Planning Your Next Trip
- First Choose where to GO….
- Customize where you want to travel.
- Book your flight.
- Choose from the hotels and activities.
- Look for information.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve started to plan a trip and change my mind every other day. First, look at a map on google to see where you want to go and what you like to visit. I LOVE to travel and I DON’T LOVE to plan, but you need to know where to start. It can be overwhelming at times, especially if you don’t know where to start.
Usually, we don’t plan, we choose a place and go. Other times, it is better to plan if we rent a car and visit all the little villages on the road. Planning doesn’t have to be hard!!
But, still, with some restrictions from airlines and other countries, I need a bit of planning this time.
Ok, Let’s see what we can do!!
*1 CONSIDER WHAT KIND Of TRIP YOU WILL LIKE FIRST
Are you into cruising or are you interested in an all-inclusive resort or flying across the world !!
I have a bucket list with all the places we wanted to visit, I will choose the one I am dying to see first.
You have to think about what your trip should look like, your pace of travel, how long you are going for ETC… For a cruise, you will choose a destination with places you want to see from your list.
Are you looking to stay in a resort where you relax and unwind for a week OR do you want to be on the move and see something new every day!! Do you want to rent a car and visit places/villages or take a train to other destinations?
When it comes to the cruise, will you be booking a guided excursion or do you prefer to explore on your own? (It will be cheaper walking by yourself or taking the hop on hop off buses.)
Flying first class or economy!! Think budget before you make up your mind.
Take a minute to answer these questions because it will help you determine what your trip is going to look like and it will start your planning and budgeting.
I’m currently planning a trip to Italy with my two sons and grandson. This time my son is making all the itineraries Lol. Italy is on my bucket list also. On this trip, we are renting a car for a few days and the train for the next step.
*2 TAKE TIME TO PLAN YOUR NEXT TRIP- MAKE A LIST
If we are planning a trip too many weeks in advance, I will change a few more things and that’s not good practice.
Speaking of planning, make sure your travel plans are within your budget range as part of your plans.
Some travellers will have to do it if they want to make the most of it.
*I use a Planner that I design, with all the information I need for budgeting.
*I write on my travel planner every place I want to visit, the list is growing all the time.
*Maybe revisit favourite destinations.
*Maybe, I am thinking of a spur-of-the-moment trip to take advantage of good deals.
*3 PICK A DESTINATION
Look at your bucket list and decide where to go first.
Before you worry about the practical stuff, make a list of all the places you’d like to see. Begin by writing down everywhere you’d love to go. If your wish list is a little too long, start prioritizing. You will have time later to visit other places.
If you don’t have a specific place in mind and require a little inspiration, talk to friends or family about their favourite trips. Look at Google destinations that catch your eye and there are plenty of travel blogs to read, Pinterest and Instagram also.
You finally choose your destination SO!!! What time of year are you planning to travel? Is it the off-season? We prefer travelling off-season, you might like high season!! For the high season, it will be more expensive and more people. Your flights might be more expensive or less available.
Off-season, usually their flight are cheaper so are the hotels. Less crowded also.
*4 SET YOUR BUDGET
Once you’ve determined what your trip will look like and where you want to go, you can more easily set a budget. You need to include all aspects of your trip such as your transportation (flights, car rental, taxi, etc.), lodging, activities and entertainment, food, travel insurance, gratuities and more.
On a cruise or an all-inclusive, everything is free. The only additional expenses will be offshore buying souvenirs or tips for the bartender.
Set a limit on your souvenir. It’s important to consider how much you will spend on each place of your trip depending on your type of vacation and destination. Look at your numbers before you start booking think.
Look at deals for a cruise. You can take a cruise vacation for less than you think. You will save on room accommodation, all your food is included and you don’t have to spend anything extra on the ship if you want.
We give ourselves $35.00 a day in case we want a coffee, pastry or souvenir while stopping at the port. On some cruises, you will have to pay gratuities which are typically automatically charged on the first day of your cruise. The set rate varies depending on the cruise line and recommended tipping value for staff.
*5 START BY SEEKING INSPIRATIONS
Believe it or not, your vacation starts long before you board the plane. Watch movies and read books about your chosen destination. It’s a great way to get inspired and figure out what to see.
**Map out your route
Get out your map and make sure you plan the most efficient route. I print a google map of the place I want to go and highlight everything you can see around the hotel and where you can walk. You don’t want to waste time doubling back on yourself. Map out also a day trip by train.
**Timing is everything
Don’t forget to look up the weather report and pick your travel dates accordingly. Pay attention to things like monsoon season and cold winters and bear in mind that warm summer weather means lots of crowds. Do some research on when things are open, too. Paris and some other places in Europe are not open on Sundays, only to restaurants and churches. I found out the last time we went on vacation.
*6 BOOK YOUR FLIGHT
Once I’ve determined my destination I look for the prices of my flight. Usually, in the middle of the week seats are cheaper. Check pricing on multiple airline websites.
*7 BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATIONS
To decide where to stay, you need to consider the environment in which you would like to stay. Do you prefer high-end hotels, moderate hotels or private apartments/condos?
We try them all. The apartment was very good but the inconvenience was you cook and cleaned. On top of that, you have to leave money for the cost of the cleaning crew!! Ah! the expensive hotel, we were not impressed with that one (no wifi in the room, only in the lobby and no free breakfast).
For me, the cost is one of the most important factors of where I will stay because staying within the budget is key to more travel later. I’ll always find a comfortable and budget-friendly in every destination. Might not be the five starts, but give me a clean and free breakfast and I am happy.
*8 PLAN YOUR DAY/ACTIVITIES
So you’ve chosen your destination, your flight, accommodations, and/or cruise. Now it’s time to think about what you’re going to do, what you want to see. Take time to look at your map and decide on your itinerary.
When we visit a new place, I’m all about researching places before we go.
I want to see everything that I can and make sure I don’t miss anything. The “Shopping” will be while walking and seeing something interesting LOL…
When we spent five days this past fall in Bruxelles, I had an itinerary for us. I wanted to get out and explore as soon we landed, jet lag or not. We miss a few places and we add more choices. Sometimes trying to stick to an itinerary is not a must!! Nothing is set in stone.
While planning excursions when we cruise, I look at all the ports we are stopping at and choose where to go and what to do. Usually, you have between eight to ten hours to visit and try not to miss the boat.
Again, depending on the type of vacation you are planning, the activities and excursions will vary, but you should still spend time figuring it out as part of your planning process.
*9 BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE
I recommended that you purchase travel insurance for any of your trips. It will protect you against illness, accidents, emergencies, and even death. Most insurance carriers will include a pre-existing condition clause in the coverage depending on your age.
DON’T FORGET, INSURANCE WILL NOT PAY IF YOU CHANGE YOUR MEDICATIONS BEFORE LEAVING ON YOUR TRIP.
Any change in medication can be considered a change in treatment. It is important to notify your insurance of all medication changes, no matter what kind it is. When it comes to travel insurance, an increase in medication is not necessarily a bad thing, and a decrease or stop in medication is not necessarily positive.
*10 CHECK COUNTRY ENTRY REQUIREMENTS & UNDERSTAND CULTURAL NORMS
The first thing you need to travel internationally is a passport or a visa( depending on the place).
If your passport has recently expired or is about to expire, be sure to plan enough time to get it renewed before your trip. Some countries require that you have at least six months remaining on your passport for entry.
You’ll also want to learn the cultural norms before travelling to your destination. Starting with the official language. Now your phone can translate if you cannot understand their language, find an APP you like and download it. Very easy to use.
There can also be cultural norms around greetings, food, dress, and public space. Do you need to cover your arms or legs in public? Educate yourself before you make a “faux pas” in another country.
*11 ORGANIZE YOUR TRIP DETAILS
Get organized. Make sure you’re documenting or taking pictures of everything before you leave. Your hotel, flight, car rental etc… On our last trip to China, we show the taxi driver my phone with the address of the hotel, it was the easiest way to communicate. I keep things organized digitally, also I have a book with all other info in it, just in case no WIFI.
*12 YES, WHAT TO PACK
First look online what will the weather be like where you are going, it will help with what to pack.
Are you going to the beach, hiking, or walking the whole day!!
For some cruises, you might need formal wear!!
If my trip is longer than usual I always pack a small amount of laundry detergent, just in case. Don’t forget good shoes for walking.
*13 GET YOUR SHOTS
Get all your shots, before your trip. A travel doctor or Pharmacist will tell you what you need depending on the location of your trip. I keep all mine with my passport.
Ok!! Now you are ready to GO!! Here are some places you might look at before you decide on your trip.
*Did You Know that Seniors Get Discounts on Hotels and hop on buses?
You probably know that most hotel chains offer discounts of 10-20% for seniors. These are usually easy to find on the hotels’ websites and are similar to a AAA discount.
**Hop on Buses
Hop on Hop off buses they give you a discount, but you have to tell them. Many seniors look too young these days, lol.
*Resources for Last Minute Retirement Travel
Travellers after retirement, have a lot more freedom to take advantage of last-minute deals and opportunities.
There are quite a few websites and apps that can help you with these spur-of-the-moment trips:
Our first cruise was a last-minute deal and we save a bundle.
LastMinuteTravel: As its name suggests, this site is dedicated to last-minute travel deals.
Hotel Tonight: Hotel Tonight is an app. They get unsold inventory from hotels for that night and make it available to app users at a big discount.
Sign up for the newsletters on some sites, to keep an eye on how prices for your desired destinations change over time so that you’ll know a good deal when you see one.
*Think Seriously About Travel Insurance.
Here is some info, so many choices out there!!
*Secrets to Getting Discounts on Cruises
Cruises are popular for retirement travel and there are lots of resources to help you find the right cruise at the best price:
See our post on our first cruise, we did enjoy it. Many places to see every day, by excursions or just walking the town. The Hop On buses are great if you are limited to walking.
https://www.oceaniacruises.com/ This one is the most luxury ship and a bit pricy.
*Join a Tour
There are numerous travel companies that target retirees for travel after retirement. This is not for us, but some people like travelling this way.
Senior Discovery Tours | Guided Tours & Travel | Senior Tours