18 easy steps FOR planning YOUR next trip

18 easy steps FOR planning YOUR next trip

Last Updated: 4/17/22 | April 17th, 2022

I remember when I started planning my first trip around the world. I had no idea what I was doing.

When I chose to quit my job and travel the world, I walked into a bookstore and purchased Lonely Planet’s Southeast Asia on Shoestring. purchasing that guidebook was my first step toward long-term travel. It made the trip seem much more real, much more tangible. It made it all seem possible.

While helpful, the book didn’t exactly prepare me for planning a trip around the world. Back then, there weren’t really travel blogs, sharing economy websites, and apps like there are today. I was thrilled and identified — but I was lost. I had to figure it out as I went, hoping I didn’t miss anything important.

Trip planning can be a daunting task. Where do you begin? What’s step one? What’s step two? What’s step three?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially when you haven’t done something like this before — and especially considering just how much information there is out there these days. Blogs, social media, and guidebooks have never been much more plentiful. There’s a firehose of information out there that can in some cases make the task of planning a trip even much more challenging and overwhelming.

After a decade of traveling the world, I’ve planned numerous trips and getaways for myself, friends, family, and even group tours. In the beginning, it was trial by fire and I learned a lot of lessons the hard way. However, that helped me develop an efficient checklist that guarantees I don’t miss anything essential during the trip planning process.

After all, I don’t want to get to my next destination and then realize I forgot something. and neither do you!

There is a lot of information on this site (and even much more information packed into my book), but one question that comes up frequently is, “Matt, how do I put this all together? how do I plan a trip?”

In a continuing effort to help you get out the door and into the world, I’ve created this step-by-step guide on how to plan a trip. It works for any kind of trip and no matter how long you’re going for! just follow this checklist and you’ll be off in no time!

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Step 1: decide Where You want To Go
Step 2: decide the length of Your Trip
Step 3: will you travel Solo?
Step 4: research Your Costs
Step 5: start saving Money
Step 6: get a travels rewards credit report Card
Step 7: switch to No-Fee ATM Cards
Step 8: stay Focused and Inspired
Step 9: check for last-minute Deals
Step 10: book Your Flight
Step 11: book Your Accommodation
Step 12: plan Your Activities
Step 13: sell Your Stuff
Step 14: Automate Your Bills
Step 15: tell Your Card companies You’re Traveling
Step 16: Pack!
Step 17: purchase travel Insurance
Step 18: delight in Your Trip

If you want to jump ahead, simply click on any of the links above.

Step 1: decide Where You want To Go

Defining where you want to go sets a goal to work toward. A lot of people talk vaguely about travel. They never say where they are going, just that they are going. picking a destination is immensely important, as it gives you a certain goal.

It’s a lot simpler to mentally get behind “I am going to Paris in the summer” than “I’m going to Europe” or “I’m going somewhere.” Not only will your trip become much more concrete for you and simpler to commit to, but it will make planning simpler as well…because you know what to work towards. get particular with your plans. get detailed. The much more focused and concrete your goal, the simpler it will be to actually reach it.

Resources for picking your travel destination:

200+ extensive Destination Guides

10 Destinations Under $30 Per Day

10 Destinations to visit When You’re a budget Traveler

The best tropical Islands in the World

Step 2: decide the length of Your Trip

How much does it cost to travel? That depends!

Without knowing how long you’re going away for, I can’t answer that question. and it’s a question you need to answer so you can start planning!

In purchase to figure out how much you need to save you’ll need to know how long your trip will be.

Are you going away for a week? A month? एक वर्ष?

The length of your trip is a huge element in identifying how much money you need. spend some time mulling that over until you have your answer.

For example, after you say “I’m going to Paris this summer,” add “for X days.” That way you can start to narrow down just how much money you’re going to need to save. “I am going to Paris for 10 days” is a trip that you can plan for. It’s an attainable goal.

Step 3: will You travel Solo or choose Someone?

One of the most significant decisions you’ll need to make is whether you’re going to go alone or travel with someone. Both are great options — but they are decidedly different choices too.

Traveling solo gives you the freedom to go anywhere you want. No compromising. You just go wherever the wind takes you! However, it implies you have to do all the planning yourself — which can seem daunting if you’re new to trip planning.

Traveling with someone implies you have someone to help plan the trip with you. It will make researching your schedule faster and you’ll have someone to spend time with on the road. However, it also implies you’ll need to compromise sometimes. possibly on meals or activities or accommodation. It will just depend on you and the person you travel with.

At the end of the day, there is no wrong answer.

Personally, I love the freedom of solo travel. but I’ve had some amazing trips with friends too. chances are you’ll get to do both over the years. but for now, what is this trip going to be? Solo or with someone?

Step 4: research Your Costs

So you know where you’re going and how long you’ll be there, but to really nail down how much money you need, your next task is to research the costs in your destination at the style of travel you want.

Do you want to backpack, or would you rather stay in luxury hotels?

How much are hostels, hotels, restaurants, and attractions?

Knowing will allow you to estimate how much money you’ll need for your trip. here is how to research costs:

Buy a guidebook.

Check out my travel guide section.

Google prices for particular things you want to do, such as scuba diving, bungy jumping, winery tours, etc.

You don’t need to do much more than that. There’s so much information on the web that if you go down the rabbit hole of overplanning, you’ll get lost and confused by the firehose of information. stick to those four things and you’ll be set!

In our example, if you are going to Paris for 10 days and need at least $75 USD a day (not including your flight), you know you need to save $750 USD (though round up to $800 USD because it’s good to have extra) for your trip.

If you were to travel around the world for a year, you’d need $50 USD a day.

Here are some other insightful messages that will help you better estimate your costs:

5 ways to Make Your money Last When You Travel

How to know the travel info You find is Legit

How I research My Solo travel Destinations

Step 5: start saving Money

Before you can start saving money, you need to know how much you have and how much you’re spending. start to write down all your current expenses so you can identify where you are spending money — and how you can cut back.

People bleed a lot of money every day through small purchases: a coffee here, a snack there. all of that adds up. In purchase to make changes to your spending habits, you first need to understand them. Making a list will do just that. It will also put your financial needs into a better perspective.

For example, if you need $2,000 USD for the trip you’re taking in eight months, that implies you only have to save $8.33 USD per day. Couldn’t you find a way to save $8 USD per day? Heck, your daily coffee is many of that!

If you’re struggling to save money, here are 23 ways to cut your expenses and save money for travel. This will help you get started and on the road to saving money in no time!

Step 6: get a travels rewards credit report Card

While you’re working to save money, get a travel credit report card so you can earn sign-up bonuses to redeem miles and points for totally free flights and hotel stays. Collecting points and miles from travel credit report cards is how I get tons of totally free flights, totally free hotel stays, and totally free travel perks every single year — and without any extra spending too!

These days, many cards have welcome provides of up to 50,000 points when you meet their minimum spending requirement. That’s enough miles for a totally free flight practically anywhere in the world!

If you want a totally free flight, sign up for the cards that help with that. If you want totally free hotel rooms, get a hotel card. Either way, sign up for a travel credit report card and start earning points today. As long as you can pay off your monthly balance, you’ll get totally free travel credit.

You don’t need to sign up for very numerous cards either; pick one or two and focus on those. Do this the moment you decide you want to travel. Don’t wait — waiting equals lost miles, which implies less totally free travel.

Collecting points and miles (which is called “travel hacking”) is what all the experts do to cut their costs and travel longer. It’s what has kept my costs down and me on the road for so numerous years. While the best cards are only available in the US, there are still plenty of options for Canadians as well as folks from Europe, Australia, and new Zealand.

For much more information on travel hacking and travel credit report cards, check out these posts:

Travel Hacking 101: A Beginner’s Guide

How to pick the best travel credit report Card

How I earn 1 Million frequent Flier Miles Every Year

The best travel credit report Cards

The supreme guide to travel Hacking

How to Be a travel Hacker in CanadaStep 7: switch to No-Fee ATM Cards

Once you’re abroad, you;re going to need money. While numerous countries will accept credit report cards, in the majority of countries cash is still king. That implies you’ll need to use ATMs to withdraw the local currency. and that also implies you’re going to get dinged by ATM fees.

If you’re just away for a week or two, paying a few dollars in ATM fees isn’t the end of the world. but if you’re away for a longer period, those fees will add up and chew into your travel budget — a budget you’ve worked hard to grow. Don’t give banks any of your hard-earned money.

How? By using a no-fee ATM card.

I use Charles Schwab, but there are lots of other banks (don’t forget to check your local banks) that don’t charge ATM fees. Additionally, you can join a bank in the global ATM Alliance.

By using a no-fee ATM card you can avoid those pesky ATM fees, leaving you much more money for what it was intended for: travel

Here’s exactly how you can avoid ATM fees while traveling.

Step 8: stay Focused and Inspired

While you get closer to your goal, make sure that you keep feeding your desire to travel. travel planning can be exhausting and overwhelming — especially if you don’t have support from your friends and family (and especially if your trip is still months away). It can often get discouraging and feel out of reach at times.

Luckily, there are tons of ways to stay focused and keep your spirits high thanks to the amazing community we have on this website. here are some inspiring travel stories to help keep you inspired to travel:

Why It’s never the ideal Time to Travel

13 travel books that will give You Serious

How Michael saved $14k in Six Months

Why a 50-Year-Old couple sold it all to travel the World

How to change the “I’m too poor to Travel” Mindset and say yes to Travel

8 ways to stay motivated to Travel

Additionally, be sure to join our online travel community The Nomadic Network. Not only will you find support (and tons of tips) online, but we also host regular in-person and virtual events all around the world. These are a great way to get inspired, meet other awesome travelers in your area, and get travel advice.

Step 9: check for last-minute Deals

Okay, you’re inspired, prepared, and on your way to saving money for your trip. but before you go purchase that flight or book that hotel, check for deals you might have missed. You may dream of Paris but maybe there are great deals to Berlin best now. Or maybe you can get a seven-day cruise for 70% off, a package deal to Hawaii for the price of your flight to Paris, or 50% off sailing trips around Greece.

These days, there is always a deal to be found — especially if you’re flexible with your dates and/or destinations. Some deal sites worth checking out are:

Scott’s cheap Flights

The flight Deal

Holiday Pirates

Step 10: book Your Flight

After you’ve used your travel credit report card and received your sign-up bonus, use your miles to book your flight. It is harder to use miles these days due to less availability, so make sure to book early to guarantee you get your desired flight.

Fortunately, there are still numerous ways to avoid being the person on the flight who paid the most for their ticket. My favorite sites for finding cheap airfare are:

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is the best site for searching multiple destinations at the same time.

Google Flights – like Skyscanner, Google Flights is great for open searches to multiple destinations.

Kiwi – Kiwi is great for finding lesser-known routes or smaller carriers.

AirTreks – AirTreks focuses exclusively on multi-destination RTW tickets.

For the best deals, book your flight about two-three months in advance. here are two articles on how to score a cheap flight:

How to find cheap Flights

Booking Flights: everything You need to Know

Step 11: book Your Accommodation

If you’re traveling for under two weeks and have a set schedule, feel totally free to book accommodation for the duration of your trip if it will give you peace of mind (or if you’re going to dur

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