I consider myself a traveller and not a tourist. I like to explore, go off the main tracks, stay with the locals and wander around in places almost no people have been. It’s so exiting to discover new places and not knowing where you will stay or go. This is ultimate freedom and it feels great!
Altough I like to be surprised and not plan everything ahead, I get the most out of my travels if I do a bit of smart planning and reading. This is actually really fun to do and doesn’t feel like planning at all.
If you’re going to an all-inclusive resort there isn’t much planning to do, but if you like a trip of four weeks to Vietnam for example, it’s best to do some planning. Sure, you can book these trips online or at a travelagency but what’s the fun in that? Plan your own trip and you are free to do whatever you like, change your schedule along the way or stay longer than you intended.
Where to start?
It’s important to know what you’re looking for in a holiday. Do you want to visit cultural places? Do you like an more active vacation, more relaxing or a combination of those two? Keep this in mind while choosing 2 or 3 countries that you like. I like to have nice beaches with good divingspots, no crowds, a nice warm temperature and beautiful nature/animals in the area.
Oké, so you got your perfect holiday in mind, then let’s have a look at your budget. You can make this as crazy as you want but in general the highest costs are for your flight, accommodation and excursions.
Look up the average flightcost for your destination on comparison sites. Prices for accommodation I usually check via Booking.com.
Schedule and route
At this point you have a destination and an idea of the costs. If this still fits in your plan, it’s time to look up some background information on this destination like climate, places of interest, local transport and activities. You can buy a travelbook or just browse the internet. Plan a global route that you want to do and write down the places you definately want to stay.
Now it’s time to plan your trip! When I go backpacking, I usually only book the main flight and the first 2 nights of accommodation. Accommodation is easy to book, same as transport and this gives you the freedom while travelling. If you don’t feel comfortable travelling like this, you can also book your accommodation ahead. Please keep the seasons in mind while doing this, as it’s much more busy in the high season. Most of the time you can cancel your accommodation for free 1 day before arrival, so you still can change your plans while booking ahead.
How did your planning go? And how was your trip that you planned by yourself? Sometimes things don’t work out as you planned them, but no worries, this is part of the experience. Enjoy!