I am a planner. I love planning every detail of my life; especially trips. I spend hours poring through travel blogs, listicles and Lonely Planet guides, before I step out with my backpack.
But travel planning for most people can be a daunting task. Where do I begin? Where do I go? What should step one be? And step two? It can get immensely stressful. More so if you’re planning it for two or more people.
I have planned countless trips for myself (and also, for friends and family), and I have managed to build a fairly efficient checklist so that I don’t miss out on anything once I reach there.
Want to know how I start?
What do I want to do?
The one thing I learnt very early is that I like to take things slow, especially travel. By that I mean, I prefer not to hurry and see all of everything in a week, but rather savour every day, even if that means I do little to nothing.
On the other hand, there are people who like to make the most of the one holiday they have. There is nothing wrong with that. Just be honest with yourself, because that is the only way you’re really going to enjoy.
What do I like more?
I love the mountains. Well, obviously! So, most of my trips are planned around the Himalayas. I like beaches, but I am pretty scared of water, so if I do end up going to a coastal town, I make sure I spend most of my time hanging out at eateries and talking to locals about their life.
Decide what you like best, and then head out.
What’s my budget?
This is most important! Unless you have pooled all your life-savings for this one trip, you cannot afford that fancy penthouse suite. What I have learnt is that travelling slow helps my money last longer. This is because I usually end up looking for cheaper places to eat and stay, mostly AirBnB that offers discounts on week-long stays.
But if you are the kind of person who likes luxury over everything else, and would choose a spa over a wildlife safari, plan early so you have enough cash to splurge.
Am I travelling alone or with people?
This has to be the most stressful bit about planning trips. You have to consider what each one of you wants to do. One might want to go to that museum, the other to that fancy club, or if you are someone like me, you will want to wake up really early, and take a hike to the nearest hill just so you can get the best view of sunrise.
Talk to everyone and get them involved. Know that you will have to make a few sacrifices, but it will be worth the time and effort. After all, you don’t want to end up fighting with your best friends on a vacation.
How do I want to travel?
I can ride a camel, if that is what it required to reach where I want. But obviously, not everyone would. I have friends who have severe vertigo issues so, they cannot do treacherous mountain journeys. Then there are some who only like driving to their destination.
So, ask yourself if you’d be ready to pop some pills and control your nausea for that trip to snow-capped peaks? Or if spending hours on a train journey that you hate is worth that picturesque sunset on the beach? If you want to hire a driver, then you have more freedom about where you go and when. All of this can impact how much time you get to spend in places.
And finally, it’s okay to change some plans.
So what if you fell in love with a coffee house and decided to skip the next destination? So what if you skipped pub-hopping in an unknown city because you were scared? It is your trip. Everyone else’s opinion means nothing. When you leave somewhere too early and regret it, you also end up not liking the next place as much. So, do what you want.
So, how do you plan your travels?