This is exactly what we have learned from our first international trip. Everyone loves to visit places. Especially an international trip is everyone’s dream too. But when it comes to planning the same on your own is as scary as it sounds. But it isn’t.
We planned our first international trip in 2017 to Dubai and Europe. And we had similar thoughts. All we knew about were the name of the places we wanted to visit. Nevertheless, we were determined to plan our trip on our own and not to book any preplanned trips from agencies. So we started our research in all the possible ways. Be it through the internet or asking people who have traveled before. And it was a Hit.
Hence we thought of sharing our experience in planning our international trip with you all. And here goes our first Blog Post on the same!!
The 7 easy steps on planning your International trip
Yes ! you heard it right. 🙂
Planning an international trip is not a headache anymore. All you need is to have a determination to do it on your own. The rest explained below. And You can achieve your dream in 7steps.
The first step is to fix the destination. You might have seen so many travel pictures on Instagram or Pinterest. Yes, that’s the right place to dig in! Once something catches your eyes, research about it and make a plan.
On a general note, it is always advisable to consider factors like:
- Time of the year/Season during which you are planning to Visit: Winter/ Summer
- Duration of Visit: number of days total spend
- Budget: Obviously because traveling to an Inexpensive country and Expensive does make a difference. You should have a fair idea around the budget and ensure you spend on necessary things.
The second step is to plan a sample itinerary on a wider perspective.
- Start your research on the destination.
- Get familiarized with the layout of the city and public transportation.
- Finalize the arrival airport for destinations that have alternate airports
- Major attractions to visit.
- Time of the year you are planning to visit
- Duration of your stay.
These things are to be decided on a wider perspective since you need to show the same in your Visa application.
The next immediate step is to look upon the visa requirements for your nationality. As we are from India, we have to apply for the Visa prior to the travel to certain countries.
For this, we use VFS global services
All you need is to go to their site and
- Provide the information needed from your end.
- Get ready with the required documents in hand.
- Apply for the visa online.
- Schedule an appointment at the nearest application center.
- Wait for the Visa and passport.
Once you are done with Visa, You can narrow down your Itinerary and think of including the hidden gems you missed on the second step.
- For first time applicants, it is better to consult a Travel agent and cross-check the documents that you need to present during the appointment to ensure that you have everything covered.
- Get Travel insurance through a travel agent or online.
- Visit CDC – Centre for disease control and prevention to know about the Health requirements and vaccines needed to be taken prior to your travel.
Once the dates are fixed, the next step is to book the flight. We prefer looking at Google flights at first for the various options available.
And then the actual booking is done through our personal favorite website, Sky scanner. We love this site is for its flexibility. They show the best deals for different combinations of flights and different service providers.
- Browse for flights in incognito/private mode OR clear the cache as the price may shoot up otherwise.
- Check alternate available airports depending upon your convenience of travel and budget.
- Look for multiple combinations of travel instead of always booking round trips.
- Allow Emails, SMS notifications for fare alerts and offers.
The next step is to book accommodation. This is really important because you need to make sure there is enough availability for your type of stay.
We mainly use these sites for accommodations:
- As a first step, we check Trivago or Hotels combined in order to compare the deals from different sites.
- Fix the type of accommodation like resort, hotel, hostel, and stay with hosts. We majorly use the sites below:
- Visit Trip Advisor to get a quick review of the hotel you have booked from fellow travelers.
A quick tip: Search for those which have free cancellation in case of any modifications that may come later.
6. Local transport
Following the accommodation is finding the local transport in the place you are staying in. While planning the itinerary, do research around the place and modes of transport. This helps you decide the airport pickup/drop, intercity/ inters country travel, and moving around.
For getting from one place to another, we mostly prefer making the most out of local transport unless we see some negative reviews around safety. This gives you the privilege of getting to know about the culture of the place and also meet fellow residents.
If you are planning a road trip, opt for Car rental service. One of the best service providers is Economy bookings. They also provide airport pick up and drop at reasonable rates.
You can avail of the travel passes which include local transport from different service providers. Many countries provide visitor passes for tourists. It consists of hop on hop off bus services which stop at tourist attractions, audio guides about the places, and tours. This can be booked from their official sites online or will be available at the airports itself.
- Check the sites online prior to travel to get a brief idea around the pricing and the features of services include in the pass even if you don’t purchase them then. It may include some offers too.
- For booking, tours check Trip advisor.
Note down the things to do and places to visit, Read reviews about it.
- Another site that provides tours and passes is Viator.com
We mostly prefer Viator as they are reliable and have different options for passes, Tours, Food suggestions.
For communication, you can depend on Wi-Fi and Social media as an inexpensive method. As its available for free in for most of the cities and if you want to do by other conventional means, see the other methods. Like activating international roaming from your current network provider by seeing their plans, Get a new sim card (purchase it before hand by booking online or at the airport or even the local stores).
Once the above 6 things are sorted, next is packing: Apz’s personal favorite one!
Most of the people don’t pay much attention to this. But we personally feel this actually makes a big difference in your travel if given proper importance.
Listed below are the couple of things to be noted while packing.
Remember the three ‘C’s.
- Climate: If your destination has a varying climate, pack clothes accordingly.
- Culture: Certain places will have their culture and traditions that everyone must follow. It will be awkward if you violate them.
- Convenience: Choosing the right luggage comes here. If you are traveling for a short trip, small carry-on luggage or backpack would be enough. Else go for a big trolley/suitcase that will fit your needs.
- Pack a few spare outfits if in case of any unexpected emergencies.
- Split up your luggage into backpacks and Trolleys. It would be easier to move it around rather than carrying a single bigger one.
- Check the airline’s website, read their luggage rules that provide the exact dimensions and weight of all your bags. The airline charges you a whole sum if your bags are overweight.
- Make a checklist that includes all the essentials you need to carry while traveling.
- Keep copies of your travel documents, including your passport, Visa, Itinerary, travel insurance policy, emergency phone numbers, and tour/pass booking confirmations.
Once all this is done, Ready steady GO! Don’t forget to memorize your experiences in the form of pictures/documents so that it is useful for your near and dear ones.
So, these are the main key points and steps which we have done for our first international trip. Hope this was informative to all of you. If you feel we have missed out on any points, please let us know through comments. Also, feel free to share your thoughts on this 🙂