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Planning a trip

Travel Forums General Talk Planning a trip


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1. Posted by Patsyrose94 (Budding Member 14 posts) 9w

Hi Hi,

Just a quick one i thought i would throw out there. Wondered what people have found best to do in regards to planning? Is it better to plan everything, like booking flights and places to stay and onwards?

Or wing it and just have a rough idea of where to go and book as you go along?

Never traveled before and i don't know how easy it is to find accommodation in a foreign country/booking flights?


2. Posted by Borisborough (Respected Member 443 posts) 9w

This question tends to polarise people - there are many travellers here who think trips should be planned to the nth degree including the exact number of days in each place from the start to the end of a trip whether it's a week long or a year long and there are one or two here who think that the only way to travel is to 'wing it' without planning anything at all and staying at a place as long as you want until you've experienced everything and everyone before moving on.

There is no right or wrong answer; some people prefer everything planned, some people prefer to 'wing it' totally. Be aware that some things you may want to do might book out so, to do them, you might have to book in advance - if you wing it totally you may miss out or have to stay in a place for several weeks in order to not miss out.

As for finding flights and accommodation on the hoof, I think it's definitely possible to do both but for accommodation, prices and location are premium and often the most conveniently located places to stay at a good price are booked out and those that are available are more expensive. Similarly with flights, booking early is usually cheaper than waiting until the last minute. You should be able to get a flight between one city and the next but it might not go on exactly the day you want and it might be more expensive to go tomorrow than it would be to go in a month's time or six months' time.

Personally, I find it best to research where I want to visit and find out if the places I might want to visit book out or not. If they do, I'd either book in advance or not bother at all. With flights, I tend to book those as early as possible, once I have a good idea of the route I want to take.

Whichever way you decide to do things, you'll eventually find the way that suits you best. There's definitely no one correct way, whatever anybody might say.

Enjoy your travels, whichever way you do them. :)

3. Posted by berner256 (Travel Guru 526 posts) 9w

Borisborough is right on the mark. There is no right way or wrong way to travel. Do what suits you best.

4. Posted by ashlynangel (Budding Member 3 posts) 9w

if you are planning to trip first time its a good idea if you select a Best areas like India. Where you find people speaking good English , Good food , good hotels , shopping malls , beaches , Historical places every you need at low before that you have to plan well . Booking tickets in Indian Festival seasons the flight tickets are little bit expansive to India i suggest you to check where the flight tickets are at low cost and no hidden charges . You need to carry plenty of amount for shopping

5. Posted by OldPro (Respected Member 237 posts) 9w

I'm one of the 'wingers' Borisborough refers to. Having said that, I would not suggest to a truly first time traveller that they wing everything the first time out the gate. Like anything else, it takes experience to become truly good at anything and diving in at the deep end is not usually the best idea when you are trying to learn to swim.

So, contrary to my own preferences, if you truly are a first time traveller, then I would suggest for your first trip you book a return flight to somewhere that interests you and book a hotel ahead as well. What I would suggest is that you plan on only ONE location. Keep it as simple as possible for your first time out. In fact, I might suggest you even book a package air/hotel trip to start with.

If you say what your interests are and what places appeal to you, you might get some suggestions for that first trip.

After that first trip, you will have some experience to draw on for your next trip. For example, you might discover that although the package included bus transport from the airport to the hotel, the bus dropped off people at 5 hotels before it got to your hotel and you felt that was a waste of your time. Next time, you might ignore the free bus and take a taxi direct to your hotel instead. That's a common change people make when it comes to package trips.

You might find that the so called 'welcome briefing' by a tour representative was not about giving you advice and pointers for your stay but in fact about trying to sell you day trips. Most package tour regulars simply avoid the 'welcome briefing' for that reason.

You will learn things, however minor they may be and that's all to the good. Next time, you may decide to book your air and hotel yourself rather than with a tour company. Not because you can get a better price but because you want to go somewhere no package tours go to. So you make your own 'package'. That's called 'independent travel'.

In other words, it's a process and step by step you find what works best for you and your interests.

I heard a story this week from an acquaintance who told me about her Sister's first trip to Europe. Even though she had a niece who is quite well travelled and was more than willing to help them plan a trip, they opted to go on a bus/cruise ship package that took them to something like 15 places in 5 countries in 3 weeks. On her return she told her Sister, 'never again'. They were rushed from place to place and felt exhausted most of the time. They saw very little of anything really. But instead of realizing that it was the pace of their travel that was the problem, she has apprently accepted that the pace was 'normal' for 'seeing Europe' and that she would not want to spend any more time or money seeing Europe.

That to me is a classic case of someone who does not know how to travel and as a result of being thrown into the deep end by a tour company, has nearly drowned and decided that they aren't interested in learning to swim.

So start off easy and take it one step at a time.

6. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1613 posts) 9w

You do have to choose the place to visit ahead of time. If overseas you may or may not need a visa you apply for ahead of time. For foreign countries research visa requirements. (Some countries you get a visa stamp for free entry at the airport. Depends on passport you use to enter the foreign country.)

You have to put some sort of a budget on paper. Otherwise how else would you know how much per day you can afford for hotels and day to day spending AFTER paying for round trip plane tickets. Your budget will determine how long you can visit any particular country.

Probably a good idea to have some kind of emergency care insurance - medical, doctor, hospital, etc. Accidents happen and tourists get hurt from time to time.

Finances. Going overseas do not rely on a single source of spending money. If this means opening up another debit card account do it. Lose, damage or have a single debit card stolen you will have a big problem trying to get a replacement card. (Research how to best change your currency to the foreign currency ahead of time. Usually you get a better rate in the country you visit. But verify this for the specific country you enter.)

Always make yourself aware of any scams you might have in the country you visit AHEAD of time so you do not become a victim.

Some countries you may intend to visit have high season and low season prices for hotels, also during high season many hotels are booked months ahead of time. My advice if flying long distance have a place to head for the first night or two.

If you have access to to libraries make the effort to check out some old fashioned travel guides for any place you want to visit. Lots of valuable help in travel guide even if it is "old technology!"

Good luck.

7. Posted by berner256 (Travel Guru 526 posts) 9w

Borisborough, OldPro and Karazyal all make excellent suggestions. Nowadays it's easy to plan trips, even if you've never traveled before. Flights and accommodations often are easily booked online, either by yourself or with the help of a travel agent. There are lots of sample itineraries (printed; and on the Web) to suit your interests, budget and time constraints. Consider all options. Sometimes a tour might make more sense than planning a trip on your own, particularly to destinations where health, safety and logistics might be issues; and where costs might be prohibitive if traveling alone (Papua New Guinea, especially to some of its remote areas, is an example).

If traveling independently (not on an escorted tour) you'll have to deal with any problems that might arise. This year, I've had to deal with an airline strike in Chile; and six landslides and a bridge that was washed away in a flash flood in the Himalayas, delaying travel while the Indian Army worked to resolve the problems. In Srinagar, Kashmir, violent demonstrations led to deaths, the closure of schools and businesses, a curfew, and limited access to roads and transport. So it's important to have options; and to think one or two steps ahead.

While it's wise to plan, it's also important to take advantage of opportunities that might present themselves (such as an invitation to spend time with a family). Spontaneity can add depth to your travel experience. Always ask, "Why not?" More than four decades ago, I accepted an invitation from an Austrian family to visit. Last week, I returned to Zeltweg, one of many visits over the years with that family. I firmly believe in the motto on my Travellerspoint profile: "Travel is a voyage of discovery, about yourself; about others. It's caring, sharing."

You'll make discoveries as you travel, whether you plan ahead or not. It's part of the experience.

[ Edit: Edited on 20-Aug-2016, at 03:18 by berner256 ]

8. Posted by OldPro (Respected Member 237 posts) 9w

Well if we are going to share mottos, as someone who prefers to wing it I would suggest.

'Man plans and God laughs.' proverb
I would say that is a good motto for someone who wings it to have.

And as to why to wing it, I suggest the definition of adventure. Which in terms of travel I would suggest is defined as 'a trip that involves risk and the unknown'. You cannot plan an adventure by definition.

9. Posted by Borisborough (Respected Member 443 posts) 9w

"It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him." - JRR Tolkien

I don't think anyone would arrive at the airstrip at Scott Base in their board shorts and jandals (kiwi for flip-flops) and say, "Strike a light, it's a bit on the chilly side here; I think I need to buy some warmer togs." - everyone does a modicum of planning; it's just that some people feel more secure doing more than others.

I was fortunate to listen to an excellent talk by Kevin Biggar last week. Kevin Biggar gave up his job and lifestyle to compete in a rowing race across the Atlantic (which he won) and later walked unsupported to the South Pole. (He has since presented TV shows where he re-enacts pioneer adventures in New Zealand.) He'd probably go along with the sentiment of OldPro's "Man plans and God laughs" to an extent but hoping for the best but planning for the worst was more his line.

He's written a few books about his adventures and he has his own website promoting his speaking presentations - well worth looking at for a bit of inspiration.

10. Posted by berner256 (Travel Guru 526 posts) 9w

My participation in these forums is to be helpful to others. No more, no less. I have no other agenda.

I am respectful of all opinions; and as one of the terms of use cautions: "The information provided is not necessarily correct and represents only one person's view."

I don't pass myself off as an travel expert. I'm still learning. So it was a surprise that, after a few dozen postings, I was designated a "travel guru." I'm far from that. It's only within the past year or two that I've begun participating in online travel forums, including and I now share most of my travel photos with family and friends on Facebook, which I finally joined in December.

Many of us travel for different reasons. There is no wrong way, nor right way. I plan my trips. Does that disqualify me as an "adventurer" because, by planning, risk and fear of the unknown are eliminated? I don't think so. Most people who travel leave their "comfort zone"; and I, like many, always have some trepidation before leaving. But, at my age, many of my fears seem to have melted. I don't worry as much. But I do continue to assess risk.

I know a few adventurers. When going far off the beaten path, they don't try to wing it. They make preparations for health and safety's sake. There is no harm, nor shame, in that. It's only prudent.

Finally, I'll decamp from this thread. I prefer not to be involved in an argument; and as I've said before, I respect all opinions. I never denigrate; I try to help as best I can. Nuff said.