Travel planning. You either love it or you hate it. You may love doing in depth research about where to go, what time is best what to see, where to stay even what to eat! On the other hand, you may be a more fly by the seat of your pants kind of traveller who prefers to figure it out in the moment. As with anything a bit of both is likely needed depending on the situation so that you can get the most out of your hard earned trip but still leaving room for ample spontaneity.
Welcome to the Sling Adventures Top 5 Travel Planning Tips:
What is the purpose of your trip? What’s driving you to head out the door to explore? Visit a new country? Meet family or friends? Witness a specific event or festival? Participate in a specific event or sport. Or simply return to the same old tried and tested destination? Whatever it is, it needs to be the number one reason for going. This is the bit you don’t want to miss or mess up. All other bits can fall into place around this one thing.
This is the rough journey you will take. When you walk out the front door do you go left or right! More to the point, what is the rough sequence of events that leads you back to your front door? Is it simply a flight out and back? Are you flying to and from the same place? What are the modes of travel available to get where you need to go? What will allow the most freedom? Considering the actual travelling time is a major part of your trip and travel days can eat into a fair chunk of your trip. Getting a rough route mapped out with transport options gives you alternatives to consider. It may also expose unique train trips, road trips or ferry routes which are a drawcard in their own right. The old saying, ‘It’s the journey, not the destination’ can often ring true.
Timing your trip to either coincide or avoid events that are outside your control such as festivals, public or school holidays, weather or anything else that may enhance or similarly interrupt your travels. Travelling in Myanmar during the water festival is a unique experience but the country is pretty much shut down for a week. Timing is also worth considering to maximise your time away, particularly if you are working and need to conserve that valuable leave. Timing will also determine how rigorous your planning needs to be. If on a short trip you may not have the luxury of leaving things open. Conversely, on a long trip you might restrict yourself too much by booking everything in.
Travelling to meet friends and family can take out a lot of the need for planning too much as you’ll likely have your own ready made tour guides at your service! Putting aside official tours for a moment, if there is anyone you can connect with in your destination to give you an insiders tip on what to do and see (and avoid) when you arrive it may give you a unique experience. The reason Airbnb is successful is that it gives you a local connection that you can ask for a local’s perspective. So however you do it, a local contact is a great way to avoid hit and miss experiences and waste time on non-worthy sights. Although, solely relying on someone’s advice may not always be in line with your interests. You should still be in the driver’s seat no matter how excitable your on the ground expert is.
It’s best to consider your travel plan as a constantly evolving draft. Scope out the entire trip roughly and then refine little by little starting with the main purpose for travelling. You may start to book things in but only when they won’t compromise something else that is still left open. The biggest thing being, everything is subject to change until you’ve actually done it! Having a full regimented plan may only add stress when a flight is delayed or you miss a train. This will set of a domino effect on all the other carefully laid plans. Like actual domino setups it’s best to leave a buffer here and there to allow space for recovery if something goes awry. While it can be stressful when plans don’t work out, think back and you’ll soon realise some of your most memorable experiences occur when things didn’t go according to plan. So embrace it!
No matter what type of travel planner you are we hope these 5 tips allow you to create enough of an escape plan allowing freedom for exploration and misadventure. Leaving you to achieve your main travel goal for memorable experiences, both planned and unplanned, to take home.