5 tips for travel planningI’m in this semi-unpleasant phase of planning my trip to Thailand. There are certain pros to this of course: I get to choose where I go, what I see, how much I spend, and so on. But it can still be a pain in the ass. I’m taking a break from all the planning and calculating to give everyone five general tips on how to make any trip stress-free and wallet-friendly.

1. RESEARCH
– We’re generally lucky to live in an age where all sorts of information are available in the magical mystical Internet. If you have the patience to dig through and the determination to plan out, you’ll be able to retrofit the vast amount of data in the Internet to a (more or less) structured plan for your vacation. I know it’s tempting to just go there and wing it but honestly, a little planning wouldn’t hurt.
2. FIGURE OUT YOUR BUDGET
– Once you’ve done that, you can figure out where you wanna save and where you wanna splurge. I have friends who will bargain to death on tour costs and boat fees but will never be caught dead in tent and without a toilet. I have friends who are willing to stay in bunk beds but would prefer to spend money on a plane ticket than to take a long bus ride. Just because you’re going on a budget trip, that doesn’t mean you can spend a little on what’s important to you.
3. PACK ENOUGH BUT PACK LIGHT
– There is an insanely fine line between the two. The best advice I have EVER gotten about traveling abroad is this: pack half of the clothes you’re planning to wear and twice the amount of money you’re planning to spend. After just one trip, I realised how true this is because you don’t really end up using all the clothes your bring and you always spend more than you promised yourself you would. Just to add to the advice though: Don’t overspend. Also, you can never bring to much underwear.
4. DIG UP YOUR CONTACTS
– Try to remember any of your friends or co-workers who have mentioned stories of traveling to the same place you’re going to now. They’ll be able to give you an idea of how to get around the city, where to eat, where to stay, how much you might end up spending, and so on.
5. HAVE A BACK-UP PLAN
– If things don’t go as planned, there’s no need to throw a tantrum or to lock yourself up in your hotel room in absolute despair. Make sure you have an idea of what to do in case you hit a few bumps on the road. The museum closed early? Why not visit the the night market instead? That famous restaurant is way out of your budget? Ask the locals for a cheaper recommendation.
A lot of people freak out when it comes to planning their own vacation. Some people don’t really care that much. The truth is traveling has to be a combination of both. You plan it out right before so that you don’t get to many problems once you’re there but you don’t plan it to the minute because, hey, it’s a vacation. Just don’t forget the most important part: HAVE FUN.
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