So you’ve got the travel bug.
Where to next? This is the question that often sits in the minds of many travel enthusiasts. With Christmas holidays approaching and even though we’re still in a pandemic, traveling has started to feel alright again. Whether it’s a group trip, solo trip, family oriented or even a love fueled trip, one thing is for sure, whether it’s via plane, land or cruise, the thought of traveling to somewhere new is always on the list of things to do. With a certain thrill to the idea of newness and, of course, the things you plan to get into living at the forefront of your mind however, before you even get to the destination of your choice, a couple of things always occur. Activated is the planning stage. Think of it as a necessary set of hurdles that need to be jumped. In this planning stage, things to decide upon when planning a trip are one’s financials with careful consideration of flight prices and spending money, the type of vacation desired, the type of accomodation and of course, activities intended to partake in.
When choosing your destination, one should first and foremost know what type of travel they’d like to embark on while on their next trip. Are you in search of rest and relaxation via luxurious pools and spa experiences? or are you looking to be adventurous and get your feet in the mud? When you envision yourself on vacation, is it a scene that boasts beach wear and cocktails or are you on a hiking trail, jumping out of planes or diving underwater? Knowing what you want out of your trip plays an enormous role as it then informs all the other parts of your destination selection. Maybe you envision a bit of sight-seeing, partying, shopping or spending hours at the beach or pool. Maybe your ideal vacation consists of learning about the culture of the natives at the destination picked, or to spend your days hiking through forests, river tubing or bungee jumping. Figuring out what it is that you want out of your trip will actually let you cross off places that don’t support what it is that you’d like to get into. I mean, if you’re interested in doing a ski trip, you wouldn’t look to the Caribbean as a destination, right?
Now that you’ve chosen the type of travel you’d like to partake in, be it relaxation travel or adventure travel, something to take into consideration is the weather and season you’ll be traveling into. To give you an idea, let’s say you’ve put together outfits for the beach and pool in the name of lounging and tanning, then when you get there, it is already raining and forecasted to continue raining the entirety of the trip. Chances are you won’t be doing much tanning or lounging by the pool because, as it turns out, you’ve booked the trip during peak rainy season. Oftentimes, people’s purpose for traveling is to simply escape the weather of their country as is often religiously seen during Christmas time in colder climates.
Let’s talk chi-ching: money. Some would say that even though nabbing down where you’re going is a huge factor, a more impactful factor would be your budget, as it controls actually getting there and in reality, what you can possibly do the entire trip. Money plays a direct factor in the destination, the class you fly or sail in, where you’ll be staying, what you’ll be eating and the activities you can partake in. Basically, the quality of life on the trip is in the palm of your budget’s hand. Some things to consider in terms of accommodation can be substituting a fancier locale for a cheaper one with similar available activities; not flying first class and putting the excess money toward activities; the decision to stay in a hotel, hostel or airbnb; and do I travel locally or internationally? All of these questions are directly affected by the amount of money that is designated for the trip and helps put what is most important into perspective. This also nods to the intended length of the trip, as all of these factors depend on it and a longer stay incurs higher costs. If your main aim is to keep costs low, anything that can save you money should be welcomed with open arms. If you can lessen the price tag at the end of it all, it should definitely be looked into. On that note, cheap flights can be scored via websites such as Skyscanner, Google Flights, Kiwi, Cheap Flights, Cheapoair and AirTreks.
In keeping with the budget and on the theme of selecting travel destinations, something that’s a need-to-know is whether a visa is required for the destination in mind. If you’re a citizen of the U.S, EU, Canada, Australia, Japan or New Zealand; this paragraph doesn’t directly apply to you, as you lot can travel most of the world visa-free. However, for the folks without that privilege, a different visa will likely be needed for particular countries. If you decide to go to a country requiring a visa, the process to obtain one can be lengthy, taxing on you emotionally as the hope is to get approved and can grow to be pricey. The process involves finding the correct website through which to apply for the type of visa you need (some countries are rife with scam sites) sending in the application, providing your valid passport, paying for your visa which actually has the potential to be expensive, sending in the required photos, then playing the approval waiting game, which can either be an extended gut wrenching process, or an overnight email. All in all, in order to avoid being hit with the visa shock, it’s best to first compile a list of countries needing a visa and countries you can travel to without one. By no means is it an impossible task, it just takes a bit of pre-planning.
Then there’s the whole issue of where you’ll be living during this trip of yours. As mentioned earlier, accommodation types range from hotels and villas to Airbnb’s and hostels, even couch surfing. Whatever floats your boat, there’s most likely someone providing it so there isn’t usually a shortage of options. A huge caveat to that is if you’re traveling during peak season (we mentioned escaping Christmas cold) or to a highly sought after event (think summer olympics, or even a friend’s wedding in a small town). All these situations could potentially result in all good options for accommodation being booked out way in advance. Your best bet here is to plan in advance (up to a year or more where possible) to ensure that you get your pick of the litter and not just the underwhelming, overpriced leftovers.
When traveling, many people opt still for a hotel but if not, the following platforms are great go-to’s for accommodation: Hostelworld , Agoda, Booking.com, Couchsurfing, beWelcome and Airbnb. Once heading off on a trip, it’s wise to let your card companies know that you’re traveling so your purchases don’t get suspended. It also wouldn’t hurt to look into Travel Insurance, which can come in pretty clutch while overseas.
Now that you’ve narrowed down where you want to go, all that’s left is to book, pack and go! Something to think about is this: the fact that no one thinks to themselves “something bad is going to happen to me while on vacation”, however, unfortunate events don’t discriminate. You should look into Travel Insurance as it protects against quite a few things. According to Forbes “Whether you’re spending money on a long-awaited trip or a spur-of-the-moment getaway, travel insurance can save you money, time and frustration if things go wrong.” This includes equipment getting damaged, getting robbed, sudden death in your family or friend circle causing you to fly home, bodily injury (broken toe while hiking?), Covid and flight cancellation. You can check out SafetyWing, World Nomads, Insure My Trip and Insured Nomads to see what type of policy might be best for you.
At this point, it isn’t a secret that Covid-19 made traveling highly complicated. As things have calmed down a great deal, still to take into consideration is the fact that contracting the virus (or any virus – the common cold can be a huge vibe-killer!) is still a possibility. That being said, once you’ve decided it’s safe to go to your desired location, all that’s left is to ensure that you, yourself have a clean bill of health and follow that country’s Covid-19 entry requirements and protocols if any are in effect.
Wherever your next trip takes you, I hope it’s everything you want and more!