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Lyd Explains: Planning a Trip

Many people want to travel but not everyone knows how plan it. In this post I am going to cover my trip planning template (link at end of post) and help you tackle your travel bucket list!

On the first tab of my template I list all of my ideas of places to go. Travel shows, books and magazines are one of my favorite sources for ideas. They also give an idea of what you can do while you're there too! Visiting friends and family is also a great idea, you may even be able to save on hotel costs staying with them.

For each idea I create a chart to house all of my expenses for the trip. I have 3 tabs in my template for different lengths of travel. As we go through this post I will use a weekend trip, in Tampa, FL, and a week+ long trip visiting friends and family in California as examples of how to use the template. A weekend trip can take a few hours to plan. I take a few months to plan a week long trip so I have time to think about the details off and on. The sooner you plan the more options and cheaper the hotel/travel rates you will find.

I like to find my activities first so I can plan where to stay and my transportation needed around them. Check out city tourism sites for ideas, tips when traveling and to learn about the city. Gather 3 activity ideas per day of your trip. Also look for places to eat and include an estimate for 3 meals a day too. This will give you plenty of things to pick from when you are there!

Where to stay:
Pick a place to stay that is close to your activities and safe, as in lots of public activity. When looking for a hotel think about how much you want to spend first, the rate per day will add up quickly. Check hotel rate and home share sites for great deals. Consider that you will probably only be sleeping there so its doesn't need to be 5 or even 4 stars. On the same hand if you want to get a nicer hotel then #treatyoself!

How to get there - get estimates for flight, train and driving costs. Pick one based on your time and funds available.
How to get around when you are there - Check on the cost to rent a car for the length of the trip. If you plan on ride sharing estimate 10$ to 15$ per ride share trip between locations. Public transportation is also an option, see how local routes match up with the locations of your activities. Plan your activities in an order to save money on transportation, an example is stick to an area of town each day. I pick a mode of transportation based on cost and time length of travel.

Now in your chart you have a list of your costs and ideas. I also put notes from my research to the right of my chart. Here you can cross items off your list and even swap hotel and transportation options to manage your total cost. You can even travel for a shorter period to lower the over all cost of your trip too. I don't like worrying about going over my budget when I travel so I try to reasonably over estimate the cost, just to be safe.

What to take with you:
My recommendation is pack as light as possible! Even when I travel for a week I challenge myself to take a bag I can carry easily. I plan only 1 outfit per day and reuse items in multiple outfits. As for shoes I try to take one pair, two pairs max. Pajamas are important, I bring only one pair for the trip. I keep my travel toiletries bag packed on hand. If I am going to be doing a lot of walking I bring a little day bag too, like an over the shoulder bag. I also bring a mini first kit and charging essentials. Don't forget extra underwear! Below are photos on the details of what I pack.

I plan a top for every day and a few pairs of pants to re-wear over the trip. My wallet is thin and small so don't need to take a purse out everyday . Sometimes I bring my table for travel entertainment, especially when I am traveling by train or have a long layover. Even in the summer I pack a cardigan, planes and train are normally very cold!  

Take a mini version of everything you would use in a day at home. My extras are nail glue, backup deodorant to my natural deodorant and nail glue. I also have a small square container of sunscreen and hand sanitizer. 

I also have a mini first aid bag that I keep in my backpack day-to-day and bring with me when I travel. Having allergy and anti-acid on hand is a must for me. I also bring pain relievers and hair pins. 
Safe Travels:
When traveling with friends and especially alone being a safe traveler is essential. Below are my tips for traveling safe!
- Keeping someone in the loop makes sure someone knows where you are in case of an emergency. I just share my trip details chart with my Mum.
- Study a city map so that you are familiar with the area. Use landmarks to keep yourself oriented in the city as you enjoy your activities. Know how to walk back to your hotel, hospital or an embassy by heart.
- Don't rely on using a credit card, have enough cash on hand to eat and get around. I would carry $50 as backup cash to be safe.
- Have a secure location planned for your ids, money and phone. I like a little wallet I can slip inside my pants or shirt.
- Never bring anything you couldn't easily replace or valuable when you travel.

What to do the day before:
When I travel I like to just wake up, get ready and go. Having everything done and packed the day before is my key to restful traveling day.
- Pack your bags! pick up additional items if needed. Also take this time to check yourself and make sure you are not taking more than you need!
- Print any passes or tickets, a dead phone doesn't care who you are or what you are doing.
- Send your plans to someone so they are aware of your travels
- Put your plans on your phone for easy reference
- Get some rest! You will have a busy day tomorrow that will require you to be on point.

Additional Tips:
- Planning a trip on a holiday can save you the cost of a work day but also keep in mind flight and hotel costs my be more expensive.
- If you are taking any medicine be sure to bring your medical documentation for it, especially if flying.

Thanks for reading! Check out my Pinterest and Instagram for other travel tips and ideas by selecting the links at the top of my blog.

Link to download template via Google Docs (includes examples)

Additional links:
Tips for Women on Traveling Safe
General Travel Safety Tips
Tips on Packing for Travel