When I first started traveling in my early years I used to be a super planner, I would plan every little detail, how long I would stay in each place, accommodation, tours, everything. Now I am much more relaxed. The problem with planning every little detail is you feel restricted, if you get somewhere and you don’t like your accommodation, area, or you just want to move on because you feel like you have seen everything, you feel trapped because you’ve already committed. Traveling is all about freedom. If you keep your travel itinerary as light as possible it’s much easier to change your mind when you arrive at your destination.
Traveling without a plan also can depend on how much time you have, for example you might want to see all of Asia or Europe in the 3 week holiday you have from work, this is often how I travel in short stints. The reality is you are never going to be able see everything, and you will still have a better time planning a light itinerary, and leaving room for change.
When I went to India for 3 weeks we only booked our flights in and out of Mumbai. We knew we wanted to go South to Kerala and work our way up, and we had no intention of going to the Taj Mahal (I know, crazy, what were we thinking). But when we got to Kerala, after 2 days we wanted to move on, we thought we would be there for a week. We couldn’t get any flights to Goa, so we ended up in Delhi and doing the Golden Triangle (Delhi, Jaipur & Agra) then went back South towards Goa, it was the most amazing trip I have ever been on and one of the best parts was the Taj Mahal in Agra. If we had pre-planned our whole trip we would have only done Kerala and Goa, and wouldn’t have gotten to experience all of these other amazing places.
My 3 top planning tips:
Plan where you want to start
The obvious thing you need to do is plan where in the world you want to go, it’s good to research places and have the key sites you want to see, and have an light itinerary that allows for change. I almost always find I never want to stay in a place as long as I thought before I booked, if you have a light itinerary you can usually see everything you want and more.
Plan who to go with or fly solo
What makes a great trip or holiday is who you are with, you can be in the most beautiful place on the planet, but if you aren’t having fun with the people around you, you may as well have stayed home. If you are traveling solo, and you want to meet new people, the best way to do that is stay where like-minded people stay, social places, like hostels and backpackers are usually always open friendly environments. If you spend your trip staying in hotels its likely you won’t meet anyone, hotels are usually couples, business travelers or groups of friends who aren’t looking on expanding their social group.
The boring stuff you need to plan before you go
As much as you don’t need to plan every detail of your next trip, you should plan to be away, here is the boring stuff you should remember before you go:
- What is my daily travel budget?
- Who’s going to look after my dog?
- Travel insurance
- Injections or medication where required