Planning a trip can be overwhelming–What should we do first? What airport do we fly into? Where do we stay? How do we get from one place to another? AHH! I had a friend reach out to me recently, asking where to start planning for her trip to Spain? Greece? France? (She had no clue!) so I am sharing what I told her with you.
In short-don’t over-plan! (Funny, coming from a professional planner.) Leave yourself some time to wander the streets and meet new friends. Give yourself the flexibility to stay an extra night when you fall in love with a city or change plans completely and jet off to a place you didn’t think you had time for or didn’t even know about!
- Step 1: Decide how much time you have
- Step 2: Decide which country/countries you are going to visit
Don’t try to do too much, you will NEVER see it all in one trip!
Buy a travel book! I will always research blogs/vlogs too but I love to have the physical book–Start reading through it and highlight things that look interesting but don’t worry about doing much more than that at this point
- Step 3: Book your flights
Start with the cheapest flights! Flights to the bigger hubs usually end up being the most affordable. You will also have better luck the more flexible your dates/times are!
Personally, I love red-eye flights. That way you don’t waste a day of your trip in the air!
- Step 4: Take a little break, drink some bubbly, YOU’RE GOING!
- Step 5: Decide which regions/cities you would like to visit
- Step 6: Book your accommodations
I love Airbnb because their cancellation policies are pretty flexible, if plans change mid-trip
For places like Iceland, with very limited accommodations, I have also used Hostelworld! We were able to book private rooms in guesthouses around the island.
If hopping around, stay at your overnight locations at least 2-3 nights. This way, you aren’t spending so much of your time traveling and you actually have time to relax and explore. Ideally, you will have fewer overnight locations and use them as basecamps for day trips to other places!
- Step 7: Take another little break, more bubbly!
- Step 8: Make a list of all your must-sees/dos
Don’t actually book anything unless it’s a tour or activity or show or something else you think may book before you get there. This will give you a lot more flexibility in your schedule! I always love waiting until I arrive to my location to see what locals recommend as well so be sure to keep some wiggle room in the itinerary!
- Step 9: Book transportation between your locations if renting a car or taking any overnight trains or short flights, etc.
There is usually no need to buy tickets for public transportation in advance
- Step 10: HAVE FUN, breath, not everything will go as expected, it will be OKAY!
I am working on posting some of my travel itineraries and a pre-trip to-do list, stay tuned!
Cheers & happy planning!