Many people find it hard to start planning for a trip and end up relying on travel agencies to settle that part. It is especially difficult for students like me to take up packages offered by travel agencies. However, it can actually be a manageable task as long as the important components of a trip have been decided.
1) Know your travel dates.
This is an extremely important first step. A lot of my friends often expressed their interest and intention to travel but many have failed to keep their dates and time in mind. There isn’t a need to be super specific in the exact dates but at least have an idea which week/month you intend to travel in.
As most already know, booking flights on a specific day of the week make a lot of difference in terms of price and availability. Hence, knowing that week you want to travel in makes booking so much easier. So, instead of saying “I want to travel to Bangkok in May”, find out your availability and start off the search with “I want to travel to Bangkok FROM 6th to 10th May“. Applications such as Skyscanner allow users to select their preferred date(s) and compare the prices.
PS: When booking flights, try as best to go incognito. The prices fluctuate according to demand and they do go up, albeit slightly, when we use them.
2) Know your budget.
Students like me often face the problem of having little finances to supply this expensive hobby of ours. We don’t want to travel with the constant fear of having no money to spend or shun away from travelling with that terrible thought of having insufficient dollars for that coveted trip. Hence, having the budget in mind makes planning so much more effective.
Split your budget into various categories:
- Travel (moving around)
- Miscellaneous (eg. data plans)
Based on the purpose of your trip, allocate more for the one you deem important. For instance, if I am fine with a reasonably less comfortable seat on the 5 hours plane ride to Taipei but more uptight about the comfort of my 6 nights, I would allocate more for Accommodation compared to Flight. Often, I face the situation where both categories seem equally important. This is when I wished that I was rich. So, unless you are some rich kid, compromising is very much necessary.
3) Search for deals.
It is important to look for the best deals, be it for the air ticket or the hotel stay. It is not true that one must go through booking applications such as Expedia or Trivago to get the best deals. In some instances, the airline or hotel do offer prices that better those of such apps.
The trick is to download the airline mobile applications and follow them on social media. Most information on their cheap deals are disseminated via Instagram, Facebook and even Twitter. It is usually through these platforms that their fast and cheap deals come through to the observant and prepared buyers.
4) Do your research.
For a free and easy trip, there has to be research done. It is either the adoption of itineries from past travelers or the constant use of our best friend, Google. The former is for sure the lazier and easier option but the latter helps to ensure that you get a lot of information and most of them are relatively up-to-date.
The most common finds would be:
- Visa requirements
- Airport transfers
- Embassy information
- Tourist attractions
- Public transport/taxi hotlines
With these tips, you just have to grab those friends to hop onto your trip and have a blast! Share it with your besties!