I love planning. I really do. Planning a trip, for me, is almost as much fun as the trip itself. The anticipation, thinking about what you’re going to do, where you’ll stay, how to travel. I really love it. Usually, I plan short trips, a week max, and pick one or two cities that we’ll visit. It’s easy planning. Decide on a city, pick a hotel and then find out what kind of activities you want to do when you’re there. A bigger trip, like a honeymoon, however, requires a lot more work. So I made a step to step guide on how to plan a perfect journey.
This is not the first time I’m planning a trip of this scale. We had planned to visit Iceland in 2020 and, with some input of the Boyfriend, of course, I planned the entire route, chose hotels and B&B’s, and made a considerable list of things we wanted to see. The journey would have been amazing. Of course, covid hit, so we couldn’t actually do it, but the plans are still there, waiting for us to finally go.
Before we do that, I have to plan a wedding AND a honeymoon. In some earlier posts I already talked about finding the perfect location. This is the first step:
Deciding where you want to go is obviously the first step. If you decide on a small citytrip, the planning phase is easy, but if you’ll want a longer, extended vacation where you’ll visit several cities and landmarks, the first thing you’ll have to do is pick a country. For our honeymoon, we are going to Australia. Step one complete!
For me, Lonely Planet’s Honeymoon Handbook helped a lot in picking a location. This book is specific to Honeymoons but there are many, many, MANY other books to help you find the perfect location for your journey.
Decide on which area of the country you’ll want to visit. When planning the trip to Iceland, we decided that we wanted to see everything. Which is possible, as it’s not that big a country. For Australia, however, if you want to visit everything, you’re gonna need months instead of weeks. As I’m pretty sure my boss wouldn’t allow me to go away for months, we had to make some decisions on what areas we wanted to visit.
I asked around on Instagram what we definitely should visit, googled and looked through some books. Me and the Boyfriend made an excel sheet with all the areas in Australia and jotted down all the cool places I had come across. Two areas had the longest lists, so the decision to visit those two was easily made. For us this was Queensland and Sydney & New South Wales.
Pick a begin and end for your trip. All the places in between, you can look at later, but it’s important to set a beginning and an end, so you can buy your plane tickets early (which most of the times means they’ll be cheaper). The easiest way is to put all the places you wanted to visit in google maps, and let google plan your route. You’ll easily see a begin and end point.
Now is the time to fill in the spaces in between. I always buy a Lonely Planet or another guide of the area I’m visiting and then just read a lot and write down all the places I want to visit. Do some thorough research so you won’t miss a thing.
Turn on notification on flight tickets. If you know where you’re starting and where you’ll be going home again, find airports in the area and turn on notifications so you’ll get a message when the flight tickets are cheap. If you want to go by car, boat or train, of course you can skip this step and just buy the tickets as soon as possible, as they will probably get more expensive the longer you wait.
I haven’t used a flight deal alert yet, but I’m going to do it for Australia, as the tickets are usually quite pricey. I found a blogpost with a list of ten websites that offer these alerts.
Decide on transport. You know where you’re going, how you’re going to get there and where you want to go. But how are going to get around in the country? If you want to go by train, buy tickets early, as they’re cheaper the sooner you book. If you want to fly, use the flight deal alerts. If you want to rent a car or a van, do this early too, and make sure you google what kind of car you’ll need. For instance, if you’re going to Iceland, you are going to need a fourwheeldrive.
Decide what you want to do, fill in the details. You know the cities and you know your route. This is the time to find museums, galleries, theme parks, theatres, parks, landmarks, anything you like. Make a planning for what you want to do in each city. Check out the best restaurants and find what the specialties of the country are.
If you know what you want to do in each city, you can decide how much time you want to spend everywhere and make a thorough time planning. You can also decide to wing it, just have a list of things you’ll want to do and a couple of days in each city, and decide what you’re going to do when if you’re there.
Find hotels and B&Bs and other accomodations you want to stay in, and book them, unless you are winging it, of course, as per the previous step. I’m always a fan of booking.com, as you can book now and only pay the hotels when you get there, so you don’t have to spend all your money at once.
Buy tickets to museums and other places you want to visit, for faster entrance and sometimes it’s cheaper too. For a lot of countries, buying your tickets beforehand is mandatory because of covid.
Check what else you’re gonna need. Do you need vaccinations? A covid passport or health app? If you want to go diving, do you need a diving license? If you’re gonna drive, now is also the time to see what the rules are, and what to look out for.
Last one! Get insurance. You don’t want your trip to be cancelled and leaving you penniless.
So that’s it. Your 12 step list to your perfect journey.