How I Plan For a Big Trip

You guys may know that I’m going to Japan in a few month, because I keep bringing it up. Well I thought it would be fun to do a post on how I plan for a big trip. It’s the same way I planned for my Peru trip with Sarah in 2014, and Sydney trip with Rory back in 2016. It’s not how I planned for our honeymoon in Fiji last year, as we went with a resort package, so we just chilled. Basically, I like to plan a lot of the details. All of them, if at all possible. I’m talking flights, accommodation, transportation, activities, the whole nine yards.

Okay, so there’s wiggle room when it comes to activities, but basically, the more planning I do, the more prepared I feel.

lifestyle flatlay

For Sydney, I was a little more lenient with things. I planned flights and accommodation in advance, that was it. But we were travelling to our neighbour basically, so there wasn’t a culture or language barrier.

For Peru, we planned a lot. For each town we hit, we booked flights, transport, hotels, most activities in advance. Along the way, we would check up with each accommodation a few days before to make sure everything was all good. This month long trip went pretty much without a hitch. Our over the top planning made worked for us, and we even did a few spontaneous activities.

Some people are fine with leaving it to chance, and working it out as they go. I am not one of those people. If you say let’s go on a big trip. I want to know where we’re going, what will the weather be like, how long will it take to get there, do we have a place to stay at. Even with restaurants, I like booking in advance. Sure we could wing it, but then what if there’s no space, wouldn’t it have been better to make a reservation earlier. You get the picture, I like planning things.

So, rambles aside, here’s how I plan a big trip.

Destination. Obviously, you start with the destination. Where is it we want to go? Taking into account, how long the flight would be, how much it would cost, what do we know about the destination already (language, culture, sights), etc. For us, Japan had been a dream destination for a while. I was also keen on Iceland, but it takes over a day for us to fly there, and also costs an arm and a leg, so Japan it is!

Flights. The next thing I look at (or was already looking at) is flights. I try to pick ones with less layovers or stops, and that are on the same airline. I’m not fond of having to run through an unknown airport to catch a next flight on another airline. Lucky for us, Air New Zealand has direct flights from Auckland to Tokyo. Unlucky is that it leaves early in the morning, so we have to fly up to Auckland the night before. Once we find flights we’re happy with (and sometimes there’s a sale on!),ย  we buy them. I used to go through agencies, but now I like buying them on my own.

Accommodation.ย The idea of travelling somewhere and not booking a place is bizarre to me. Why wouldn’t you want the security of knowing where you’re staying in a foreign land? I’d want to know the reviews of the place, what’s around, prices, photos, etc. Trip Advisor is good for this, as it has photos taken by people who stayed there, as well as the professional one.

Budget.ย This is normally figured out right at the beginning, but once flights and accommodation are sorted, I really start glaring at those numbers. I need to figure in activites, transporation, food, and of course, some spending money.

Sights and Activities.ย Normally, after picking the destination, there’s already a few things I want to see and do there. Once I have the flights and accommodation booked, I turn my full attention to this. This can take the longest, and is also the most fun part of planning for me. Once I’ve picked everything I can think of, I start narrowing it down by price, whether it’s a day trip, half a day, or just a quick stop. Can you tell how much I plan things?

Itinerary.ย Okay, so, it’s not a really specific hour by hour itinerary, but I like to know which days require travel, or if we’ll be doing an all day trip. Especially if we’re going to multiple cities. This does have wiggle room though, some days it just says that we’re in a particular city all day. I just need to have pretty much the whole trip laid out in my head. This is where I’m up to for our upcoming Japan trip.

That’s pretty much it! Once I’ve hit all these things, then I just keep looking over it and counting down the days till we go! I’ve only done a few big trips, but they’ve gone pretty smoothly. I just like planning as it helps me feel less anxious about travelling away from home. Especially if it’s across the world.

How do you plan for a big trip?

Angela.

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55 thoughts on “How I Plan For a Big Trip

  1. I’m so excited for your trip that I can’t barely contain myself! I am looking forward to when you get back so you can share all the adventures, pictures, and tell us all the wonderful times you had. It’s going to be a great trip, I just know it :):):)

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  2. When I went to South Africa we booked the safari first then flights to make sure the safari worked then we worried about the Cape Town accommodation. Then I just made a massive list of everything I wanted to do in Cape Town. I think it was a bit different as mum had been there before but if she hadn’t I’d have done a lot more planning!

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    1. That’s interesting that you guys booked the safari first! I always make sure to have flights and accommodation first as it’s what I’m most worried about ๐Ÿ™‚

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      1. I think it’s because the safari was kind of the main part of the trip and what we were desperate to do. So we wanted to make sure we could do it and then plan around it if that makes sense

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  3. We tend to start with what we want to do, see when things are open or dates to avoid with events on. I think most of what we do is the same as you, but we tend to drive rather than fly as we’ve stayed within Europe and having the car is something my parents always prefer over hiring one.

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    1. I get that. If there’s something you want to do, then I understand planning the trip around that ๐Ÿ™‚ I was originally wanting to go to Japan in April (peak spring) so I can see cherry blossom trees, but there was an issue with Rory’s work, so we’re going in May instead ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. woah!! I bet this is a great way to make sure you get to see everything you want ?? I can definitely tell you like to plan! I like to do a bit of both, plan where to stay & how to get there, but leave the day-to-day & restaurant stuff to be a bit more spontaneous!

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    1. Haha, I really do like to plan! It makes me feel a lot less anxious when it comes time for us to go on the trip ๐Ÿ˜€
      When it comes to planning day to day stuff, I like to leave some wiggle room, depending on weather or what we want to do. But I do also like knowing what we’ll be doing most days haha! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. The biggest trips I have done I have gone with Exodus. As not had anyone to do the big trips with, I have joined a group led by Exodues. So they have planned itinerary. With friends / boyfriends I have done Europe beach or city hols and booked flights and accommodation and had ideas what to see but not on which day.

    Exodus do a Japan trip – would love to do it but thousands.

    I have seen a distant journeyโ€™s trip they does 28 days round New Zealand and then Australia would love to do that but I that is even more expensive.

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    1. I use booking.com when it comes to booking accommodation, but with flights I buy direct from the airline’s website. I’ve never bought a trip through an agency though, like one of those set ones, as I like to plan my own itinerary ๐Ÿ˜€
      Haha yes, visiting across the world gets super expensive! It’s why I haven’t got to the UK or US yet ๐Ÿ™‚

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  6. LOVE this! I am the same way. I like to have a game plan. Usually I under plan, so we are adding more activities, (I do things pretty quickly lol) which isn’t a bad thing, but also doesn’t overwhelm either. I love these pictures and I am SO excited for you and your trip to Japan! โค

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    1. Exactly, it’s a game plan! Haha, I’m calling it that from now on. I tend to over plan, but even when we’re there, we find more things we want to do, so it’s just figuring what we have time for ๐Ÿ˜€

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  7. I donโ€™t travel much, but I hope to one day and I would definitely be extreme with planning everything lol I think especially since I donโ€™t travel much! Iโ€™d just want to do and experience soo much in a new place. I know youโ€™re gonna have so much fun in Japan with lots to share!?โœจ

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    1. I hope you get to travel more! I don’t travel far often, but each time I have, I feel the need to plan lots haha! It just makes me feel more happy and prepared for the trip ๐Ÿ˜€

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    1. It’s pretty close now! Just under 2 months ๐Ÿ˜€
      I have no idea how many flight/hotel points I have, but I’m guessing they’re adding up. I should check ๐Ÿ™‚

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  8. I do pretty much the same things even for the small trips lmao. Except for flights of course, donโ€™t need to do that haha. I usually start with destination then plan with whatever fits in our budget lol. Iโ€™ve already planned our short weekend at the end of the month, it should be a fun one but itโ€™s still going to be pretty expensive, especially for us lol.

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    1. I plan less for small trips as they’re for a shorter amount of time, so I feel less stressed about ti haha! It’s nice to head out for small weekend trips away sometimes! I’d love to do one ourselves lately, but we’re trying to focus on saving up again ๐Ÿ˜€

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      1. well for us, even small trips are exciting and we want to make it worth our while, I actually love planning things so it’s not stressful at all. I’m always like “oooh, look Alex! We can go here! And here! And over here too!” If you’ve seen those silly anime shows with that kind of character, that’s ME! hahaha
        Yeah no kidding, after this one we’re saving up for another small trip in the summer. That’s all we can do for now, we will have time and money when Ciel gets older and he’ll be more understanding too ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Thank you! I like planning a lot of details when it comes to trips. Things happen, but since I’ve planned, then I still feel prepared and don’t freak out too much haha! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  9. Oooo you will absolutely love Japan, I spent 6 weeks there a decade ago and am so desperate to go back! I’m the same as you in terms of travel planning, there’s no way I could go somewhere without having accommodation booked but I am a bit more relaxed now in terms of transfers and getting between places though. I think it’s just come with living in a country where I don’t speak the language! x

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    1. I’m so excited for the trip! I hope you get to go back sometime ๐Ÿ˜€
      I just feel so much more secure knowing that I have booked somewhere to stay already! It’s something you don’t have to worry about after travelling for so long ๐Ÿ™‚

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  10. Haha this is exactly how I plan my trips… I love planning and preparing. Excited for your trip and looking forward to more blogs about Japan ? happy journey ?

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  11. I can’t wait to read all about your trip to Japan!! Whenever we go on city breaks away, my mum takes it upon herself to come up with an iternary for us all and it really does help to have it all planned ahead of time ? xx

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    1. I’m so excited for Japan! I can’t wait till May haha!
      That’s cool that your Mum does itineraries too, I find that it just helps when you have a plan ahead of time ๐Ÿ˜€

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  12. I always overplan every aspect of a trip! I’m one of those people who absolutely needs to have everything figured out and I could spend full days searching for activities, accomodations, etc…
    Peru was so great for us because we went with a tour company that literally took care of everything so we just enjoyed the ride! Panama will be the same thing, It’s so much stress off my mind not worrying about anything but booking flights =D

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    1. I’m pretty much like that too! Haha, I need to know each aspect is planned.
      See, I don’t think I could leave it to an agency like that, as I would want to know more about the places we’re staying at ?

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  13. I can’t wait to hear all about Japan! I normally am a big planner but when traveling with certain people (like my mom) I can’t as it’s too stressful because she doesn’t have any idea how to plan anything! LOL.

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    1. I’ve only ever done a big trip with my friend Sarah (who is also a big planner) or with Rory (who leaves me to plan everything as he knows I want to) so I dont know how i would go planning for a trip with anyone else Haha! I feel like i would be the same and try plan everything ๐Ÿ˜‚

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