10 Helpful Tips for Planning a Trip the Whole Family will love

They say "It's not about the destination, it’s about the journey" and part of the journey happens before you even leave your house. While the planning prosses may not be the most enjoyable part of your adventure, it plays a crucial roll in making your trip as smooth and relaxing as possible.

Whether you’re planning a weekend vacation or a long-winded adventure there are always going to be those unavoidable hurdles. And while you can’t always prepare for everything, there are some things you can do to ensure you have the smoothest and most enjoyable trip possible.

In this article, we're going to talk about some of the most helpful tips for planning a trip. Including budgeting, finding the best flights, packing, ground transportation and more.

10 Helpful Tips for Planning a Trip the Whole Family will Love!

1. Establish a budget
The first thing you'll want to do when planning a trip is to establish a budget, even before you know your destination, travel dates or itinerary. This can help avoid any disappointment that could come from forging a fabulous itinerary and then realizing that you won't be able to afford everything you planned.

Once you know what you have to work with, you'll be able to plan your trip around that. There are many factors to think about when you're trying to stick to a predetermined budget and we will cover them the best we can in the following steps.

Before we move on, here are a few tips to help give you a little extra cash to work with:
  • Travel in the offseason.
  • Pick budget accommodations.
  • Plan a shorter trip (if necessary).
  • Keep an open mind about accommodations.
  • Start saving money wherever you can leading up to your trip.
2. Pick a destination
Now that you've started saving and have a good idea of what your budget will be, you can start looking for a destination... I know that’s easier said than done, but if you’re anything like most travel enthusiasts, I’m sure you have a long list of places you are dying to see. It shouldn't be hard to find somewhere that is perfect for you as well as your bank account.

If you’re traveling on a tighter budget, then somewhere in South East Asia or South America will get you a lot more bang for your buck. If you have more to work with then it might be the best time to take that tour around Europe we’re all dreaming of.

3. Get your documents in order
Once you have a destination picked, you’ll want to be sure that you have all the documents you need. If you’re heading out of the country, then you must have a valid passport at least six months from expiration. But depending on the country you plan to visit, you may need to apply for a tourist Visa ahead of time. Make sure you look into that before booking any flights. All it takes is a quick google search to know whether you need any extra paperwork or not.

4. Pre-plan your itinerary
Planning a full-on itinerary is not always necessary. Especially if you prefer to just show up and play it by ear, but it's understandable that some people would like to have a better idea of what their trip is going to look like. And even for those that don't, having at least somewhat of an itinerary can go a long way to help with the rest of your planning process. Plus it can be a great way to get the whole family excited about the trip.

A good way to start is by researching sites and cities you really want to explore, and then figure out which ones you have the time and budget to get to. You can go as far as you want with that. From having every day filled with activities to winging it day by day. However, if you want to be able to book your accommodations and ground transport ahead of time then you'll need to write up at least a basic itinerary.

5. Book your flights
By now you know where you’re going and how long you want to be there. That means you’re finally ready to buy flights! And since airfare will most likely be the biggest expense of the trip, it feels good to get it out of the way as soon as possible. Plus the earlier you buy flights the cheaper they will be.

There are a few good tricks to make sure you get the best deal possible. We all know that booking sites like Kayak, CheapOair and Priceline offer some of the best prices, but what some don’t know is that even when using a flight searching site there are a few ways to save even more:
  • Selecting alternate dates.
  • Switching to incognito mode on your browser.
  • Using a VPN (virtual private network) hide your IP address. 
  • Be flexible with the time of day, layovers and baggage allowance. 
6. Look into travel insurance
Travel insurance is one of those things that is highly debated amongst the travel community. Some feel that it isn’t necessary, especially when you’re in a country with affordable health care. And some feel that you should always have it when traveling because you never know what could happen. If you prefer to remain on the safe side or you’re planning a more intense adventure, you should do some research to find out what works best for your situation.

There are several kinds of travel insurance: trip cancellation insurance, flight cancellation insurance, medical insurance, etc. It’s up to you to decide what level of coverage you feel most comfortable with.

7. Get crafty with accommodation
Booking places to stay along your trip is one of the later steps in this list based on the fact that you need to have your trip mostly planned out before you even know what cities or towns you want to stay in. Once you know what you're looking for, the only thing left to consider is your budget. Depending on what you have to spend, there are countless types of accommodation to choose from.

Sure, you can book a room in the local Hilton and be good to go. But you'll find with a little research, that there are tons of funky places to stay around the world. Airbnb is a great way to find these unique and affordable accommodations no matter where you’re going. But don’t forget to look out for some local gems along the way as well.

8. Find the best ground transportation
Finding safe and affordable ground transportation when you’re just arriving in a new place can be difficult. It's especially annoying trying to figure it all out after a long and tiring travel day. And in most airports, you walk out and get hounded immediately by people trying to scam you into an overpriced ride. It never feels good getting sucked into that because you think you have no choice. RideGuru, a fair comparison calculator is a great tool for finding the best price as well as allowing you to customize your search to ensure you get the best ride for you and your family.

Taking a train or bus is also a good and affordable mode of ground transportation for traveling longer distances and getting a more local experience during your trip.

9. Pack smart
Now it’s time to pack! But be careful not to overpack. Overpacking is one of the most common mistakes of people new to travel. Instead of packing the day before your trip, start thinking about what you’ll need to bring at least a week before you leave. This way you’ll have the time to research the few key things to consider when packing: the type and length of your trip, your itinerary, the weather, the size of your luggage, and any weight limits imposed by your mode of transportation.

If you’re having trouble fitting everything in your limited space, lay everything out and rule out anything that you may not need. You can most likely make it without the few extra outfits you're trying to stuff in there. If you're still having trouble, here are a few other packing tips:
  • Packing cubes help save space as well as organizing your smaller items. 
  • Roll your clothes instead of folding.
  • If you’re packing shoes, fill them up!
  • Don’t forget about that little zipper on most bags that gives you an extra couple inches.
If you consider these things while also staying as light as possible, you’ll be traveling like a pro in no time!

10. Have a great time!
The final step on our list is simply to enjoy your trip to the fullest. This is easier said than done of course. There are always unforeseen obstacles to get over when you're traveling in a foreign place, but that doesn't always have to be a bad thing. As long as you keep an open mind, you'll be able to get through any issues that may come up and continue having the best adventure possible! Keep an open mind and you’ll never be disappointed when plans change.

There you have it! Our top 10 helpful tips for planning trip the whole family will love! I hope this post comes in handy for your next trip. Let us know in the comments if you have any other good tips!

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