16 Simple Steps to Plan Your Next Trip

I remember when I started planning my first trip around the world. I didn’t know what I was doing.
When I decided to quit my job and travel around the world, I went into a bookstore and bought Lonely Planet’s “Frugal Southeast Asia”. The purchase of that guidebook is my first step towards long-term travel. It makes travel look more real and tangible. It makes it seem possible.
Although it is very helpful, this book did not prepare me for planning a trip around the world. At that time, there were no travel blogs, sharing economy websites and applications like today. I’m excited and determined — but I’m confused. I had to walk and think, hoping I wouldn’t miss anything important.
Travel planning can be a daunting task. Where do you start? What is the first step? What is the second step? What is the third step?
It’s easy to be overwhelmed, especially when you haven’t done such a thing before — especially considering how much information is there now. Blogs, social media and guidebooks have never been so rich. There is a lot of information there, which sometimes makes the task of planning travel more challenging and overwhelming.
After ten years of world travel, I have planned countless trips and vacations for myself, friends, family and even group travel. At the beginning, it was a trial in the fire. I learned many lessons in a difficult way. However, this has helped me develop an effective checklist to ensure that I will not miss anything important in the process of travel planning.
After all, I don’t want to find out what I have forgotten after arriving at the next destination. You too!
There is a lot of information on this website (even more information in my book), but a question often arises, “Matt, how do I put these things together? How do I plan a trip?”
In order to continue to work hard to help you go out of your home and into the world, I created this step-by-step guide on how to plan your trip. It applies to any type of travel, no matter how long you want to go! As long as you follow this list, you can complete your travel plan. Just follow this list and you can start right away!
Step 1: Decide where you want to go
Step 2: Determine the length of your trip
Step 3: Study your expenses
Step 4: Start saving money
Step 5: Get a travel reward credit card
Step 6: Use ATM card without charge
Step 7: Stay focused and inspired
Step 8: View the last-minute discount information
Step 9: Book air tickets
Step 10: Book air tickets and your accommodation
Step 11: Plan your activities
Step 12: Sell your item
Step 13: Automatically process your bill
Step 14: Pack!
Step 15: Purchase travel insurance
Step 16: Enjoy your trip
If you want to jump to the front, just click any link above.
Step 1: Decide where you want to go

a map of the world
Determine where you want to go, set a goal for you, and work hard for it. Many people are vague when talking about travel. They never say where they are going, just that they are going. Choosing a destination is very important because it gives you a clear goal.
Compared with “I’m going to Europe” or “I’m going somewhere”, “I’m going to Paris in summer” is much easier psychologically. Not only will your trip become more specific and easier to commit, but it will also make planning easier Because you know how to work hard. Make your plan concrete. Be detailed. The more focused and specific your goal is, the easier it is to truly achieve it.
Select resources for travel destinations.
More than 200 in-depth destination guides
10 destinations below $50 per day
10 places most suitable for economic travelers
The 20 best tropical islands in the world
Step 2: Determine the length of your trip
How much does the trip cost? It depends!
If I don’t know how long you will go, I can’t answer this question. This is also a question you need to answer, so you can start planning!
To find out how much money you need to save, you need to know how long your trip will be.
Are you leaving for a week? one month? Or a year?
The length of your trip is a huge factor in determining how much money you need. Take some time to consider this question until you have the answer.
For example, after you say “I’m going to Paris this summer”, add “X days”. So you can start to reduce how much money you need to save. “I’m going to Paris for 10 days” is a trip you can plan. This is an achievable goal.
Step 3: Study your expenses
So, you know where you are going and how long you will stay there, but in order to really determine how much money you need, your next task is to study the cost of your destination and the way you want to travel.
Do you want to backpack or stay in a luxury hotel?
How much are hotels, hotels, restaurants and attractions?
Knowing this will enable you to estimate how much your trip will cost. The following is the method of research cost.
Buy a travel guide.
Check out my travel guide section.
Google the price of specific things you want to do, such as scuba diving, bungee jumping, winery tours, etc.
You don’t need to do more. There is so much information on the network. If you enter the over-planned rabbit hole, you will be lost and confused by a large amount of information. Stick to these four things, and you will gain!
In our example, if you want to go to Paris for 10 days, you need at least $75 per day (excluding your flight). You know that you need to save $750 for your trip (although it is good to round to $800 because there is extra money).
If you want to travel around the world for a year, you need $50 a day.
Here are some other insightful posts that can help you better estimate your costs.
Five ways to make your money last in travel
How do you know that the travel information you find is legal?
How do I study my personal travel destination
Step 4: Start saving money

saving money for travel in your piggy bank
Before you start saving money, you need to know how much money you have and how much money you are spending. Start writing down all your current expenses so that you can determine where you spend your money — and how you can cut it.
People will lose a lot of money every day because of some small purchases: a cup of coffee here and a snack there. All these will increase. In order to change your consumption habits, you need to understand them first. Make a list to do this. It will also put your financial needs in a better perspective.
For example, if you need $2000 for travel after 8 months, that means you only need to save $8.33 per day. Can’t you find a way to save $8 a day? Unfortunately, you drink most of the coffee every day.
If you are trying to save money, here are 23 ways to cut expenses and save travel expenses. This will help you start and save money in a short time!
Step 5: Get a travel reward credit card

travel credit cards
While you are trying to save money, apply for a travel credit card, so that you can get a registration bonus and exchange mileage and points for free flights and hotel accommodation. Collecting points and mileage from travel credit cards is my way to get a large number of free flights, free hotel accommodation and free travel benefits every year — without any additional expenses
These days, most credit cards have welcome discounts. When you meet the minimum consumption requirements, you can get up to 50000 points. This is enough to allow you to enjoy free flight anywhere in the world.
If you want a free flight, register those cards that can help you. If you want a free hotel room, apply for a hotel card. Either way, register a travel credit card and start earning points today. As long as you can pay off the monthly balance, you can get free travel points.
You don’t need to register many cards; Select one or two cards and focus on it. Do this from the moment you decide to travel. Don’t wait — waiting is equivalent to losing mileage, which means less free travel.
Collecting points and mileage (this is called “travel hacker”) is what all experts do to reduce costs and extend travel time. This is also why I have kept the cost down and traveled on the road for many years. Although the best cards are only available in the United States, there are still many options for Canadians and people from Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
For more information about travel hackers and travel credit cards, please check these posts.
Travel Hacking 101: Beginner’s Guide
How to choose the best travel credit card
The best travel credit card
The ultimate guide for tourism hackers
How to become a tourist hacker in Canada
Step 6: Use ATM card without charge
Once you go abroad, you will need money. Although many countries accept credit cards, cash is still the king in most countries. This means that you need to use an ATM to withdraw local currency. This also means that you will be charged by the ATM.
If you just leave for a week or two, paying a few dollars for ATM is not the end of the world. But if you leave for a long time, these costs will increase and erode your travel budget – a budget that you work hard to get. Don’t give your hard-earned money to the bank.
How do you do it? By using a free ATM card.
I use Charles Schwab, but there are many other banks (don’t forget to check your local bank) that don’t charge ATM fees. In addition, you can join the banks of the Global ATM Alliance.
By using the ATM card without charge, you can avoid those annoying ATM fees, so that you have more money for its purpose: travel.
Here are some specific ways to avoid ATM charges during your trip.
Step 7: Stay focused and inspired
As you get closer to your goal, make sure you continue to meet your travel desire. Travel plans can be exhausting and confusing — especially if you don’t get the support of friends and family (especially if your trip is only a few months away). It often frustrates people and sometimes feels out of reach.
Fortunately, because we have a great community on this website, there are a lot of ways to keep your focus and keep your spirit high. Here are some inspiring travel stories to help you stay inspired.
Why is it never the best time to travel?
13 travel books that will make you have a serious desire to roam
How to change the mentality of “I am too poor to travel” and say “good” to travel?
Eight ways to keep driving force
In addition, we must join our online travel community – nomadic network. Not only can you find support (and a lot of tips) online, but we also regularly hold face-to-face and virtual activities around the world. These activities are a good way to get inspiration, know other excellent travelers in your area and get travel advice.
Step 8: View the last-minute discount information
Well, you are inspired, ready, and on the way to save money for your trip. But before you buy a ticket or book a hotel, please check the benefits you may miss. You may dream of going to Paris, but there may be a discount to Berlin now. Or you can buy a seven-day cruise at a 70% discount, a set meal in Hawaii at the price of flying to Paris, or a sailing trip around Greece at a 50% discount.
These days, you can always find deals — especially if you are flexible about your date and/or destination. Some transaction websites worth checking are.
Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights)
Flight transaction
Holiday Pirates
Step 9: Book your flight

taking off into the sunset
After you use your travel credit card and get the registration bonus, use your mileage to book your flight. Because there are fewer available air tickets and it is difficult to use the mileage, you must book as early as possible to ensure that you get the flight you want.
Fortunately, there are still many ways to avoid becoming the person who pays the most for his ticket on the flight. My two favorite websites looking for cheap tickets are.
Skyscanner – Skyscanner is the best website to search multiple destinations at the same time.
Google Flights – Like Skyscanner, Google Flights is also very suitable for public search of multiple destinations.
To get the best deal, please book flights 2-3 months in advance. Here are two articles about how to get cheap flights.
How to find cheap flights
Book flights. Everything you need to know
Step 10. Book your accommodation
If your travel time is less than two weeks and you have a fixed schedule, you can book your accommodation during the trip (or if you visit in peak season) if it can make you feel at ease.
For a trip of more than two weeks (or if you want to travel for a long time), you only need to book the accommodation for the first few days. This will ensure that you have a place to go when you arrive. Once there, you can get inside information from your hotel/hotel staff and other travelers. Then you can use this information to plan your next action.
Although you can book more rooms than the first few nights, you may want to change your plan after logging in. I prefer flexibility, which is why I always reserve only the first few nights and then start there.
The following is my preferred website for finding the most preferential accommodation.
Hostelworld – Hostelworld has the largest choice of hotels and is my preferred website for finding economical hotels.
Agoda – If you want to go to Asia, Agoda has the best results (although they sometimes have good American deals).
Booking.com – Booking.com is the best overall platform for finding economical hotels and hotels.
If you have a tight budget, or you want to contact more local people during your trip, you can consider joining Couchsurfing or BeWelcome. These communities allow travelers to live in local homes for free as a cultural exchange.
Long-term travelers can also try house rental or WWOOFing, because they provide free accommodation (in exchange for pet custody or farm work, respectively).
Step 11: Plan your activities

plan the perfect adventure overseas
To ensure that you have an appropriate budget, list the main activities you want to enjoy during your trip and their costs. Make any adjustments to your savings at the last minute, so you can ensure that you have enough funds. This will also help you find out whether any reservation is required for the tour or activity you choose.
You can also search for discount information online. Although some countries offer cheaper prices, others offer discounts to those who book in advance/online. Study the situation of your trip so that you can save money.
For short trips, you can also book your activities in advance to ensure that you get tickets. For longer trips, book as you go.
In addition, before you leave home, have a general idea of what activities are your priorities. In this way, if you don’t have enough time or money, you can focus on your most important activities, so you won’t miss them. In addition, make sure to carefully check whether there are any holidays or other obstacles that prevent you from participating in certain activities.
Step 12: Sell your stuff
If you want to travel for a long time (six months or more), consider selling your things in order to earn extra money for your trip. Start doing this about 60 days before your departure. Some websites that can be used are.
Gumtree – an online classification website, mainly concentrated in the UK and Australia.
Amazon – the largest online store in the world.
Craigslist – a global online classification website with local and global influence.
EBay – another global online classification website.
Facebook Marketplace – very suitable for finding people near you (so you don’t need to transport your goods).
If you don’t plan to leave for that long, skip this step. If you want to leave for a long time, but want to keep your stuff, you can move it to a friend’s house or put it in the warehouse. In the United States, a good storage company is public storage. This is one of the most affordable options.
Step 13: Automate your bill
Throw away your mail, realize paperless, and set online payment for your recurring bills to ensure that you will not miss any bills overseas. If you still want to receive paper mail, please use a service like Earth Class Mail, which will collect and scan your mail for you. (If you want to travel for two weeks, you really don’t need to worry about this problem, so you can also skip this step).
If you can choose (and don’t want to pay for the mail service), you can also send all the mail to friends or family.
In addition, you should make sure to cancel any telephone plans you have, or replace your plans with more suitable plans for travel. T-Mobile is very suitable for travelers under 3 months old. If you travel for more than 3 months, you should cancel your plan and buy SIM cards abroad, which will be much cheaper.
Step 14: Pack!

pack your bags
It’s time to pack your trip! It is tempting to bring everything “in case of emergency”, but when it comes to travel, less is more. You don’t need 5 sweaters or 8 pairs of shoes. I promise you can cope with less. Once you get used to it, it’s actually free
I travel with a 45-liter REI bag, and then a smaller daily bag.
Unless you want to go to multiple climatic zones and need bulky winter equipment, you don’t need a huge 70-liter bag to be full. The following is my suggested packing list to help you carry the right amount of things and avoid over-packing (here is also a list for female travelers).
Although your luggage depends on where you want to go, please remember that you don’t need to pack all your things. You can buy what you need on the road. You can wash clothes overseas. At the end of the day, you must carry everything you bring. So take less!
However, in addition to your daily clothes, you may want to bring some extra items. Some things I like to bring are.
First aid kit
Life straw bottle with built-in filter
Packing box (keep in order)
Travel lock (for hotel locker)
Travel Adapter
Quick drying towel
In addition, please make sure you have any prescription with you, so that you have enough medicine to cope with your trip. If this is not feasible, please bring your doctor’s certificate and prescription so that you can dispense medicine abroad.
Step 15: Purchase travel insurance
Although many people think, “I’m healthy, I don’t need travel insurance. I won’t get sick.” Travel insurance is not just medical protection. When your camera breaks down, your flight is canceled, a family member dies, and you have to go home, or if something is stolen, it will provide security for you.
Yes, it is an extra expense. But safety is always better than regret. I have never left home because I have personally experienced what may happen on the road.
I never thought I would burst my eardrum when diving in Thailand, or break my camera in Italy.
I didn’t know I would be stabbed in Colombia.
My friend never thought that he would break his leg in hiking.
Another friend didn’t expect her father to die, so she had to fly back to her hometown.
Unfortunately, bad things can happen when you travel. Admittedly, these events are rare. But they may spend tens of thousands of dollars on their own. If you are not ready to pay for it, buy travel insurance.
To help you find the best plan for you and your travel, here is my ultimate guide to choose a good insurance company. It will tell you how to choose a good plan to protect you in case of illness, flight cancellation, injury, theft or travel delay.
The following is the classification of travel insurance companies I recommend. You can see which company provides the most suitable plan for your needs and budget.
SafetyWing – A super affordable plan for economical travelers.
Insure My Trip – Best for elderly travelers.
Medjet – provides additional evacuation insurance to ensure that you can go home in case of an emergency.
Insured Nomads – provides in-depth emergency and non-emergency insurance for long-term travelers and digital nomads.
For more information about travel insurance, you can check these posts.
What exactly does travel insurance cover?
Is travel insurance worth buying?
Do you need medical evacuation insurance?
In addition, make sure you know your rights as an airline passenger. For example, the delay of flights to and from Europe often means that you are entitled to compensation (beyond any insurance related scope).
Learn how to ensure compensation if your trip is delayed or your flight is cancelled.
Step 16: Enjoy your trip

have a great time on your trip
Now, everything is all right. It’s time to start your trip and have fun! Go to the airport, board your plane (don’t forget your passport!) and enjoy the fruits of your work. You deserve it!
If you feel nervous, don’t worry – it’s perfectly normal. You are about to embark on an amazing adventure – this is a huge change. Feeling anxious, nervous or uncertain is something that every traveler will experience. But you have reached this point. Believe in your plan, follow your intuition, and you will have an unforgettable trip in your life. by my troth.
By using this article as a guideline for your travel plan, you can better organize and prepare your trip. You will check all the boxes, not miss anything, and have enough money for your holiday. It can be as simple as booking air tickets and packing, or as complex as rearranging your whole life, always carrying a backpack to travel.
However, no matter how long your trip is, this list will help you stay organized and motivated when planning your trip and moving towards the world.
P.S. – Yes, I did miss the visa and vaccine, because the need for these things is not as common as other things on this list, but don’t forget to check whether you also need these things
Book your trip. Logistics skills and tips
Book your flight
Find cheap flights by using Skyscanner. This is my favorite search engine, because it can search global websites and airlines, so you always know that no stone is missing.
Book your accommodation
You can book your hotel at Hostelworld. If you want to stay outside the hotel, you can use Booking.com, because it can always find the cheapest hotels and hotel prices.
Don’t forget travel insurance
Travel insurance will protect you from disease, injury, theft and cancellation. This is comprehensive protection in case of any problems. I never travel without it, because I have to use it many times in the past. My favorite company that provides the best service and value is.
SafetyWing (best for everyone)
Insurance My Trip (for people over 70 years old).
Medjet (for additional evacuation insurance)
Want to travel for free?
The travel credit card allows you to earn points and redeem for free flights and accommodation. They made me travel for so long with little money. Please read my guide and select the right card and my favorite card to start and see the latest best transaction.
Are you ready to book your trip?
Check my resources page to find out the best company you use when traveling. I listed all the companies I used when traveling. They are the best of their kind. You won’t make mistakes when you use them when traveling.

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