I love planning trips. I make lists of all of the things I want to do, plan the outfits I’m going to wear, and look up what souvenirs are special in the country I’m visiting. The anticipation and buildup that comes from planning makes me so excited when it’s actually time for my trip.
Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t plot out an entire itinerary with every moment planned. I still like to make sure every trip is open to spontaneity, but planning ahead is a valuable use of your pre-trip time.
1. Check the Weather
Image via Flickr by SarathKuchi
Before you can start planning what activities you’re going to do on your trip, you’ll want to know what the weather will be like.
I like to use websites like Travel Weather to see what the weather is usually like during the time I’m visiting. There’s nothing worse than booking flights only to realize you’re heading on a beach vacation during the rainy season. Before booking anything, consult your preferred travel agent or service to double-check when the best times are to visit your destination of choice.
2. Book Your Flights
Once you know exactly what the weather will be like, you should book your flights. In my experience, the best time to book an international flight tends to be five to eight months in advance. I’m not that great at planning that far ahead, unfortunately, but when I know I’m going on a big international trip, I will always start looking at flights at least eight months in advance. Plus, the prices are so much cheaper then.
3. Book Your Hotel
Image via Flickr by Bert Kaufmann
Once you know the dates of your trip, start looking at different types of accommodations. Whether you want to rent an apartment or stay in a plush boutique hotel, you’ll want to book in advance so that you get the best price and the place that you want most.
4. Get Travel Protection
Getting travel protection is so important before leaving for a trip. While I’ve been lucky enough to never have to use it, I never travel anywhere without travel protection.
If you’re hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, whether you’re traveling domestically or internationally, additional protection through MedjetAssist will arrange for medical transportation to the hospital of your choice in your home country.
5. Book Popular Tours
If you’re going on a trip to a popular destination or you’re traveling during peak periods, book those important tours before you leave. There’s nothing more frustrating than thinking you’ll be able to join a tour only to realize once you’re there that they’ve been booked for weeks. Do some research about what the norm is for your destination, speak to some tour companies or other bloggers who’ve been there, and see what they recommend.
Whether you’re off on a week-long trip to the Caribbean or a month of travel through South America, do your research, plan ahead, and don’t forget to leave some room to be spontaneous.