So you want to go on a super fantastic, life changing hip trip. I am talking about some holiday! Here are some quick tips to get you started.
The hardest step in this process is to make up your mind to go. The rest of the planning is just a series of mini steps in the right direction. So, are you ready? Is your mind made up?
Yes? Good, then get ready to take some mini steps!
No? Good, then get ready to take some mini steps anyway. Once you have planned the hippest of trips, you may ready to commit!
In planning your trip you only have to answer the five questions: Why, Who, Where, When and How.
Start with the why. This is a philosophical question and whatever your answer, it will reflect your life values. Some people look at travel as a luxury, some as an education and some as a necessity to feed the soul.
How do you see travel in relation to your life values? Is your purpose to:
connect with family and friends?
rest and recuperate from a stressful life?
explore and adventure?
challenge your physical and mental prowess?
develop your spiritual self?
understand the world more completely?
Once you know your purpose, you can develop your trip plan to meet your needs more effectively.
With Whom to Travel
Are you going alone or with companions? Picking travel companions is a mini step, but it is also a big decision.
Traveling with others can really add enjoyment to your hip trip. You share common experiences, memories and have someone with whom to reflect. Expenses can be shared for things like accommodations and transportation.
Traveling with others offers the challenge of compromise. Consideration needs to be given to the needs of each individual. Decisions may be shared as to itinerary, pace and travel style. A short trip together before embarking on a long sojourn can help identify issues that need to be addressed.
Traveling alone offers you complete freedom to decide where, when, how and why to go. You can be more spontaneous with less compromise. However, you can miss the companionship of shared experience and seeing things through the eyes of another person.
Where to Travel
Where are you going? Maybe this is obvious, like I am going to visit my mother in ___. But maybe this is a question that needs to be answered.
Make a list of all of the places that you would like to see and experience. Really think about what your passions are in life. What ideas make your heart rate increase? Cross-off ones that are obviously not doable like Going to the moon! Highlight the ones that most catch your fancy.
Now use your favorite techniques for making a choice. You can do preliminary research on each area, make a Pros/Cons chart or throw a dart at a map.
Once you make the decision about where to go, the real research begins.
Check in with your favorite Travel Agent.
Scour the Internet for opportunities.
Get a guidebook and read it. Get two.
Jot notes about the various areas as you read or highlight interesting items so you can easily find them again.
Consider organized tours for specialty interests. Often a tour can get you in to sites and teach you aspects that you could not experience independently. Very often they can get you there cheaper. You can add an independent phase at the beginning or end of your trip if you wish.
When to Travel
This is easy if you have an event around which you are planning such as a festival or a specialty tour. Good advice is to consider traveling on the outer edges of the high season. The deals are usually better, the crowds thinner and the weather is often still good.
How to Make Your Travel Plans
Get a passport now if your trip is international. Set up a fare watcher for airfares if you will be traveling by plane. Rough out an itinerary and a timeline. List your favorite ideas of places to visit and map these out on a map. Cross off the places that range too far off the path, unless one of those is the primary reason that you picked that hip trip. Estimate the time it will take to visit each destination and again cross out the places for which you do not have time.
Rough out a budget for your trip. Again you may need to cross off something that sounds interesting, but is out of your budget.
Always plan your itinerary with the knowledge that you will come back in the future. Do not try to do it all unless you have unlimited time and money. In that case, go for it! But for most of us there will be restraints on time, money or both!
Minimize one night stays. Then you can get a feel for a place and dig a little bit deeper. It takes a lot of time and energy to get from one place to another. Your goal is to BE THERE, alive, alert and engaged.
Planning a trip is simply a series of small steps in which you answer basic questions. Begin now to take these steps and soon you will have planned a super fantastic hip trip!
Travel Planner: Getting Started is the first part in a three part series.
Travel Planner: Making Arrangements addresses packing, what to take, making arrangements for transportation and accommodations.
Travel Planner: On the Road addresses the nuts and bolts of transportation, changing money, language barriers, eating and sleeping on the road.
Dianne Birney is the webmother of Worlds Together Travel Network which features culturally interesting travel destinations, stories, photos and travel networking.