There is a saying out there that travel is not about the destination, but about the journey. And I totally agree. One of the things I love about traveling is the feeling of thrill and excitement that I get during the beginning stages of planning for a trip. From the moment I find out that my request to take days off from work has been approved to the moment when I’m finally stepping into the plane, that time in between is a necessary ingredient for a great travel experience.
Travelers plan and prepare for a trip in different ways. For me, there are five steps:
STEP ONE: Decide Where and When to Go
First and foremost, it has to be a place I’ve never been before. I got a long bucket list and I would rather spend my money on a new destination than go to the same city a second time. Next, I make my decision based on the cost, weather, and available activities. I check plane tickets regularly on Skyscanner, check which dates are the cheapest to fly, and see if the weather is tolerable during those days. I usually begin with two or three possible trips and eventually settle on one after doing a little research comparing what there is to do in each place or if there’s any interesting events worth checking out.
STEP TWO: Book the Flight and Accommodation
Once I’ve finally decided on the destination, I book the flight and immediately look for a room on Airbnb. I usually look for a listing that’s under $50 a night, in a central location close to public transit, and provides the necessities I need like wifi and a towel. I also make sure to read the reviews by other guests to get a better idea about the host and their experience with them. In rare occasions that I don’t find a decent room on airbnb, I am forced to look for a hostel or a really cheap hotel.
STEP THREE: Create an Itinerary
This is probably my favorite part. I go on Tripadvisor and other travel sites/blogs to learn the top things and places to check out in my chosen city. I enjoy seeing the popular attractions, but I also make an effort to experience something more local or out of the ordinary. After writing down the places I wanna see, I look up their locations on Google Maps in relation to my accommodation. Then I make a day by day itinerary where I arrange to visit a different area everyday. I try to avoid going back and forth and visiting the same places twice, unless that area is really great and worth checking out more than once. I know it’s not very carefree of me, but I like having a schedule to assure that I see as much places as I can when given just a few days to explore a city.
STEP FOUR: Pack
A few days before my trip, I start picking out which clothes to bring. I rarely travel for more than a week at a time so I never have to pack too many articles of clothing. I usually bring mostly tank tops and t-shirts, unless of course I’m going somewhere colder. I also bring an extra pair of shorts and sandals if going to the beach is part of the itinerary. Other things I must have with me on every trip are toiletries, laptop, camera, and my journal. I do my best to fit everything in one backpack since I’m not a fan of checking in luggage.
STEP FIVE: Double-Check Everything
Finally, right before leaving for my trip, I make sure I have everything I need and done everything I’m supposed to. I check my bag more than once to ensure that I got my passport, keys, phone & camera chargers, deodorant, etc. I make sure my flight is scheduled on time and that I have reliable transportation to get to the airport. Once I am certain that I have everything, I look around my room one last time for anything else I might have forgotten to close or turn off. I say goodbye to my dog Charlie, and head off to my next adventure.