Plan several months ahead of time.
I typically like planning about 6 months ahead of time.
Especially if you plan on going to several countries for a couple of weeks, and it requires booking several modes of transportation and different accommodations. Planning ahead of time also helps with securing dates, as well as ensuring you don’t spend all your travelling funds in one go.
1. Research the countries you want to visit.
Use google maps.
It helps when the countries you want to visit are in the same continent and preferably close to one another so you can take a short plane, train or drive to the next destination.
2. Book your flights.
Flights are typically the most costly. When you book your flights first, it helps you get the most expensive item off the list right away, and gives you the ability to continue to save as you book everything else.
3. Book your accommodations.
This is typically the second biggest expense.
You should stay in each country for at least 2 days each. In this way, you get to really immerse yourself in that city and see all you can.
Ryan and I absolutely love using AirBnB’s. Although like most things, there are advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages: Since majority of these homes are owned by locals from the city, you get a true experience of what it really feels like to be part of that culture or community. Not only that, but since they are residents of that country, they have the best knowledge of where to eat or any activities that only the locals are familiar with.
Disadvantages: There are times when a host will cancel within a week or even 2 days prior to your arrival. Or, most hosts like to personally meet with you and provide you with the key to their home. This means communication between you and the host is key. *Pun intended*
4. Book your transportation.
Things are now starting to get cheaper. I typically use Onetravel to rent vehicles outside of North America, and its been so easy. If you’re going to a country that drives on the other side of the road, then make sure you opt for car insurance.
The last thing you want to do is get into an accident because a herd of sheep decided it had the right of way!
If you need to book a train in Europe, I used LOCO2. It’s an easy site to navigate around and secure your tickets, times and dates.
Make sure you PRINT your tickets. They always seem to want something to hold on to, as opposed to see anything digitally.
5. Document and organize everything
I found using the ‘Vacation Planner’ in excel was the best way for me to document all the information.
Otherwise, you can using something called Tripit which allows you to forward all your hotel, flight, car rental, and restaurant confirmation emails, and it automatically will transform all of that into a master itinerary.
I didn’t know about this then, but I’m definitely going to try it out moving forward.
That’s it! Have a great trip!