Travel Planning can be quite fun yet stressful sometimes.
With two upcoming trip that I’m planning for, I decided to write and share some tips on Travel Planning based on my own experience.
I’ve previously planned my Gold Coast and Taipei trips as I travelled with my mum. The planning job naturally lands on me as I can’t expect my mum to do the planning.
I have also been to trips when no plans were made and it’s more like an impromptu trip. Decisions were made on the spot and as long as all agree, we go ahead.
I actually do like such spontaneous trips as it’s not so rigid that we have to follow a specific itinerary and timeline. It’s more relaxing and we have more freedom. However, an itinerary is still needed depending on the destination and nature of the trip.
Currently I’m planning for a Hong Kong trip that’s happening soon and an Osaka trip in late September. I would say Hong Kong have more space for spontaneity whereas Osaka needs proper planning. Why do I say so? The main difference between these two destinations is the time needed to get from one place to another.
Hong Kong is pretty similar to Singapore with a pretty simple MTR system. Traveling from let’s say Tsim Sha Tsui to Mong Kok probably is similar to the time taken to travel from Bugis to Orchard. It doesn’t matter if we change our minds halfway as traveling around Hong Kong is simple and not time consuming.
Whereas in Japan, the subway system is pretty complicated. With different lines operating by different companies, till now I still can’t make my mind on which subway pass is more economical. Which is why, I needed to plan out the places I will definitely be visiting and see which pass is more suitable for my itinerary. I definitely can’t say I want to go to Kyoto and change my mind half way and wants to go to Kobe for the next half of the day when traveling is pretty time consuming.
So here are the 6 tips that you can take into consideration when you’re the one in charge of the travel planning!
Understanding your Destination
Before you go about planning, it is important to understand the county that you’re visiting. How is the train system like there? Is it time consuming to travel from one place to another? All these factors determine if you have space for spontaneity.
Also, how’s the culture like over there? It’s always good to be able to blend into the culture so as to have a smoother trip. Is there any language barrier? You might need to look up on some simple phrases and note them down.
Accommodation is a pretty important part of the trip. Although one might feel that it’s not too important as you only sleep in it. Location of the hotel/hostel/air bnb is pretty essential. You wouldn’t want to stay somewhere which requires long traveling time to the nearest train station. A good location would be somewhere where it takes only maximum 15 to 20 minutes of walking time to the nearest train station. Of course, the nearer the better.
Unless you’re super rich, you do have to take budgeting for a trip seriously. It’s good to research on how much an average meal cost, the prices of the things you are going to buy there, tickets to attractions,transportation fees etc. From here, you will be able to calculate roughly how much you need and how much buffer you can add in to come out with a reasonable budget which allows you to still enjoy the trip even if you’re on a tight budget.
Who You Are Traveling With
This is the most important factor if you are the only one planning. You definitely have to take into consideration of the preference of your travel buddy or buddies. Always ask for opinions and try to accommodate all as much as possible. If it’s just the two of you, always put their preference first. This is to minimize any form of unhappiness. If you’re traveling with family, especially the elderly, factor in the fact that they are not physically as well as you are. Try to minimize walking even if that means spending a bit more on transport. (Not part of the planning process, but always be patient with the elderly when traveling. It will make your life much easier.)
Always Have Your Flight Details in Consideration
I would say this is the most important part of travel planning. Always plan your route from the airport to accommodation on arrival day and vice versa on departure days. These should be the first two things to be planned as compared to the rest of the days. You do not want to get lost or miss any flights. If you have a midnight flight to catch, be sure to take note of the train timings so that you won’t miss the last train or bus to the airport. Always better to reach the airport slightly earlier than squeezing in last minute shopping elsewhere. I’m sure there are things to do at the airport too!
Planning Routes in Advance
Once you have a rough itinerary, it’s always good to plan the route ahead. Especially important if you’re traveling to places like Europe or Japan. Know which station to go and where you should change trains. Write down the route in a travel planner. It will save you a lot of time if you plan ahead. Imagine trying to ask for directions in a country where you don’t speak the language. It’s better and easier if you have a planned route to show to people to confirm that you’re going in the right direction.
That’s basically all I have to share! I hope you like this post and it really helps you in your travel planning!
And as I mentioned, I will be going to Hong Kong in July with Claire and Osaka in late September with my Mum and her friends. Do let me know if you have any recommendations for food, attractions or shopping! Would definitely appreciate that!