Planning A Free and Easy Trip

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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When Travelling With Chronic Disease

For people with chronic disease, you will have to take extra precautions when it comes to travelling. Of course, it will also depend on your severity. As I am asthmatic, there are certain things that I will do pre-travel, things that I will pack and points to watch out while travelling.

1. Pre-Travel Medical Check-up

It is important for travellers to get a medical check with their doctors before travelling; to ensure that they are in pink of health for travel. You may need vaccination for certain countries you going to. Ask your doctor for any special instruction that you need to adhere to while travelling.

Whenever I need to travel, I will visit my Respiratory Physician about five to seven days before I travel. Firstly, I want my Respiratory Physician to confirm that I am fit for travel; my asthma is well controlled.

Secondly is to take some preventive measures. I would be given a steroid jab to help my asthma to be within the control range. I will also be prescribed with some steroid, prednisolone, for standby, in case my asthma flare-up during travelling. At times, if I am travelling to region with high risk of flu, I am also given some flu preventive medication like Relenza. Relenza is a dry powder inhaler to be inhaled twice a day. There are times when I am given some antibiotics for standby as well.

2. Packing Medication and other Necessary Stuff into my Luggage

It is important for the chronic disease patient to take their medication regularly even if they feel well. The patient must ensure that they pack all required medication with more than enough for the trip. If you need to take certain measurement, do pack medical equipment along.

I will pack more than enough of medication for the trip, at least about five to seven days more of supply. Without failed, I will have a few days of medication in my hand-luggage, in case the check-in luggage got delayed. Or, in case, I have an attack on the plane. I will pack some surgical and N95 masks, to protect myself against pollution or a ill passenger beside me on the plane or train.

3. Find out A Clinic and Hospital in the City   I Travelling To

It is good to have a clinic and/or hospital address on standby. Just for standby.

4. While on the Plane, Take Some Precautions

For some who are taking medication that may clot the blood would need to exercise often, especially on a long haul flight. This is to prevent Deep Veins Thrombosis (DVT). DVT is a fatal condition. A blood clot may form in the leg and the clot may travel to the lung and cause the lung to collapse and result in death.

And of course, I will put on a mask when there is / are sick passenger(s).

5. Take Medication as Instructed by Doctor While Travelling

During the trip, remember to take the medication, don’t miss any dose. If needed, take the preventive or standby medication per your doctor instruction.

6. Take Good Care of Yourself

Watch your diet, beware of the trigger. Monitor your symptoms and signs. Take regular measurement if necessary.

 

Don’t let your chronic disease dampen your travel spirit and it should not prevent you from travelling. Take good care of yourself during the trip and enjoy the trip.

Stuff I Never Packed When I Travel

As I am petite in size so managing a huge luggage pose a challenge for me and moreover, you would very likely not use them during your trip.

 

1. Too Much Clothes 

This is a common deed for many as they will always worry about not enough; will they accidentally soiled their clothes during the trip. Both my mom and aunt will always lament at the end of the trip that they did not wear those clothes, but they never learn to bring one less at each trip.

My habit is always to bring clothes that I could mix and match. So how much is enough, I suppose it depends on many factors such as where are you going, the purpose of the trip, the activities you are carrying out and not forgetting the weather. The whole idea is you need not worry about not enough. As along as you have two or three sets of clothes, you could always laundry them and wear again. And through experience after two or three trips, you will be able to gauge how much clothes you need to pack. Then at the next trip, if needed, pack one or two less of clothes.

2. Technologhy Gadgets

Technology gadgets are bulky and heavy. Gadgets are energy consuming, you will probably be busy charging them in the hotel after a long tire day out. All I need is a smartphone. Smartphone is very powerful, I can do all things with it; taking photos, keep connected through the internet, through calls, messaging, loading photos to FB, tweet so that your followers can follow you, an most importantly, it contains map and I could use it to navigate my way. The other gauge I will bring along is a good digital camera as I like to share my photos with my friends.

3. Tons of toiletries

This is mainly a lady thing. Guys don’t usually does this.

When travelling, in fact, most hotels provide basic toiletries but some may argue that the toiletries provided by the hotels is of inferior quality. If you really need to bring, bring only the top necessities and only the portion requested for the period of the trip. For me, my top toiletries are my dandruff shampoo and shower cream for sensitive skin.

4. Instant Noodles and Favourite Snacks

I never pack instant noodles or my favourite snacks. When in a new city, or a new place, I want to try as many local food and snacks. I will never need the instant noodles and my usual favourite snacks.

5. Several Pairs of Shoes

When travelling, all you need is a pair of good walking shoes and maybe a pair of sandals for use in hotel room.

6. Own Pillows, Bolsters and Blankets

This may sound strange. I have colleagues who will bring along their own pillows. They couldn’t get to sleep without them. I am not kidding. It’s true.

7. Large Makeup Kits

Like the toiletries, if you want to look photogenic on the pictures taken, bring only the basic necessities. I understand the important to look your best in front of the camera but there’s no reason why you need to bring an entire suitcase unless you are there for a fashion work-related trip.

My objective when packing is to ensure I have at least half the luggage empty, so that I could make space for my loots.

 

Online Hotel Booking Websites, The best and the worst.

I am a fan of free and easy travelling. I enjoy planning my own itinerary; booking my own hotels and rail transport and everything else that is needed to go on a free and easy trip. It also means I need to decide how I want to make the booking and through which channel or website. Lots of work to be done; lots of research to be done, nevertheless, I enjoy it.

Let’s examine on one of the components which is online hotel booking site. Continue reading Online Hotel Booking Websites, The best and the worst.