This blogpost may contain affiliate links that, if you click on and you make a purchase, earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I will only ever recommend or promote products/services I love and feel are valuable to my audience. My opinions are my own and always honest. Read more in my affiliate disclaimer.
Every trip we make should be our dream trip. We have to get everything out of the trip, get to do everything we want and visit the places we would love to see. Preparation is key when you want to achieve this. I’m here to give you the best tips to plan your dream trip!
Sometimes the best trips we make are the unplanned ones. When you just get out of bed, get breakfast around the corner and just see what the day brings. I’m definitely someone who does not like to plan each day. I do like to have an idea of all the activities and fun places on the destination. This way, I can just go out and do whatever I want when I know what’s good in the area!
Step 1: Choose your destination
To start planning your trip, start thinking about your destination. Where would you like to go? When we are thinking about a trip, we usually have a destination in mind. Is it one destination or do you want to visit multiple cities or countries? What are your wishes? Are you looking for a relaxing holiday near the beach or an adventurous trip into the mountains? Or maybe both? Do you want to visit a warmer destination or a colder destination?
Read more: 10 Amazing Places To Visit Now!
Once you know what you want, it’s so much easier to narrow it down to a few specific destinations. The Mediterranean is amazing for relaxing, Bali is perfect for a combination of relaxing and adventure and New Zealand is great for an adventure! Another tip of mine is to think about what time of year you want to go. Some countries have different climates and rain season for example. Good to keep in mind!
Read more: Where To Get The Best Travel Inspiration
Step 2: What’s your budget?
Once you’ve narrowed down what you want: set a budget. Asia is great if you want to travel on a lower budget, Oceania is definitely more expensive and Europe is somewhere in between. It’s also good to dive into the package tours because they can be a lot cheaper in certain countries like Mexico.
Think about how much you want to spend on your accommodation. Are you thinking about a 5* hotel, a hostel or even couch surfing? If you want to save money on food: an apartment with a kitchen will be a lot cheaper. And it’s fun to cook your own meals!
The currency is also important to keep in mind! Some currencies are worth a lot more than others.
Step 3: Rewards!
Next it’s time to see if you can use any rewards! Some credit card companies give you points if you use the credit card a lot. This does not mean that you need to buy a lot of things you weren’t planning on. Just buy your daily groceries and other items that you were going to buy anyways.
It depends on the country and the credit card company if this “collecting points” is an option! Some airlines have a loyalty program which will give you discounts. Worth looking into!
Step 4: Airfare time
You know where you want to go. You know your budget. You have looked into possible rewards. Now it’s time to book that plane ticket. And this is where the actual fun stuff starts!
Booking an airline ticket can be so stressful but luckily: there are some sites like Skyscanner that will help you out. No need to Google about the “right time to book” because it’s different per destination and some external factors have influences on it as well. I do think it’s good to book as early as possible. These sites will give you a so called “price alarm” and alert you when the airfare is the cheapest or when it’s getting more expensive.
In my blog post “How To Find Cheap Flights” I have talked about the pro tips of booking an airfare on a budget. It will definitely save you money!
If there is a layover during your journey: it’s good to check the airport. See how much time you have and how far apart the terminals and gates are. It’s good to know what you’re getting into. You don’t want to unnecessary stress during your layover when there’s another option with loads of time! Some connecting cities are incredibly fun to spend a day or two in, like Singapore!
Step 5: Time to find a place to sleep
Whenever you’re traveling as a backpacker or when you’re visiting multiple countries in a row: you don’t want to book all of the accommodations ahead. It’s nice to have the opportunity to stay longer in a city if you love it. Think about the experience you want. Are you looking for meeting people and possibly making friends? A hostel is great. Do you want to be more adventurous? Go couch surfing!
It’s also much easier to find the right place to stay while you are on the destination if you know what you want. What will fit your needs. You don’t have to spend your precious travel time to find an accommodation.
Step 6: How will you get around?
How are you going to travel on the destination? Is there a subway or a ferry? Can you take the bus? Or are you going to rent a car and explore? I must admit: researching the local transportation is a pain in the ass. However, it is good to know what you’re in for. You don’t want to get on the airport, expecting to take the train to the city and finding out there’s no train at all. It will make you the most prepared if you do some research.
Google is your friend and there are lots of articles about local transportation on your destination! Read other peoples experiences and listen to their advice. They have already been there, might have struggled and learned about it. Don’t make the same mistakes they made! Let’s learn from each other this way.
Another pro of researching the local transportation is that you get insight of the geography. It gives you an idea of the distances and the travel time! This gives you the opportunity to plan out your days and activities on a reality based time.
Read more: What To Do On A Long Layover
Step 7: Money!
One very important step. What payment cards does the country accept? Do they accept Maestro or do you have to use a credit card? Are you going to pay mostly in cash? How are you going to collect your money? Are you going to use the ATM or get some money in advanced?
Furthermore, find out what the additional costs of your bank are when you collect money from the ATM. Some ways are less expensive or more expensive. And last but not least, make sure you are able to withdraw money in a foreign country. It’s also good to alert the bank of your travel plans. Just in case they think someone stole your card and is using it in a completely different country! It never bothers to give them a heads-up.
Step 8: What do you need to get into the country?
Now, this is one you should not forget. What are the rules about visiting the country? Make sure you apply for your visa at least one month before departure. Sometimes there is a delay and you don’t want to be stressing over your visa. Also make sure that your passport is valid while traveling to the country. It’s depends per country, but sometimes the passport needs to be valid up to 6 months on the day of arrival. Just check this so you have the time to re-new your passport! Some countries also require an international drivers license.
If you don’t have this already: get a travel insurance. Yes, it will cost you money. But you will be so happy to have this when something bad happens. If you get hurt (let’s hope not) or when your phone gets stolen: you can always rely on your travel insurance.
Also think about your medical prescriptions. Make sure to have enough of your medicine, get a proof of the medication you need in English and an international “passport” of your medicine. It’s best to read into the requirements of taking medicine into the country when you know the destination. Some countries are stricter than others!
Step 9: Stop stressing and have fun!
There’s so much more to think about besides these previous 8 steps. However, when you think about it: there is always more to keep in mind. It never stops. But you have the list of the most important things. Now it’s time to stop stressing and have fun. Enjoy the pre-travel feeling! Traveling is all about getting out of your comfort zone and enjoying your surroundings. With this planning: your trip is going to be more relaxed and you will already get the most out of your dream trip!
Step 10: Yay! All the official stuff is booked.
The trip is planned. Everything you need is settled. All the official routes have been taken and now it is time to start planning the actual dream trip!
I always think of this being part 1 of my dream trip planning. Part 2 is the most fun part where you actually get to read into activities, fun places, yummy restaurants and insiders tips. However, part 1 is definitely the most important part of planning your dream trip.
I’ll be back with a part 2. It will be full of tips to get the most out of your trip and how you can find the best restaurants, shops, cafés and sightseeing on your destination. Preferably thinking within a budget, of course! So stay tuned for that blog post in the future.
What is your best tip to use while planning your dream trip?