But its so worth it.
Planning a trip could be extremely stressful. Not all the time things go the way as planned. It’s even harder when traveling in a group. Especially if you have a budget, but have a certain expectation for a trip that would make your wallet cry. This isn’t even including excursions and food.
Here are five things that make planning difficult, and some solutions that could ease your stress level:
Knowing when to go on a trip isn’t as easy as it sounds. Especially if you’re working or a student, schedules may clash or the availability just doesn’t work out. But for the times that you know you’re available and decide to take trip, plan according to the destination.
For example if you plan on going to Copenhagen, go during the Spring time. Not when it’s winter, or you’ll freeze! (My lesson learned). This is also one of the reasons why I decided not to visit Greece this past semester. I would spend at least a week in Greece to allow myself to island hop and enjoy each one fully. The only time I had a week off was my Spring break at the end of March when it was still relatively cool. Therefore making Greece not the top of my list for Spring break. Warm weather would be ideal, for about a week!
Flights are probably the worst thing to book when looking to go away. It could either make or break your plans and your bank. Booking a flight really depends on who is traveling. Personally I rather take a flight at an ungodly hour of 6AM, in order to arrive at my destination late morning, and still have a majority of my day. The same concept goes for leaving my destination, but taking a later flight.
I’ve learned that Google Flights usually has good deals, if you are willing to spend money out of your pocket. As compared to using points that you may have with an airline or your bank. Since I visit Canada often I tend to fly cheaply through Porter, and pay out of my pocket. This way it helps me build up my points for future trips that are pricier.
Another trick to try is booking your arriving and returning flight separately. Most of the time booking round trips can be more expensive, as compared to booking two one-ways. Sometimes they add up to the same amount, but it is definitely worth a try!
Knowing where to stay at your destination is incredibly important because it is the first impression you would have of the location. Locate where a majority of the attractions you would like to go, and see what housing options are available. Usually these places tend to be a bit more pricey due to its proximity to the attractions. Looking a bit further out doesn’t hurt, but make sure you are either nearby public transportation or if you’re willing to spend money on a cab! Other modes of transportation can be looked into too. Such as renting a bike, if you decide to stay in Amsterdam.
Other alternatives to hotels are Airbnb, for a more local experience; or hostels if you’re traveling on a budget! HostelWorld.com is a great website to do research when choosing a hostel, but when booking go to the hostel’s direct website. It will be cheaper!
Prices can vary at any given time of the day and month. The closer you are booking to your arrival date the more expensive it’ll be. Sometimes you might find a good deal last minute, but that is if you’re really on top of things! What I’ve learned is to not book flights late at night because prices do skyrocket. Usually randomly in the afternoon, around 2:30PM or 3PM are the best.
Also, if you’ve been going back and forth with multiple pages comparing prices. Remember to clear your browser history before logging off. Websites attach cookies to your searches, so the next time you open it up you’re likely to see a higher price! Another great alternative is private or incognito mode.
Expedia has great prices along with Tripadvisor. But make sure to check out the hotel/airline’s own website, they might just have the right price for you. With hotels reserving your booking could come to your advantage, see their cancellation policy and when you can cancel up to. This way you have one place on hold until you find what you really want!
This part I tend to be extremely last minute on… I pack the night before my flight out. Simply because it’s easier to tell what the weather would be like at my destination. Also I tend to go through moods of what I’d want to wear while away, so packing last minute makes me make decisions fast. Leading up to the time to pack I mentally figure out what I’d like to wear while on vacation, and try to not wear those pieces throughout the week (saves a load of laundry!) How many of which item to bring is important as well because no one likes dishing out about $100 if their bag is over 50lbs.
Rule of thumb is that pants can be worn twice, and shirts typically once. Compression packing cubes helps to keep your clothes organized by item. And always remember to roll, not fold! ( It saves space in the luggage.)
Packing a carry on makes traveling a breeze. It prevents you from over packing because of the limited space that you have. There isn’t a check-in fee when booking your flight, with a carry on. You don’t have to wait at the dreaded baggage carousel after your flight, with a carry on. Lastly, you know you your luggage won’t get lost, with a carry on.
Just. Carry. On. Trust me.
When it comes to choosing a suitecase, I’ve learned that having a four wheel, hard shell carry on is the way to go. The weather can be unpredictable, so having a hard shell can keep your clothes dry in the case of traveling in the rain. It also prevents having your suite case getting ripped up after a while, since they are just thrown onto the plane. Four wheels makes maneuvering through crowds so much better. This is the one I have, but in a rust color!
Whether you’re going to the Swiss Alps to ski, laying out on the beach in the Caribbean, or scuba diving in the Great Reef– planning for a trip will be stressful. But once you get there, you’ll know all is swell.