Everytime I travel overseas, I always plan the travel itinerary all by myself. And I often get questions like “Isn’t it a hassle?” Or “How do you plan?” You see, many opted for group travel tours which saves the hassle of the need to attend to all the planning. Some don’t know where to start planning and other may not be able to afford the time to research thoughoutly. Here’s my version of a guide to planning a trip overseas all by yourself.
I have been to Seoul, Hongkong, Taipei, Bangkok and Penang. And I have researched and planned the itineraries to these countries. The guide below is what I have concluded to be useful to me for my planning.
Step 1: Research for the best flight for yourself.
Some travellers may seek for budget airlines, others may request for premium airlines. Choose what best suits you. Personally, I would prefer budget airlines for shorter trips (trips less than four hours) and premium airlines for the longer trips (Unless there is a promotion duh). In my most recent trip to Taipei, I spent approximately S$260 for a return trip (inclusive of baggage) with Scoot airline. Comfortable and affordable.
Step 2: Get yourself well-covered
After the purchase of the air tickets comes the worry of loss baggage, flight delay or accidents (Choy!) etc. With so many travel insurance plans in the market to choose from, the tip is not to get the best plan but to get yourself well-covered (and affordable). As much as you dislike to read the small prints of the insurance plan, at least make the effort to skim through and know what you have got yourself covered. This is, of course, optional. I would not usually get insurance for myself when I travel to nearby countries. However, if the place you are visiting is deemed as dangerous or had many past cases of loss baggage etc, you may want to consider. Also, you may want to keep a lookout for the weather of the country you are visiting. For instance, if you are visiting countries during their typhoon season, your flight will most likely get delayed or even cancelled.
Step 3: Accomodation
This is exactly the apartment I stayed in Taipei. With nana and her bunny. Nice and cosy. Going overseas does not necessary mean you have to stay in a hotel. Some of the hotels overseas are overpriced and may not be as convenient. If you’re open to new places, you may consider Airbnb or Coachsurfing. Personally, I have tried Airbnb for most of my trips and I must say every stay I had is pretty awesome. I’m able to share the places I would like to visit with my hosts and usually they will give me recommendations on where to go and how to go. They will also check up on you to see if you need any assistance or anything you need in their apartment. I have not tried Coachsurfing yet, and hopefully I am able to soon.
You can register here for a $28 credit: https://www.airbnb.com/c/dlai12
Step 4: Research, Read and Pen it down
Here comes the bulk of the travel itinerary. The itinerary is a guide for you, it gives you the idea on where to visit and possibly cross off some items on your bucket list. I enjoy the flexibility of planning trips myself as I am able to allocate which days to go to the night markets to eat my fill, to attend festivals or to go to theme parks. Read a lot, visit the libraries, read articles online, consult prestigious travelling websites and blogs or ask a friend! Write down the places you come across interested while reading. Consolidate and create a spreadsheet then insert the places you wish to visit according to the days into the itinerary. Ta-dah, your guide!
Step 5: Get ready for your trip!
Like going to camps, write out a list to pack your bags! Make sure to check out the baggage limit before you pack. Never forget to bring a few sets of clothing, toiletries etc. You may bring a good camera or just your mobile phone will suffice. After all, going overseas is not all about taking photos. Good planning brings you a long way, and no panic-attacks too.
Planning your own travel itinerary does not mean you’ll have to strictly follow the above sequence but it has to be well-considered. You can make your travels special and have an awesome trip!
Feel free to leave your comments/feedbacks and maybe share your own version of guide! 🙂