A wedding can take up to a year to plan to make sure everything goes along smoothly. Traveling might not be as important as your wedding but then just as many things could go wrong so it does pay to take some time to think about where to go and what to see.
Planning a trip can be an art for experienced travelers but it could be a tough task for a first-time traveler. Donít be surprised if you need to plan your trip three to six months before you go. The longer the period you travel, the earlier you should start planning.
It always takes time to gather information, to work out details and to establish contacts. Time is a critical element if you want to make your trip successful and memorable. Stages of planning, expectation and fulfillment are something unique to a travelerís experience. In fact, it is part of the fun of traveling that makes people keep on traveling for more such experiences.
No idea what to start with? Donít give up! It is a common experience for mostly all the travelers.
On Your Mark: Before you start planning, find out why you want to travel. Reasons for traveling help you to determine where to go and what to do. There may be a place you have longed to visit for some reasons or other, it might be a business trip, you may want a relaxing trip, or you may just want to escape from some of lifeís troubles. A good reason to go is to learn something Ė like how people live in other parts of the world. Perhaps you may want to search for something you find fascinating like the turtle migration in Malaysia, the headhunters in Irian Jaya, or the long-necked beauties in Thailand. For adventurous travelers, you may want to have white-water rafting holiday. Whatever it is, you have to know what you are expecting from the trip.
Different destinations require different types of transport and therefore different planning. Unlike during the times of Columbus and Marco Polo, we have more than enough help to plan a detailed trip. Tourism Promotion Boards, travel agents and tour operators will be your most ready help. Get as many brochures as you can on the destinations of the types of travel plans available form that you can glean some insights. You may discover new destinations or even new ways of spending your holidays. Meanwhile, you can find out what services the agency can provide so that you can include them in your planning.
A trip to the local library or bookshop would be rewarding if you can pick up a good guidebook. Such publications can help you of find out more about the destination in case brochures may just give you the blind touch of the elephant. Unlike the brochures from the agents and airlines that hype up the hotspots, good guidebooks and travel books give more realistic accounts of what to expect and what to look for as well as listing of attractions. Most guidebooks will be able to explain the culture and people. Also provided is information on weather, customs and transport. Remember also to study the map of the destination for you can always get lost in some places you are visiting for the first time.
Set and go: Now after all the research, it is the time to set the budget, the length of stay and gather updated rates on hotels and transport. Draft the itinerary and allow some flexibility in your planning. Make necessary hotel, plane, and local transport bookings in advance. Prepare the necessary clothing and other items. Then you are ready to set out on your trip.
Keep a list of important phone numbers at the destination like your own countryís embassy, hotels, tour operators, travel agents and emergency numbers. Study also the dos and doníts in the particular country your plan to go to. Make sure your follow them closely because travelers are not supposed to get involved in a countryís internal matters. Be careful with your speech, as some countries do not welcome comments on their policies. Bear these in mind as it can save you from unnecessary trouble.
It is always good to prepare other options for your itinerary in case the unforeseen should happen. After everything has been confirmed, keep checking the papers for news of the destination to avoid being caught of guard by airline strikes, coups or plagues that might force you to cancel the plans.
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