When you’re spending most of your time at work daydreaming about tropical beaches, beautiful cities and escaping the cold weather, it’s time to find a way to make your traveling dreams a reality. It doesn’t matter if it’s a short city break, a summer vacation or a year-long backpacking trip you’re after, the process of making your dream come true is always the same. This practical guide breaks down the travel planning process into 10 easy steps, making the whole experience almost as fun as the actual holiday! Don’t feel overwhelmed at the thought of saving and planning for a big trip – instead, take it one step at a time and see how easy it is to live your traveling dreams.
1. Start Saving
The first step of every journey – once you’ve spent time daydreaming about your trip – is to start totting up the cash to pay for your trip. So many say that saving money is the tricky part, but there are lots of small changes you can make to save hundreds each month. Start making lunches for work and stop buying coffees on your breaks – you could save up to $400 a month! Get rid of your gym membership and start running outside to save even more every month. After a month, you could already afford a weekend away in Europe, or even save enough to cover nearly two weeks of hostels and food for an Asia backpacking trip!
2. Choose A Destination
We’ve all been dreaming of Italian feasts and tropical paradise, but where have you really always wanted to go? Think carefully about how far your money will stretch in the country and make sure you account for the travelling time. For example – you might have always fancied Singapore or Dubai, but if you want your money to last longer, why not look at South East Asia and try budget travel? Or, if you’ve always loved the idea of Italy or Croatia, why not find a slightly more budget-friendly option in Malta or Greece? Do your research and find where is best to visit according to the time of year, and check out when the cheapest flights are through Skyscanner.
3. Pick A Travel Buddy, Or Go Solo
Sometimes you’ve just got to get away – whether you’re in the mood for a family getaway, a holiday with friends, or a romantic trip with bae. In some cases the stars align and your perfect travel buddy is available and eager to join the adventure, but it doesn’t always work out. So what are you supposed to do if you want to go on your dream trip but have no-one to go with? Go on it alone! Solo travel is one of the biggest adventures you can have and as someone who has been travelling solo for over five years, I can tell you that you will have an amazing time. Don’t see it as a hurdle to jump over – see it as an opportunity to explore the world exactly the way you want to while meeting new friends along the way.
4. Quit Your Job, Or Book Your Holiday Time!
Now time for a bit of life admin, you better make sure you get that holiday request into work if you want to make sure you’re free for holiday fun! It’s always a game of risk if you start booking flights and hotels before you’ve had approval. If you’re heading off on a longer trip, make sure you submit your letter of resignation in plenty of time to notify your work. Keep your letter short, sweet and thankful for every opportunity that has come your way – you never know when you might want to return to your job. Also look into sabbaticals if you would like to take a longer trip but don’t want to leave your career!
5. Book A Ticket!
It’s official, you’ve booked your holiday time or quit your job, so now it’s time to book the flights! Finally your dream is becoming a reality. Start looking for the cheapest flight deals by checking Skyscanner and remember to book on a Tuesday or Wednesday to find the best deals. You should also shop using incognito mode if you want to escape the rising prices based on your searches. Find the best deals on Booking.com, Hostelworld or various hotel booking sites whether you’re shopping for luxury hotels or budget hostels.
6. Get Your Visas And Vaccinations
Next up – more holiday admin! It may be boring, but it’s vital to ensuring your trip goes as smoothly as possible. Check online using government websites to see what visa and entry requirements your destination has, and make sure your passport still has six months left on it. If you need a visa, be sure to get your application in early enough and to make sure you fulfil all the criteria. When it comes to vaccinations, check with your doctor or nearest health clinic to find out which jabs you have already had and which ones you might need. Remember that some vaccinations might need several weeks for multiple rounds so be sure to book in early.
7. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is vital for peace of mind when you travel. Spend time researching the best deal for you, and make sure you have one that will cover you for all eventualities including flight cancellations, illness and injury. If you’re planning on any extreme sports, you will need specific insurance to ensure you are covered for all “dangerous activities”.
8. Shop Holiday Must-haves
Need to get your holiday wardrobe ready? Shop smart and you could save a fortune. Hit the end of summer sales in the months ahead of your trip – if you’re travelling during winter you could save a lot of money by shopping a few months in advance. If you need equipment like new suitcases or a backpack for travelling, hiking gear or other practical items – spread the cost by making a list early and buy items in instalments over a few months.
9. Get Packing!
Love it or hate it, packing is an inevitable stage of your travelling preparations. Make the process easier by organising your clothes and items to take into piles. Use packing cubes – available cheap from Amazon and eBay – and see it transform your packing life by easily organising items and making them super accessible. Roll clothes instead of folding and you’ll avoid the worst creases. It’s worth making a packing list before you start so you can tick items off and be sure you haven’t forgotten anything.
Get that out-of-office on and log out of work-mode! Finally it’s time to breathe and start living that holiday life. After months of waiting, it’s no more rush hour commute, no more meetings and time for cocktails on the beach. Always put on an out-of-office to your emails and make it clear when you will return, this can help you avoid crazy email build-up on your return. Then forget all about work, get on that plane and go enjoy yourself!
About The Author
Absolutely Lucy is a solo female adventure travel blog for the twenty-something traveller who has spent far too long sitting in a dreary office daydreaming of getting out and seeing the world. Five years ago, Lucy was in exactly the same spot. Fuelled by her incessant wanderlust, she booked a year-long trip, and five years later she is still travelling solo and has seen nearly 40 countries. Lucy had set up home in three countries and has built an online expat community of over 200 people. Now she is planning some of her biggest travels yet – and can’t wait to take you along this year.
Absolutely Lucy knows not everyone has the luxury of travelling long-term, so she’s all about finding ways to travel that will fit in with your life. Whether that means taking a year out to backpack across the world, two week summer holidays or booking in a city break or even a camping trip when you can. Honest, raw and real, she shares exactly how to make your travel dreams a reality to suit your budget.