing!