Planning International Trips : My way

Hey everyone, hope all are doing fine. By now everyone knows that I am into traveling and so far, I have been planning all my trips by my own self. No travel agent or holiday packages from online sites. I know people prefer these options because it’s easier, but I personally believe that they are costly, and you become bound to the itinerary. Also let me confess something, I enjoy planning as much as actual travel and best part is travel is only for couple of days or weeks, but planning may take weeks in advance (and you are not applying leaves for this, yay).

After couple of successful International trips, I became proud of myself and decided to share how do I do it? Let me warn you though I do become over organised and control freak, or I must say “Monica” like (“Friends” reference, geek alert) when it comes to planning. So, don’t laugh if you see me over doing something. Let me show you, how do I do it.

First it starts with the Idea:

If I want to visit some place then first thing I do is check holiday calendar, so I can find a long weekend or something, which will require me to take less leaves. And I also co-ordinate with my husband’s holiday calendar.

Checking the weather:

Once the dates and place are decided I check for weather report. If weather conditions are not suitable then either destination or dates change.

Places to visit:

Now I start checking for the places that I would like to visit to create a rough idea on how many days I need to cover all that.

Flights, visa and hotel:

At this point I start to look for flights. Several factors to be considered here are cost, timings, travel time, luggage, layover time. For real long distance I do prefer flights with layover. So, I pick flight that is budget friendly and not unnecessary time consuming. Also, the luggage. Many online websites show cheap prices of flights and mostly they are without any check-in bags. If you are someone like me who shops a lot, then make sure you check this point in flight details. Timings are important because many hotels have check-in time at 2 pm so if you reach very early either you wait or end up paying for one more day.

Another really important factor here is transit visa because that is added cost. Sometimes you need them some time you don’t. But it is very important to find this out in advance

Different countries have different rules for tourist visa. Some of them do have a bit lengthy process so prepare in advance. It might not be online.

For hotel I try to choose location which is near by to the places I want to see. I do not much care about the rooms being very luxury, but it must have very clean sheets and bathroom. And I prefer to book room with breakfast because being a vegetarian I really don’t get many options while roaming around. And I do check for reviews I sort my search price wise low to high on 3 star or more rating. First, I narrow them down to 2 to 3 options before I chose.

Local Currency, transportation and google map:

I like to carry some cash in form of local currency, of course cards work but not everywhere. I check different places for good conversion rates. Remember that each place will offer something different even two “Western Union” offices will have different conversions rates so check couple of places before you make your choice.

I do check for public transportation options, cabs etc. I do prefer to walk but it is not always feasible considering the distance and the weather conditions I keep my other options ready. Like when I traveled with my parents to Singapore, I didn’t want them to walk 3 4 km in one stretch. So we took cab to reach a certain point and then went to other places by walk.

As I prefer to walk, I need google map and for this I need internet. Before leaving the country, I buy international sim and internet plan. Yes, you can buy it at the airport as well but those are very costly.

Final Itinerary and day tour:

I do check for some day tour. “Viator” is my favorite for this. I have found some great packages for Singapore and Bali. They are very prompt and reliable based on my experience. On the other hand, I plan for places that I can visit walking. Now this is where I go a bit crazy, I create map for one place to another. I keep note of kms then I plan from where to where I can walk and where I would need some other form of transportation.

I create itinerary for each day and mark it on map. I keep track of time and then the plan is executed.

It does not end here. I pass this to my husband then he will make some last-minute changes, go back and forth on multiple things before I start booking everything. This is what a plan looks like at this point

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And as I said earlier I am very strict about the execution of plan, be it my husband or my parents I do get bossy. And they do hate me when I push them to hurry up, but they do end up having a great time. Don’t believe me! Ask my husband ?

Note – all this planning do require heavy amount of googling.

Eat delicious and look fabulous..

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