7 Travel Planning Tips You Need to Know

In the wake of the pandemic, the travel industry is finally starting to flourish again. According to the United Nations, international tourism is set to jump back to pre-pandemic levels as of 2024.

In other words, if you’re diving into travel planning, you’re far from alone! With tourism booming worldwide, there’s never been a better time to start planning your next adventure. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or it’s been years since your last trip, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

1. Find a Travel Style Guide

If you don’t have much experience planning vacations, look around for inspiration.

Checking the YouTube videos, blogs, and social media posts of travel gurus and influencers can help you find vacation ideas.

Even better, these experts often provide guides that break down their best travel strategies. If you like the types of things they do on their trips, getting a sneak peek behind the scenes at the booking experience may help you recreate the trip for yourself. From a backpacker’s tips on packing their bag to a luxury traveler’s advice on finding the right resort, you’ll find a wealth of advice to incorporate into your adventure.

If you don’t often follow travel experts, think about whether or not you know any frequent travelers! The coworker who takes a ton of business trips, the friend who enjoys weekend getaways, or the relative who posts pictures of luxury destinations might have great planning tips for you. Reach out to see if they have any advice on booking the type of adventure you want.

2. Schedule Planning Time

It’s easy to let your departure day sneak up on you by accident.

To keep procrastination or your busy life from getting in the way, block off time on your calendar to plan your vacation. Scheduling these blocks several weeks or months in advance is a great way to make the most of your prep time. Don’t hesitate to also schedule reminders on your phone to notify you of the best times to start looking for flights, apply for a visa, or notify your bank of an international trip.

3. Make Group Lists

Traveling with a group can get complicated fast.

Make things easier by keeping important (but non-sensitive) travel information in the cloud. Packing lists, pre-flight checklists, and itineraries are easy to share as documents. Saved map pins are also great ways to ensure that everyone can get around.

To take things to the next level, try travel apps like Prava or TripIt to organize your plans. Finance apps like Splitwise even make it easy to figure out who owes whom as you manage group expenses.

4. Time Your Trip

Timing is everything when booking a trip. If you can be flexible with your travel dates, you’re likely to find a wealth of savings opportunities.

This is especially crucial when booking your flights. Tools like Skyscanner and Google Flights can help you see which days you’re likely to save money, often up to several hundred dollars, on your adventure.

As you consider your dates, look into the off-season and shoulder season for the area where you’re headed, as different areas will have different low points. During these periods, you’re likely to find special deals, discounts, and even packages or bundles to help you save more money.

With enough research and a bit of luck, you might even be able to get into high-end experiences you wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford! Some luxury accommodation options, like the Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel, even offer secret deals with no hidden fees to help you stretch your dollar even further.

5. Add a Buffer to Your Budget

Calculating your budget in advance should be a no-brainer when you’re planning a trip. This allows you to figure out how much you can spend on each portion of your travels, from the flight to your daily activities.

However, always make sure to add a buffer in case of emergency. Set aside anywhere from a hundred to a few hundred dollars as a “just in case” fund. This can help you get through an unforeseen crisis or splurge on an amazing last-minute opportunity if needed.

6. Stay on Top of Local News

There are few things worse than reaching your destination and getting blindsided by a coming storm, a crowded international festival, or striking workers.

As you prepare, don’t forget to keep an eye on what’s happening where you’re headed. Even if you won’t have the chance to reroute your plans, you’ll be better poised to work around local events if you know what to expect!

7. Don’t Plan Everything

One of the best planning tips is to stop planning so much.

A common mistake is to create an itinerary that lists what you’re doing every minute of every day. However, this can be a recipe for disaster!

If you’re feeling sick or your tour gets delayed, you may not be able to see your plans through. You might stumble across a restaurant you’d much rather eat at than the one whose table you reserved. Worse, you might start feeling exhausted without an opportunity for downtime in your busy schedule.

Instead, you should try one of two strategies. First, try planning a single thing you’d like to do for each day of your trip, such as a tour or excursion, and letting yourself decide what else you’d like to do on the fly. Second, try creating an itinerary with a few options of things you’d like to do each day, allowing your group to choose what to do next.

This is especially true with meal planning. It’s often hard to figure out how hungry you’ll be at what time, especially because you’ll likely be more active than usual. Don’t make reservations unless you’re sure!

Maximize Your Travel Planning

Whether you’re backpacking around the world or heading to a boutique hotel, the vacation tips above are great ways to make the most of your travel planning. Make sure to start researching well in advance to better stretch your budget and find the right deals on adventures you’ll love!

As you start preparing for departure, don’t hesitate to check out our other posts for additional tips and guides.

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