10 Things To Consider When Planning Your Next Trip


Whether you’re travelling locally or internationally, planning is crucial. Even if you’re a big fan of spontaneity, you need to at least have an idea of how many places and activities you can fit in during your trip. Proper planning also means you can get the best prices on accommodation, flights, and car rental, giving you more bang for your holiday buck.

With that in mind, here are 10 things you should consider when planning your next trip.

Spend some time with a map

The days when you had to buy a physical map from the AA or your local bookstore may be long gone, but there’s still value in looking at one when you’re planning a trip. Doing so can give you a good idea of where the different destinations are within a country or region and their proximity to one another.

Alternatively, you can also use online maps to create an itinerary which you can then use offline. This means that you can still navigate even if you’re in an area with no mobile data, or have chosen not to activate data roaming when traveling internationally.

Decide how long your entire trip can be 

Once you know how many days you’ll have to travel, you can research how much time you need in each place you plan to visit. This will, in turn, allow you to see if all the stops are feasible within the timeframe you’ve set aside. It may also be worth adding in an extra day here or there.

That means you can still see everything you want to if your flights are delayed and have some time off for relaxing if they aren’t. Baking in this kind of flexibility can also make things easier if weather conditions mean you can’t visit a specific attraction on any given day.

Find out about the most cost-effective transport options to your destinations 

Whether it’s a staycation, a beach getaway, or a long-haul trip you’ve been wanting to do for ages, travel has become more accessible with tools to help you find a holiday fit for your budget.

When it comes to flights, accommodation, car hire and inspiration on things to do for any place in the world  Cheapflights is a great tool for finding great deals. If you can be flexible, on Cheapflights you can see the price calendar for the whole month and pick the cheapest travel dates. You’re also much more likely to find a good deal if you’re willing to be flexible with your dates, book early, and don’t mind using “zero-frills” airlines.

Do some research regarding travel cards and discounts available for particular sites in the destinations on your list 

Speaking of getting bang for your buck, you should also see if there are tourist cards available for multiple attractions in your destination. If you want to visit a museum or art gallery, you should also see if there are days of the week when they offer free entry.

Research what other travellers recommend you should see or experience in a particular destination 

While there’s still a place for printed travel guides, looking at the social media feeds and channels of people who’ve traveled to your destination recently can give you a much more immediate and visual sense of what you should look out for.

Another way to make the trip exciting is to fill it in with unique experiences that will also help you to learn about the local culture and history. Travellers can browse through and book the top attractions, tours and day trips in a specific destination on Cheapflights.

Find out about visas and passports for the various places you plan to visit

While South Africans can travel visa-free to 103 countries, many popular tourist destinations do require local passport holders to apply for visas. Some of these visas are cheaper and easier to obtain than others and should therefore be included in your travel planning.

Check for public holidays in the destination you plan to visit 

While you might love public holidays at home, they can put a serious dent in your travel plans if you’re unaware of them. So, if you’re traveling to a country where public holidays are taken seriously, you may have to schedule a day at the beach (or forest), if everything else will be closed on the day.

Give some thought to the type of accommodation you want 

No matter how many activities you have planned during the day, you want to ensure you put some thought into your accommodation. Do you prefer self-catering options, or do you want to be close to the main tourist spots?

You may also have to balance your accommodation desires with your budget (It may, for instance, be better to stay in a small hotel close to public transport than to stay in a hotel further away).

Research and buy travel insurance 

If the events of the past year or so have taught us anything, it’s that the unexpected can happen. Travel insurance can protect you in the event of cancelled trips, lost luggage, and medical emergencies. A good place to start is to check what your medical aid offers in the event of a medical emergency and build up from there.

Advise your bank that you are going to be travelling 

Even if you’ve bought enough foreign currency, there’s a chance that you’ll have to use your bank card at some point. You should therefore always advise your bank that you’ll be traveling and that you will be using your credit card in other destinations.

Prepare now, enjoy later.

Planning your trip well will pay dividends when it comes time for you to take your trip. You’ll have a much better time and come back rejuvenated with a bucket load of great memories.

Contributors are the beating heart of Sawubona.

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