Planning for a free and easy trip is lots of work, but I enjoy planning for every trips. In fact, I always feel that it is through the planning that I learn more about the country, the culture and the history of each attraction.
1. Research on the Attraction in the Destinated Country
My first step in the planning process is to read up as much as I can on the various attraction in the country I wanted to visit. I will look up in the guide books, the internet and from friends. I like to look for some unique places within the country as well, not only the usual, must-go touristy places.
2. Research on the Food and Restaurants
Besides looking for attraction, I will also look for what are the must-eat food or restaurants. I like to find a restaurant to pamper myself during the trip too.
3. Research on Accommodation
This is as important. I will need to find out where and which hotel to live in during the trip. I like reading several reviews to get a general feel for the place as some of the reviews might be a little bias or extremes. Of course, asking friends for their recommendation or suggestion is another useful way.
4. Research on the Transport
Reading up on the transportation, finding my way to the attractions and restaurants are also part of my research. I will find out on how to get there for every attractions and places that I found.
5. Document my Findings
One thing which I adopted from my project management and implementation of ERP projects is on documentation. The homework that I have done on the research for attraction and food, these will be documented in an Excel spreadsheet. I have a template for it which I will re-use it for planning every trip.
The various links that I found it useful will also be documented in the file. I personally feel that this is very useful, especially, at times, when you have to re-visit the place a few years later. I am sure I will not remember most of my findings. I could re-use it. Of course, I will still do some home to validate the documentation or who knows, I may find new gems.
Another useful point for the document are to share it will my friends. I have shared my document for the Tokyo, Dubai and Hong Kong document with some of friends previously.
6. Start Deciding on Where to Go
I can’t be doing research forever, at some point of time, I will need to start deciding on where to go. I will take my pick, depending on my preference and the preferences of whoever is tagging along.
7. Looking at the Map
One of the task which I feel is important is to look up the map and to find out the location. This is to facilitate the planning process. Then I will be able to group the attractions together.
8. Plan the Timeline
Now, it is time to start putting together a travel itinerary with detailed information. I have an Excel template for this as well. I will need to know which day do I want to visit which attraction. The time I estimated to spend at the attraction and getting there. I will list down on how to get there as well. With all these details, it doesn’t mean that my plan is here to stay and without changes. No. That’s not true. I will need to adjust as and when in my plan, I will put in some buffer time in between and especially during meal time. Meal time are somewhat flexible for me. I can take a longer lunch if I see that I have sufficient time, otherwise, will have to shorten my lunch.
9. Discuss with My Travel-mate
Once my itinerary is more or less firmed, I will discuss with my travel-mates. And maybe more changes to be made. That really depends. 🙂 Rework the itinerary if I needed to.
10. Make Reservation for Accommodation and Flight
Finally, making the reservation for the accommodation and flight is the major milestone for the trip. At times, even up to this stage, you may be surprised that changes might occur.
I remember during my London trip last year, I didn’t know the exact date of departure until 3 days before we are going to depart. As my cousin who is going over to London for study, is pending for his Visa. No Visa, No Travel. I need to change our departure date and accommodation check-in date. That was nerve-wrecking.
11. The D-DAY
After the long hard work, the D-Day arrived. Jet off and enjoy the trip.
That’s how my planning process is like, share with me your tips that work best for you. You can leave your tips via the form below. I am excited to hear from you.
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