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Traveling - How to Plan

Updated on January 19, 2015

Deciding on Location

You know that you want to go on a big trip. You're just not sure where. How can you decide? There's so many spectacular places in the world to visit and explore! There are some things to think about when choosing a place:

  • The climate - Are you looking to go skiing? Fishing? Hiking?

If you want to have a certain climate, that's a great place to start. If you want somewhere with warm beaches, perfect for sun-bathing then maybe Canada or Alaska isn't your best bet. If you're unsure of what place has a certain climate, look it up! Everything can be found on the internet.

  • The Sights - Museums, mountains, the ocean?

What exactly is it that you want to see? You can tour museums and cathedrals in Germany or drive through the rolling hills of Scotland. Go see the beautiful ocean in Monte Carlo. The list is endless, really. Go to travel sites, such as Fodor's Travel Guides or World Travel Guide to get a good idea of what you will find where.

  • Budget

That's always a big deciding factor. You have to add in not only cost for travel but lodging, food, souvenir's, any paid tours or places you visit. Budget Worksheets is a great place to keep that organized and plan. If this is going to be a trip that you're really going to need to save up for, it's a perfect start.

  • Wardrobe

Will you need a new bathing suit and some more shorts? A heavy coat? Hiking boots? This goes along with climate and budgeting. When you decide on a place, it's best to know what their weather is going to be like around the time you'll be there. If you don't have some of the needed items, set aside some of the travel budget to stock up before you leave. Leave a little in the extra budget during the actual trip, just in case. The weather can change unexpectedly anywhere. I know I've had to buy jackets and sweatshirts or shorts in places I travel because I expected something different. It's best to be ready for all weather, honestly. Go prepared.

Climates of the World
Climates of the World

Budget Busters

Travelers Checklist

  1. Make sure you know of any alerts or warnings for wherever you have planned to travel to. You can check and make sure of any of those before your trip by going to the Alerts and Warnings website. If you are traveling to places with a high crime rate, violence or certain terrains that can make it dangerous to travel, be sure to check the alerts. You will be told if it is safe to travel there at the time or when to not travel there if it has a certain climate threat that can effect the vacation.
  2. Do you have the correct documents? If you're going overseas or to a different country, you'll need a passport or the type of document the country requires. Be sure to check what both the country you're leaving and where you're traveling to require when leaving and entering. Usually, you'll need a passport and that's it. Some may require more documents, or even just a birth certificate and license. With the number of child abductions that happen today, if you are traveling with children, you may be required to show proof of relationship to that child. Go to country information to check what kind of documents and requirements you'll need. Some locations require that your passport be valid months beyond the trip so be sure to check and make sure that your passport fits the validation regulations for your location.
  3. Are you planning to drive on your overseas vacation? Be sure to check the country information's transportation page. That is on the same page as the link I gave above. Some countries require a certain license or insurance. The site also let's you know of any driving laws or differences between your country and their's. It's good to know and study up on that if you do plan to drive, as places are quite different. Especially as not all places drive on the same side of the road as what your country might.
  4. Copies of traveling documents and itinerary! You may think that you are the greatest at keeping track of documents. When you're in the middle of traveling, hustling to get to your plane or moving from one hotel to the next, things just get misplaced sometimes. The best way to stay prepared is to keep copies in an alternate place. Keep some in the bag you'll be carrying with you, or your wallet/purse. Also keep copies in your suitcase. Some of them may be important to your trip and it's just safe to have back-ups. Anything can happen on vacation. It's best to be prepared.
  5. Handling Money. You have to keep in mind, especially when creating your travel expenses budget, the exchange rate of your money to their's. Currency Converter is a great place to get all the information you need on money and exchange rates in other countries. As well as being aware of that, notify your bank if you plan on using your credit/debit card while you are away. If they see charges from a different country than where you live, they may think it's fraud and put a hold on your account, making you unable to use any of your money until it's handled. I went to Germany once and that happened to me, I was money-less for two days! So, just be sure to make them aware so there are no holds and you can use your money freely.
  6. An important thing to do is to learn the local laws and customs. You may be a tourist but you're still in their country and therefor must follow their laws or be subject to charge just the same as any local would be. You don't want to go and be arrested on your trip, now do you?
  7. Your health. This is an important one, obviously. Make sure that where you are traveling to doesn't require you to get certain vaccinations before you can enter it, that includes then coming back home from where ever you were. Especially with Ebola going on, make sure you're aware of any known contractible diseases before you travel. Also, if you are taking any prescription medications, it's best to refill all of those before you travel. If you aren't due for a refill, talk to your doctor about getting it filled early, they'll understand. Make sure you know of the generic names of all medications, in case you have to purchase overseas. Also, make sure you get a note from your doctor, verifying that those medications are yours. Some medications look suspicious, it's best to just have the proper documentation.

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Packing is a crucial part of your vacation. You don't want to not pack enough and end up leaving something important behind but then you also don't want to over pack with useless things that will just hinder your traveling.

  • Roll your clothes!

Folding all of your clothes takes up so much more space than rolling them up into a tight roll. You can carry more in less space and it stops your clothing from getting fold wrinkles.

  • Make a list!

Traveling really does require a lot of lists. Of course, you don't have to follow any list, but you may be more scrambled and un-organized if you do it that way. Making a check-list days before your trip, or even weeks before, help make sure that you don't forget anything. Every time I travel, even if it's just a few hours away, I make a list the night before of things I may need to use before I leave that I have to remember to pack for the trip. Such as makeup, deodorants, shampoo's, chargers.

  • Know your airports traveling requirements.

Such as weight, price of each checked bag, and size of carry on and what's allowed in your carry on. No liquids over 3 ounces is allowed, and they will take it from you. Also, make sure your carry on has just the essentials that you'll need for travel. Books, magazines, iPod, travel documents, money. You don't want to have to be lugging around a heavy bag through the airport and on the plane.

  • Wash clothes during vacation

Yeah, that's right. If your hotel has a laundry facility or a laundromat is nearby, wash your clothes there. This is a great way to have to fit less clothing into your suitcase, you just wash and wear again!

How to Pack Clothes for Traveling

© 2015 Amanda Creely


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