Previously, I have written a post regarding ‘Top Tips’ for solo travellers, but this is a little bit different. Today I’m going to show you all how I plan my trips, and hopefully it will help you!
Get a notebook!
For every trip I take, I have a different notebook and it’s brilliant. Not only is it nostalgic and allows you to document everything, it’s also super helpful in staying organised.
What’s in the notebook?
First off, who doesn’t love a cover page? You can put anything you want on it! I typically put where I’m going and the dates, although when I started this, I wasn’t certain of the dates yet. You can do drawings, lots of colour, whatever you want. I always recommend putting the year though!
I’ve never been to American and Canada before so I want to know as much as I can before going. Not only so I can pack the right stuff, but also so I don’t miss anything while I’m out there.
What information do you need? Well, it really depends on what you’re doing! My trip to America is an internship working with wild black bears (pretty awesome, right?) so the information that I need is very different from what I would need for a beach holiday.
I always recommend learning about the climate and the culture. Some places, like Tanzania, can get sweltering hot but the locals find it uncomfortable if other women wear shorts that don’t go past the knees. It’s important to respect others cultures and try and fit in; gives you the more local experience!
Next is working out the costs! Travelling can be a very expensive hobby, so I need to know in advance how much I’m going to need. I have to do this to work out if I can even afford to go!
How do I work it out then? I break the trip down into segments. Firstly, I know I have to get to the airport, and then to the country, and from there it’s all dependent on the type of trip you’re doing!
I’ve decided to spend a week in Canada (since I’m near the Canadian border during my internship) and I’ve chosen Banff as its incredibly beautiful so I’ve worked out how much it will cost me to get to Banff from Calgary and how much it will cost to stay there.
Above you can see the rough distribution of how much my trip is going to cost, which is predominantly flights.
However, this isn’t everything! That’s just while I’m abroad, I also need to buy gear before I leave.
I also feel the need to say that food is provided while on my internship which is why that segment isn’t too big! It’s just the amount I’ve allocated myself for my week in Canada and while travelling.
I write my own packing list, which is colour coded into ‘Owned’, ‘Buy ASAP’ and ‘Buy Closer to the Time’.
Why do I do this? When I do this, I can work out what I need to buy and I can also start cutting it down. I’m terrified of going over the weight restriction, don’t ask why because I don’t know, but it’s also better to travel light.
So where to go from here …
From here, I write my list and then I research how much it’s all going to cost me. As you can see, it’s been edited with crosses and ticks as I’ve found an alternative that I already own, or I’ve decided it’s not important, or someone’s lent me what I need.
Once I know how much I trip is going to cost, including gear, travel, insurance, food etc , I can calculate my savings. There’s something so satisfying about ticking it off!
Like with the cover page, you can make this page super exciting. I’ve seen loads of ways you can track your savings, but I just wanted to get mine on paper as I have a savings tracker in my bullet journal.
I always end up doing an ‘Updated Savings’ page however! Sometimes I miss things out, or I pay for my flights and then get confused as to how much money I actually need.
Before you leave, you also need to make sure you’ve done everything! This is something you can continuously add to, for example I need to include getting insurance on the list. It’s very helpful though, to know you’re keeping on top of everything.
This last few pages before I leave are things such as flight details, receipts, reference numbers and what not. I also print a copy of my passport, drivers license , vaccinations and any medical details that may be important.
What else can you use your notebook for?
While I’m abroad, I write journal entries in my notebook so I can look back and remember the incredible time I’ve had. You can put more receipts in, or little keep sakes. You can get little notes from the people you’ve worked with and add pictures, the choices are endless.
I really hope you’ve found this post helpful! Please let me know below if there’s anything else you do to prepare for a trip, or are you a spontaneous traveller?