Trip planning is an art, not a science. And although there's no prescription for crafting a masterpiece, follow these three steps and you'll be on your way to creating your perfect trip plan.
The perfect trip plan starts with the perfect destination. But here's the tricky part: no one place is perfect for everyone, and finding your perfect destination will involve some soul searching.
First, ask yourself a few questions: What do I want to do? How much time do I have? What is my travel budget? Whom will I travel with?
Even if your travel wish list resembles a Tolstoy novel, attacking each of these questions should relegate it to a legal pad.
If there's one destination on your shortlist that you've always dreamed about, the decision's a no-brainer. Still stuck? Choose a destination where you can enjoy your favorite cuisine, strike something off your bucket list, or learn a cool new skill.
With trip plans less is often more, and the best ones are never the most detailed, but the most flexible. Don't stress about the extraneous details at first; here's what matters most:
Of all the mortal enemies of the perfect travel plan, none is fiercer than over-planning. Following a breakneck-paced trip plan—dashing between cities and sights, leaving no time for exploration—spells disappointment even for the most agile travelers.
Instead of casting your travel plans in stone, sketch them. Avoid crafting overly ambitious itineraries that adhere to stressful daily schedules and involve more traveling than wandering. Rome wasn't built in a day, and you can't see it all in one either. So why not just relax and let the travel gods guide you?
Although booking everything—rooms, tours, and train/bus tickets—before setting off seems logical, you'll usually end up overpaying while sacrificing flexibility. Consider even finding accommodation, beyond your first few nights, on the fly. You'll open up a world of possibilities—homestays, apartments, guesthouses, and pensions—that you'd have never found before arriving.
What are your favorite tips for planning the perfect trip?
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
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A perfect storm of wandering wordsmith and travel photographer, Ryan O'Rourke lives and breathes travel. For the last decade, Ryan has roamed around the world, living in 4 different countries and visiting over 30 countries along the way with no signs of slowing down. Ryan's insatiable wanderlust inspired him to found Treksplorer where he now writes about his adventures and offers unconventional travel planning, language learning, and travel photography tips for independent travellers.
When not out and about, Ryan calls Northern Ontario home, and enjoys basking in the great Canadian outdoors and lazily chilling by the campfire with an acoustic guitar. Follow Ryan on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest.
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