STEP 1 – CHOOSE YOUR DESTINATION
Where do you want to go?
Your first step in how to start planning a trip is to choose a travel destination that meets your interests and travel budget.
Are you planning overseas travel or a domestic trip at home? Either way, the whole idea of taking a trip is to have a memorable time, to have fun and relax, and not to spend your whole vacation time worrying about money.
How much time do you have?
If you only have 1-2 weeks of vacation time per year, don’t waste too much of that time traveling toand from your destination. Plan your trip accordingly.
But if you have 2-4 weeks or over a month you can look at taking an overseas trip or traveling further within your home country.
Who are you traveling with?
When you plan your trip, your destination choices can be affected by your traveling companions.
Sit down with other members of your traveling group and discuss your ideas and interests. Memorable trips are those where each member gets to experience something they love.
Don’t leave it to one person to make all the decisions. Or, maybe you could take turns in choosing a destination each year!
What kind of experiences do you like?
To have a memorable trip, choose a destination that allows you to have experiences you enjoy.
Do you like:
- Relaxation or adventure
- Beaches or mountains
- Summer or winter
- Cities or countryside
- Resorts or road trips
- Festivals and culture
- Shopping or food experience
- Luxury, mid-range, or budget
Are you the type of person who likes to sit by the pool all day with a book? Or would this bore you to death? By answering these types of questions you can narrow down your list of where you want to go for your dream trip!
When to Go?
Weather and crowds play an important role when you plan your trip. For your chosen destination, do you know when the high season and low season is?
If you are fortunate enough to be flexible in when you can take your vacation time, good for you!
STEP 2 – BOOK FLIGHTS FOR YOUR TRIP
Once you have chosen your destination, step two in planning a trip is to book your flights. And learning how to find cheap flights will help you to reduce one of your biggest travel expenses.
As a traveling family, if it’s an overseas trip and a long haul flight I like to plan my trip so we get to our destination as quickly as possible, with the most amount of comfort and facilities our budget allows!
If it’s your one-and-only dream vacation for the year, and you only have 1-2 weeks, I recommend you pay the little bit extra for a premium airline and fly direct too!
Searching for flights
What sites are helpful for planning a trip online?
When searching for cheap flights online we always start with Skyscanner, it’s one of our favorite booking sites.
Skyscanner is a comparison site that searches millions of flights from over a thousand airlines, and once you’ve found your flight on Skyscanner you are taken to the airline or agency to make your booking (no extra fees added).
Download the new Skyscanner App, which makes it easier for you to find the best travel deals. It’s an all in one flights, hotel and car hire search engine app!
Go direct to the airlines
After you have used the flight search engines suggested above and found your best flight, go directly to that airline’s own website and see if you can get it for cheaper.
Many airlines have lower fares only available on their own site.
STEP 3 – BOOK ACCOMMODATION FOR YOUR TRIP
Where you sleep is your other major fixed travel expense, so choosing the best accommodation for your needs at the best price will free up more money for activities.
For us, traveling with kids is not about finding the cheapest accommodation, but getting the BEST VALUE for our money! We don’t like to rough it as much as we used to pre-kids.
Depending on the length of our trip and the destination, we chop and change between accommodation styles.
If I am planning my trip that’s longer than a weekend getaway we prefer to stay in apartments. They offer several benefits:
- Access to a full kitchen
- Separate bedrooms from the living room
- You have your own laundry.
- You can book a 3 or 4-bed apartment and split the costs with another family or friends.
These extra facilities on a long stay can make your trip so much more enjoyable. But if it’s a short city stay, or we’re just traveling as a couple, we’re happy to stay in a hotel.
Search Accommodation Deals
Our favorite accommodation search website is Booking.com. They have over 1 million properties worldwide in 200 countries.
Besides listing all the major hotel brands, you can find a variety of low-cost independently owned hotels that can be difficult to find elsewhere.
We find their website user-friendly and recommend you start your accommodation search there when you plan your trip.
- Book now, pay later at check in
- Free cancellation on most rooms
- 24/7 customer service
- Best price guarantee
On the Booking.com website you can search for:
When you plan your trip also consider Airbnb. They are another one of our favorite accommodation sites when I plan my trip.
Airbnb are in 180 countries and you can book entire apartments and houses, or just spare bedrooms allowing you the choice between having the place all to yourself or staying with and getting to know the owner.
Even if you never meet your host, you’ll get to feel more like a local.
STEP 4 – GETTING AROUND
Another thing to consider when planning a trip is to find out the transportation options in your chosen destination.
Will you need to book a rental car or pre-purchase any transportation passes online? Is there a train or bus service? Are there taxis or Uber? Can you simply walk to most places?
For example, when you visit Sydney you need an Opal Card to get around on public transport. When you visit London you need an Oyster Card for public transportation. Are you planning to travel through Europe by train?
During your travel planning research the transport options for your destination. This will save you time and stress once there.
If you need a rental car, booking online in advance will almost always get you a better deal than if you just show up at the counter. And it’s easier and quicker.
The last thing you want to do after a long flight is deal with rental car companies at the airport and negotiate a deal.
The quickest way to compare rental companies is to use an aggregator site that searches all the major car brands at once and checks which supplier offers the best prices for your chosen dates and location.