Updated on January 26, 2024 by Axel Hernborg

Axel Hernborg

Travelling is one of the most exciting activities a person can do in their life – it’s the best way to explore the world, try new things, discover new places, and develop as a person. However, some people are deterred from travelling to distant locations, and their holiday experiences are far from amazing. While there may be many reasons for that, one thing is certain – with travel planning, they can turn the whole thing around and have the best vacation of their lives.

The entire trip planning process involves a few steps and requires you to put some effort into it. Because of that, some people may be discouraged from travelling and thus, miss out on a lot in their lives. Travelling doesn’t have to be stressful or expensive; you just need to know how to organise it from start to finish.

Below, you’ll find great tips for planning a trip. These 8 steps are universal to both domestic and faraway destinations. Make sure you follow them while preparing for your next adventure!

1. Choose the Location

This step of the travel planning process is probably the most exciting – it’s when you let your imagination run free and think about all the places you want to visit. There are countless unique destinations to choose from, with fun activities, different attractions, and a plethora of views and sensations – all you have to do is decide which location you’d like to visit the most.

There are several factors you need to consider before making your final decision. You should also consider the amount of money you can spend on that trip, how long you want the getaway to be, and how you can get there. If you don’t like travelling by plane, you’ll probably have to choose a closer location within driving distance or on a train route.

Finally, you should consider if you want to organise your trip on your own, or if you would like travel agents to sort things out for you – you may want to choose the latter in the case of a long trip with many stops and layovers.

sunglasses on the map

2. Choose the Right Time

Most people decide to go on holiday when their schedule allows it, or when their children have school breaks. As such, they’re often forced to take some time off work during the peak of the season. However, if you want to have the best travel experience, you need to choose the right time for your holiday.

If you don’t want to go to a destination overflowing with tourists, check when the peak season is and plan your trip for different months. And if you dream about travelling to a more distant location without breaking the bank, be smart about it. First, you can fly mid-week – this way, you’ll be able to find cheap flights. Second, you should check out different airlines and their travel coupons. Many of them offer fantastic discount codes that will help you save money. Travelling doesn’t have to be expensive or unpleasant – you just need to know when to book your trip and where to look for the best deals.

3. Set Up a Budget

Many people believe that the more money you spend, the better your trip will be. It’s a common misconception because even the most expensive trips to multiple destinations can be disastrous. However, it doesn’t mean that you should be careless about money and go on an adventure without preparation, hoping for the best. During your holiday planning phase, you need to think about how much money you can spend on the trip and during the trip itself.

You should ask yourself these questions:

  • What kind of hotel do I want to book?
  • Where and when do I want to go?
  • Do I need travel or health insurance?
  • How will I get to my destination?
  • Which attractions do I want to see while I’m there?
  • Do I want to rent a car there?
  • What do I want to buy there?
  • Where do I want to eat?
  • Do I want to travel around, or should I stay in one place only?

It’s impossible to plan out every transaction. However, you should have a rough idea of how much money you’ll need for your trip and all the related activities. Without a travel budget, you risk having a terrible holiday experience. For example, you can splurge on flights and accommodation, but you won’t have enough funds to have fun while you’re there. Or, on the contrary, you can find the best deal and save money on flights and hotels, but other costs might be extremely high.

Also, you need to have a financial safety net. In case of an accident, you can end up in debt without international travel insurance. Such dramatic events don’t happen often, but they do happen. Many agencies offer cheap insurance deals that are worth looking into.

You can plan a trip and hope for the best, but you’ll have peace of mind if you have that additional layer of security travel insurance can give you.

4. Make a list of Must-See Places

You probably have some attractions in mind when you’ve decided on your destination. After all, something had to encourage you to choose a particular location. However, now’s the time to think about the details of your trip, i.e. what you want to see there and what you want to do. This is the time when you also need to look at entrance fees and transport costs. Maybe you’ll need a rental car, or maybe you’ll have to save some money for tickets to popular tourist attractions that are on your bucket list.

Whatever the case, make sure you figure out which activities and places are important to you. Then, look for coupons and discount codes – chances are you’ll find great deals that will grant you access to attractions at a very reasonable price. It’s an amazing solution for the whole family that helps everyone get the most out of the trip.

Eiffel tower

5. Book Flights

When it comes to travel costs, means of transport are one of the most significant contributing factors. You can decide to go in your private car and have a great trip nonetheless. However, if you think about going to more remote locations that are not accessible by car, your best bet is to take a plane.

If you don’t want to spend too much on plane tickets, book early. Flights tend to get more expensive closer to the departure date, on weekends, and during major holidays. Also, budget airlines offer cheaper tickets; if you want a better standard, you can book a seat with more legroom or choose other amenities offered by your airline. Ultimately, even last-minute trips don’t have to be expensive – you may find seasonal discount codes for tickets, car rental and parking, or buses, trains, and other means of transfer.

Pro tip: Before you leave, do your research on travel restrictions – maybe there are some in the area you want to visit. Also, don’t forget to check your documents – you must have a valid ID, passport, and (if needed) visa. Due to the global situation, some countries also require vaccination certificates. If you’re travelling with the whole family, make sure everyone has valid documents.


6. Book Accommodation

It’s better to book accommodation after your means of transport. How good will a hotel room be if it turns out there’s no way to get to your destination? Sometimes all the flights are booked, or the prices are obnoxiously high. However, after you manage to sort out how to get there, you can look for places to stay.

During this part of the travel planning process, you must pay attention to details. Research the area in your chosen city, distance to airports or train stations, public transportation, safety, and local attractions. Think about the places you can stay in; you can book a hotel room, a private room or an entire apartment via Airbnb or a similar platform, an entire house or a cabin for you and your family or friends, or other alternative solutions to hotels.

Keep in mind how much money you can spend on that, and how many people are going to travel with you – all these factors will impact your accommodation choice.

Finally, pay attention to check-in and check-out times, and plan your trip accordingly. Once again, book ahead to make sure you have a place to stay and get a great deal. You can also look for discount codes to save money.

7. Create Your Holiday Packing List

If you want to have stress-free holidays, you should be well-prepared for it and pack everything you might need. However, some people never know what’s necessary and what they can leave behind. If you’re one of them, don’t fret. Below, you’ll find a list of items you’ll have to take both on shorter and longer trips – feel free to print it out and use it as your pre-travel personal checklist. Also, adapt it to your needs – some items will come in handy for travels to warm countries, and some will be useful if you’re travelling to a destination in a cold climate.


  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Jeans
  • Dresses
  • Skirts
  • Shorts
  • Swimsuits
  • Sweaters
  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Coats
  • Sleepwear
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Hiking shoes
  • Slippers
  • Sandals
  • Belts
  • Jewellery


  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Hairbrush
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Sunscreen
  • Moisturiser
  • Lip balm
  • Contact lenses with contact solution
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Nail clippers
  • Makeup products
  • Makeup remover
  • Shaving supplies
  • Insect repellent
  • First aid kit


  • Smartphone (with a charger)
  • Camera (with a charger or a set of spare batteries)
  • Laptop/tablet (with a charger)
  • Film/memory card
  • Travel adaptor
  • Power bank with a charging cable
  • Global SIM card
  • Headphones
  • E-book reader

Items For Your Carry-On

  • Personal medication
  • Cash
  • Credit/ATM cards
  • Travel documents (ID, student ID, passport, vaccination certificate, travel visa) with paper and digital copies
  • Umbrella
  • Tissues and wet wipes
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Printed banking and contact information
  • Face mask
  • Glasses
  • House keys
  • Books or e-books
  • Earplugs
  • Travel pillow

Packing Aids

  • Suitcase
  • Comfortable backpack
  • Waterproof file for important documents
  • Packing cubes
  • Ziplock bags
Electronics to pack

8. Be On Time

You can plan your entire trip, do steps 1-7, and call it a day. But if you’re careless with your timing, forget to set an alarm clock, or oversleep, you may end up missing your flight or train, and your holiday experience will be ruined. If you can reach your travel destination by car, you should remember that you can get stuck in traffic and reach your destination much later than you originally intended. This means you’ll have less time to do things you want to do and will only stress you out.

Trip planning is also about timing. As such, if you want to have the best vacation possible, be on time and start early, no matter where you go and how well you know the road.

Common planning pitfalls and solutions

Budget Blind Spots

Starting on a dream adventure demands financial foresight beyond airfare and accommodations. Craft a realistic budget using apps and travel cost calculators to consider hidden expenses like entrance fees, local transportation, and souvenirs. Prioritize wise budgeting to avoid the distress of an empty wallet amid paradise.

Packing Panic

Bid farewell to pre-trip packing chaos by creating a tailored, streamlined list. Consider your trip’s length, destination climate, and planned activities. Opt for versatile clothing, embrace layering, and choose comfortable shoes for diverse terrains. Remember, less is often more, and an efficiently packed carry-on can be a saviour during unexpected delays or lost luggage. Breathe easy; packing efficiency awaits!

Adapted from: Capitalone.com

Itinerary Overload

Resist the urge to cram your schedule like an overstuffed brochure. Allow room for spontaneity, fostering serendipitous discoveries and leisurely moments. Research opening hours to avoid crowds, but leave space for the unplanned. Release the grip on a rigid schedule and embrace the magic of unexpected experiences.

Cultural Cues

Immerse yourself in new cultures by respecting local customs. Research etiquette, dress codes, and cultural norms to avoid misunderstandings. This simple step ensures you become a welcomed guest, not a cultural faux pas. Embrace the opportunity to learn, grow, and remember, a little cultural awareness goes a long way.

Insurance Invisibility

Don’t let unforeseen circumstances derail your dream vacation. Though travel insurance may seem optional, it’s a vital safeguard for longer trips or unpredictable destinations. Protect your investment and ensure a worry-free adventure by comparing coverage options. From medical emergencies to flight cancellations or lost luggage, travel insurance provides peace of mind. Don’t let potential disruptions overshadow the joy of exploration.

The Bottom Line

It’s true – planning the perfect holiday takes a lot of time and effort. However, if you do it right from start to finish, you’ll see it was all worth it. Once you sort out the nitty-gritty of travelling before you reach your destination, you can move on to the fun part of your trip, which involves creating memories while you’re there.

Travel planning is a skill in itself. As such, the more you travel, the better you become at organising your trips because you get a full hands-on experience. Don’t stress out too much, and get the most out of this pre-trip time as you can. Once you implement these solutions and follow the tips mentioned above, you’ll see the difference, and your travel experiences will only get better.


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