I am planning trips constantly. If there isn’t one in the near future, I plan what I want our next trip to be.
Here are my first three initial questions when planning a trip:
- Where are we going?
- Do you have a specific country or city? Maybe a continent? Start big and dream big!
- How long will this trip be?
- Do you have a summer off, a week or two maybe? This will help you be more realistic with your itinerary.
- How much will airfare cost?
- This helps with budgeting. I started here and used skyscanner to find the cheapest place I could fly to during Thanksgiving break, I had nine days and wanted to go somewhere, but didn’t have a lot saved up. Costa Rica ended up being the cheapest to fly to from Texas. I then used Google Flights to pin down the days I would fly.
Once I have these three steps conquered I can begin the next phase of initial trip planning.
- How much will accommodations be?
- What do we want to do/what are the costs of our activities?
Once I have a rough idea of my ideal trip planned I allow reality to set in. What is the length of time we actually want to spend in each city? How much can we save or have we saved?
Here is an example for our 8 week trip to Europe:
I knew that we wanted to go to Europe; it can be expensive to fly to, but relatively inexpensive to travel around. We decided 8 weeks was how long we were going to spend abroad. You can see how we found cheap airfare to Europe and around Europe here. If you want to check out how to fly budget airlines and LOVE them, you can see that here.
Initially we were going to go to Spain, Italy, England, Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, France, Czech Republic, Poland, Ireland, Hungary, Romania. I know that this is a lot of countries; I was dreaming big.
- Spain-10 days
- Italy-12 days
- England-2 days
- Netherlands-2 days
- Denmark-2 days
- Portugal-3 days
- Austria-2 days
- Switzerland-4 days
- France-7 days
- Germany-6 days
- Czech Republic-3 days
- Poland-5 days
- Ireland-2 days
- Hungary-5 days
- Romania-3 days
- TOTAL:68 DAYS
Bummer, we only had 56 days. After trimming some things we came to this itinerary:
- Dublin-2 days(arrive and depart)
- France-5 days
- Poland-4 days
- Czech Republic-4 days
- Italy-11 days
- Portugal-6 days
- Spain-14 days
- Germany-5 days
- Budapest- 5 days
Removing countries or days was due to price or amount of time we wanted to spend in each place, I believe the longer you stay in one place the better. My initial plan was extremely ambitious and way more costly due to accommodation in some of the cities and cost to fly or ride between so many different places.
I hope this helps! How do you usually begin your trip planning?