Eugene L | e2thatop

Planing Your Travel

Sep 7th 2010 at 8:48 AM

Half the fun of traveling is in the planning. Following the process outlined below can ensure you receive the maximum pleasure for your time and money. Your objective should be to arrive at your destination with the information and preparation you need to enjoy it to the max.

1. Determining Your Parameters

  • What is my budget?
  • How much time do I have?
  • What level of accommodation and food will satisfy me?
  • Will I be happy with minimal luggage, or will I need more clothing to be comfortable?
  • Do I have health restrictions?
  • Do I require travel insurance?
  • What are my travel partner(s) needs?

For example: My wife and I want to travel as comfortably as possible while maintaining our budget. We enjoy meeting people and trying new food. Some of the parameters that have worked for us, and which I would recommend for anyone, are:

  • Plan your arrivals, departures and packing to conform with new security procedures.
  • Travel May/June or Sept./Oct. - weather is still likely to be good, but you'll avoid the summer heat.
  • Consider winter travel when you're most likely to benefit from off-season hotel rates.
  • Travel by train and bus - drive only when it's impossible to efficiently use public transportation.
  • Find the best-value, whether in 3, 4 or 5-star accommodations.
  • Eat most meals at neighborhood spots to meet the locals and enjoy local cuisine at fair prices.
  • Travel with one piece of luggage each, which is carry-on size on wheels with a retractable handle. New security rules have made traveling with carry-on-only more difficult. Be prepared, if required to check your luggage, by keeping your medical necessities and essential items in a separate carry-on case.

2. Deciding on a Destination
Get ideas from everywhere and everyone - the Internet , tourist offices, The Travel Channel, friends, travel agents, guide books, travel videos, you name it. Apply your parameters against what you have learned. (If you hate the heat, you're not going to choose the Sahara in July.)

3. Planning your Specific Trip
Start six months before your departure. Revisit the sources you used when deciding where to go and look for more specific information such as history, culture, architecture, foods, geography, key points of interest, money matters, shopping, transportation, etc. Obtain maps, transportation schedules, and costs for your itinerary.

4. Determining Your Itinerary
Be patient. It will probably take several tries to settle on a firm itinerary. Be flexible. That way you can take advantage of 'deals' available that require particular departure and return dates. Once you have decided on where to start your trip, and how long you can be away, book your flight. Some of the 'rules' that have helped us include:

  • Select locations from which you can do day trips to other places.
  • Avoid stays of fewer than two nights whenever possible.
  • Give yourself enough time to get what you want from each destination.
  • Remember that getting from place-to-place takes time and may be tiring.
  • Investigate the different transportation options open to you and their costs.
  • You can save substantially by planning properly.

5. Making your Hotel Reservations
Once you know how many nights you will be in each location, you are ready to select hotels to contact from the hotel information you have acquired. When you contact hotels, ask them to send you city maps with their hotel and train and bus stations clearly marked.   We prefer communicating by e-mail or fax, to have a printed record of the agreement. This avoids misunderstandings that can occur when reserving by phone.

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