Travel Tips

Trip Planning 101



Pre-trip planning:

  1. Pick a location – check the weather, festivals and celebrations, pricing for the season and rough costs. Depending on the type of trip, you may want to check the state department for travel warnings in the country(ies) of interest.
  2. Check your passport – most countries require 6 months validity remaining and enough pages to fit all your stamps/visas for the trip.
  3. What are the visa requirements?For US citizens, they are listed here. Many visas take weeks to receive, but there are services to expedite if you want to shell out the cash.
  4. What immunizations are needed?You can check this on the CDC website. If you need a shot outside of the standard immunizations provided by your local primary care physician you’ll need to visit a travel clinic. Travel clinics charge a fee just for an appointment, so be sure you have the full list of where you’re headed and shop around locally for the best facility. If your local hospital has a travel clinic it’s usually more affordable. Some insurance carriers will cover the cost of the immunizations, but many will not. If you’re concerned about cost, I recommend calling the clinic to verify the list of shots/pills and then checking if your insurance will cover some/all of the costs.

Flush out preliminary logistics (transport and lodging):

Many sites are available to help you in booking everything needed for your next adventure:

  1. Flights:
    Sky ScannerAlso check this local list of airlines by country to complete individual searches for regional trips and legs within the trip.
  2. Bus/Train/Car:
  3. Lodging:

Figure out roughly what you’d like to do/see (if you feel like going this far with planning):

Lonely planet
Trip advisor

Organize your trip – again another step only some of us would like to take :):

You can plug all your details into Tripit or if that’s over the top for you, just make sure you have city guides available to you offline (tons accessible on the app store) when you get where you’re going.

Sites like will let you easily sync reservations to your calendar (google cal, ical, exchange, etc.).  Look for the icons when booking on various sites to see if you have the option to do that or add flights to passbook, etc. to make your plans accessible wherever you are.

Hostels/hotels can hand you a map on arrival and you can do a city tour without much planning, but there are small things here and there that require pre-planning. Japan’s high speed rail for instance must be booked prior to arriving in the country. I would skim the basics and have some idea of what you’d like to see/how you can get there. If you’re traveling on a tight budget, planning can help you stay on track with your cash and ensuring you are taking the most cost effective option every time.

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