Whe're at the stage of planning. You've given it some thought already and maybe done a fair bit of research already.
There are various types and stages of planning. We cover a whole cross section of reasons to travel on this website, just go straight to your particular circumstance in "Reasons for Travel"
If this travel is going to be a life changing experience like a life of travel or Immigration, then there is obviously going to be a lot more planning involved than the annual vacation travel.
Tip 0040 Make the most of your travel
Most people work all year round to accommodate their travel dreams, so when you travel you should be making the most of it!.
Of course we cover those who spend more time travelling or even those who travel all the time and have reversed the balance but we start here on say an average annual trip.
Planning for type of trip
Planning for a type of trip, be it an organised trip or impromptu, you will still need to plan, sometimes years in advance.
How much time away do you want? You might need to organise more time off work or even leave work altogether.
Is it a down time trip, a personal trip or an adrenaline hit? Will you need to recover at the end of the trip?
Tip 0041 Pre-Post travel
Will you need to train or get fit for your trip, i.e. are you going to be kayaking in Canada, running the London marathon, doing the Kokoda trail or even climbing Mount Everest!
If you're planning an international trip there will be more to consider ie, passports and visas.
Tip 0042 Passport
Will you need your passport and is it up to date? Nowadays most people know you need at least 6 months left on your passport for entry into another country for obvious reasons but be aware, lots can happen in the lead up to renewing your passport and we cover this in the tip section of Passports.
If you have dual nationality, think about taking both passports with you. There are quite a few benefits from having more than one passport.
Always take a copy of your passport and email it to yourself.
Tip 0043 Visas
Visas are sometimes complex, especially if you're doing multi destination travel. Some you can only get from neighbouring countries and some you don't even need at all depending on where you're coming from and we explore this section in the "Visa's" section of this website.
Is it going to be a long or short trip, light trip, just take a backpack or a full on kitchen sink bring along. You can afford to take more on a short trip.
Tip 0044 What to take
How much time will be spent on getting there in relation to time at the locations.
Planning for actual trip
Planning for the actual trip is relatively simple once you have decided what, where and when you are going but there are still tips to learn here also.
Tip 0045 Inventory
A great way to plan for the actual trip is to write an inventory and we have a section alone for all the differing types of inventories, check list and spread sheets pertaining to the different types of travel you are looking to do.
Tip 0046 Luggage and weight.
What kind of clothes are you going to take. Remember hot places are sometimes cold at night and visa versa.
Tip 0047 What not to take
What not to take and this might sound silly but do you really need a suit, or heels on a trek in the jungles of Cambodia? You'd be surprised at the amount of people I've heard asking the tour guide "will I need my handbag for cage shark diving or are my thongs okay to climb the Lions Head in Cape Town?"
Tip 0048 Keep cool at night
Planning on your trip
Planning once you are on your travels and this believe it or not is where a lot of people miss out.
Tip 0049 Only one chance.
Chances are, unless you're a repeat traveller you only get one chance to see it, so make sure you plan well.
Some people enjoy just the experience of going somewhere different and book themselves into a hotel, stay there the whole time to chill and relax. All good and you've achieved your goal.
There are some that do the same as a comfort zone and worry about stepping outside the box and this is great too. Whatever rocks your boat. Also some people want to step out of the box and need a little shove.
Story 6 Step out of your box in Mauritius
On the 2nd last day of a seven day trip in Mauritius, sitting at a table for the usual sunset meal with conversation flowing on all the things done so far, a lovely mature couple leaned over and asked, "How long have you been here, you seem to have done so much?"
It turned out they had spent most of the time in the hotel, too worried about venturing away and that they had overheard our wonderful experience of a dolphin trip. The lovely lady of the couple had never seen a dolphin and would love to do the trip but only if we came with them. It was their last day tomorrow and so off we went the very next day. Well the trip even exceeded our previous trip and as the sun was setting on the horizon and all the other boats had left the area, along came at least eight pods of dolphins, maybe fifty in all. Playing, spinning, circling and swimming under the roped rigging we were sitting on. It was absolutely magical and the look on the lady's face brought shivers down my spine.
Can you believe, sadly I can't find one photo. Arghhhh! But I will never forget!
The main moral here is:- Step out of the box and never miss an opportunity!
Tip 0050 When you get there.
Personally we love to fully immerse ourselves in everything, everywhere and especially the culture. Sometimes makes for an exhausting time travelling but our philosophy is "your a long time in the grave".
Tip 0051 Drop your bags and go
Every time we get somewhere, the first thing we do is drop our bags and go. Familiarise yourself with your existing surroundings for a start.
Tip 0052 Do it now (top tip)
Don't save the best to last. It may not end up being the best and even if it is, you can always do it again.
Find out what's on and when. How many times do you go away and think "well we'll go to the market on the last day and get our souvenirs then" only to find the market is closed on that day. Or "we will do that excursion at the end of our stay" only to find out that it's been cancelled due to bad weather. Or "we'll save this one till the end". and find out it wasn't that good anyway.
Tip 0053 What's on and when
In your pre planning, you may have already checked out all there will be to do when you arrive and may have phoned ahead for an itinerary list from the accommodation you're staying at.
Tip 0054 Get an Itinerary
Local knowledge is the key! When you get there ask the locals. The accommodation you've booked will already have a vast array of places to see, go and excursions to go on but obviously not all are in your favour. These are a great way to once again use as a "research on the go" tool and are an instant price guideline. There will be some bargains but you can and invariably will get a bargain elsewhere.
Tip 0055 Local knowledge.
Story 10 Boracay yachting with a difference
Having arrived at the beautiful Island of Boracay, a boat trip around the island was definitely on the cards. I had already got a price from our lovely accommodation for a 3 hour round trip, and venturing down the main drag of market stalls and shops. I found that the local prices were very reasonable.
Luckily deciding not to book just yet, I went for a stroll along the beautiful beach as far as I could go. Stumbling across the rocks I happened upon a group of local guys having their lunch on the beach. Me being me, I struck up a conversation only to find some 15 minutes later, that one of them had a boat and he would be happy to take me round the island for next to nothing.
With nothing to lose I agreed meeting up with him the next day where he not only took me round the island but we also snorkelled together in the best place there and he took me to a little known alcove where not only did we stop to relax on the golden sand but all of a sudden, down came a rope with basket and menu in it. An eatery was at the top of a cliff offering food to passers by below.
No other trip was offering this and even if they did, it was just magical to think I was the only one experiencing it.
We become great friends in such a short time and his mother made me a beautiful shell lampshade that must have taken ages to make. Obviously I couldn't enjoy all this for nothing and gave the family presents and the equivalent of the price of an excursion.
Moral if this story is, Chat to the locals, be friendly, not too suspicious and you will be pleasantly surprised.
Tip 0056 What's around the corner?
So many times we walk as much as we can to get our bearings and when you're walking you see a whole lot more. This may be obvious for some but so many people rush around, mainly because of not enough planning or just too little time in the one location. Transportation gets you from A to B quicker but you also miss so much.
Another thing we find is, that we always expect to find something new just around the corner, or at the end of this street or lane and often we do find the most unexpected things just off the beaten track. So always expect to go further than you expect. Pack plenty of provisions because you may just find a hidden treasure where you least expect!
Tip 0057 Pack for longer just in case.
There is a whole section for this, as this is a top tip in all sorts of circumstances. Particularly in camping, trekking etc,.
Tip 0058 Be flexible
Planning on the go is very useful especially when on a long travel experience and being flexible is a key issue too. Many a time we have changed and even had to change our itinerary on the go, due to changing weather conditions, landslides or even because we just wanted to get some sand in our toes.
Generally you can't plan enough whilst your away. Being able to change, stops confinement or frustration and leads to a productive, fulfilling and happy travel time. Remember when one door shuts there is always another door open.
Now we will leave planning here for the moment and we will expand more as we go.