When was the last time that you took a holiday where you travelled for more than one or two weeks? How about a holiday that required booking multiple flights or hotels? How about planning a holiday that is long than a month?
The way things are for most jobs, it’s hard for many people to get more than a week or two at a time to travel. Often this means booking maybe one return flight and maybe one or two hotels. It is not too difficult to get it worked out and booked.
Now imagine if you had three months to travel. Where would you go? Would you spend the whole time in one place? Maybe you would split the time between multiple cities, states, countries or even continents.
Although you will find people that might have no hesitation in booking a flight and boarding a plane, letting everything work itself out along the way. There are many more people who just could not handle heading off into the unknown. If you are like me, I love to have some idea in advance where I am going, how I am getting there and most importantly where I will be sleeping.
If you are going to travel for three months especially with multiple different locations, there are something to consider up front. I think there are five area’s that you need to consider when planning and booking a longer trip. These include time, destination, the route, how you will get there and where you might stay.
How Much Time Do You Have?
One of the most important things to establish right up front is how much time you have to travel. There is no point dreaming of a trip that requires six weeks to fully enjoy when you only have four weeks to squeeze it in.
There are a couple of important considerations when you are thinking about the time you have available. They are aspects that are better considered before getting to the ‘where’ and ‘route’ stages.
- Consider the amount of time that it takes to travel to and from your destination, plus any related recovery time due to time zone changes.
- Travel time can also play a part in considerations and can play havoc with bookings if you don’t pay close attention. Flying from Australia to USA you arrive the same day you depart. Flying from Australia to Europe You will likely have an overnight during the trip. The flight from Europe to USA or reverse can very depending on time of day and the direction of travel.
Some of the aspects above may play more of a role depending on the total time you have. If you have two weeks than the amount of time you spend travelling is going to be a crucial part of your planning. However, if you are travelling for three months, losing a day here or there to travelling between places is not such a big deal.
Where Do You Want To Go?
Once you know how much time you can afford to spend travelling it comes down to putting in some serious thought on where you want to go. It is something that only you will be able to decide, as only you know what you would like to see.
- Do you just want to visit one country and see some the different cities or areas here?
- Do you want to visit multiple countries and experience some different cultures?
- Do you want to go around the world stopping at major cities?
- Do you want to get on the road and see everything in between the cities?
There are likely many other ways you could ask the same questions. But essentially it is the question of what do you want to see and experience?
What Is Your Proposed Route?
The question of the route may or may not come into your considerations. If you have one particular destination or country, this may not be so important. However, if you are looking to visit multiple countries or cities, it could be an important question.
It is a question I wish I had considered with more though before starting to book segments of my trip to Europe in 2012. I booked a return flight from the USA to use across two trips and subsequently booked a flight from Australia to Europe. It was only a little bit later looking at other things and starting to book more of the trip, that I realised this was not ideal. I end up with a trip that looked like Australia > Europe > USA > Europe > USA > Australia. It just cost a little extra, but with better planning, I could have avoided some of the backtrackings.
What you need to think about are the main destinations you want to visit and list them down. Once you have these, consider the order that you are going to visit them, and if you have any specific dates, you need to be in any of them.
If you can avoid things like fixed dates in a particular place, it is better. It might be possible to work around one fixed date, but two or more and you will likely find yourself back tracking. Which can result in wasted time travelling?
Likewise, if you have existing bookings try and work around these before going any further. Just to try and avoid setting up confusing back and forth routes.
Getting There And Back
Once you have established where you are going to visit, the next step is to think about how you are going to get there. Of course, this depends on a great deal on where you plan to go.
When you consider the way you get between your destinations, there are almost always two options. However, sometimes it can depend on when you want to travel.
A great example is travelling between Australia and USA or the USA and Europe. Any day of the week you can board a plane and fly to these destinations. However, if you want a different experience at the right time of year, you can also opt to board a cruise ship and take the more leisurely option.
Likewise, if you are spending time in one country, but visiting various cities, you have options. Again you can often fly between most destinations. But there is also in many areas the option of driving, train or even bus.
The way that you get between your destinations is likely to depend on some level on your budget. While flying is the most cost effective travel from Australia to travel internationally. You might find the train a better option in Europe.
Where To Sleep?
Well, you are now definitely getting to the pointy end of thinking about your trip now. Picking and choosing where you want to stay does in many ways gets you into an emotional connection to the trip. At times it is this stage of the planning that in some ways have been the make or break point in planning.
Where you are going to stay is also something that will be very much considered in combination with your budget. If money is not so much an issue, you may be okay just picking hotels everywhere you go. On the other hand, if you need to make sure every dollar works for you, it might be worth getting a little creative.
Another consideration might be if you are travelling alone or with a friend or partner. Travelling with someone can help to spread the cost in some ways. But can also make it a little harder to agree at times.
However, also keep in mind whether the option you are booking is the same price for one or two people. A hotel room might be a fixed price for one or two people, while a cruise ship is charged per person.
Bring Everything Together And Book It
At the end of the day, there should only be so much time spent on planning the trip. At some point in the process, you need to get to the point of locking things in and start booking.
The booking stage is something that you should only start on once you know your dates are firm. The last thing you want to do is go and start booking aspects of the trip and find out you cannot get the time off work or something.
But at the same time, if you know you can do it, you don’t want to leave it to long before completing the bookings. The thing with hotels, airfares, cruises and any other travel is the price is constantly changing. A hotel for $100 today might be $150 tomorrow. A flight can mysteriously double in price overnight. Likewise, at times the price can drop, but if you are on a budget do what you can to lock things in when you are comfortable with the price.
Good Luck And Enjoy The Journey
If you are planning a big trip, all the best, I do hope that it works out perfect for you. Don’t let it be something that causes a bunch of stress in the planning or the travel itself. If you get, it planned, and get it booked just go and enjoy the journey.
I would love to hear about your trip you are planning. So why not head down the page a little and leave me a comment. Let me know what you are planning and if you have got past the planning. Even if you have finished your journey, let me know how it went.