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How to Prepare for a Trip

Planning a long trip can be an infuriating task. There is so much to do and you don’t even know where to begin and which steps to take. It can be overwhelming at the beginning, especially if you’ve never done it before, but if you know what needs to be done, and exactly how to go about it, the task will not seem scary anymore.

“Bizarre travel plans are dancing lessons from God.” Kurt Vonnegut 

Here are some steps to take when planning a trip.

 Decide where you would like to go

The world is a large and beautiful place with a lot of things to see, so it can be hard to pick the perfect destination. Some people take a lot of things into consideration when planning where to go, while others simply pick a random place on a map and see what happens. You have to realize that when you have a plan, you have ground to stand on and build off.

 Mind your budget

How much will your trip cost? That depends on a lot of factors. Your destination, the duration of the trip, which hotel you’ll be staying at and how much money you’ll need to survive while you’re there. Will you sit in your hotel room the entire time, will you go sightseeing, visit the local restaurants? Knowing all of this and many other technicalities will help you plan a budget.

 Start saving money

Now that you know how much money you’ll require, it is time to start saving. If your trip isn’t soon, you’ll be able to save up on the basic things. For example, if you don’t buy that extra cup of coffee or that bag of chips, you can put that money in your piggy bank and pretty soon the money will start piling up. There are a lot of creative ways to cut some unnecessary expenses and save your money.

 Get a travels rewards credit card

These cards are ideal for people who travel often. By getting them, you earn sign up bonuses that you can use to redeem miles and points for free hotels and flights, depending on what type of card you get. When you decide which one you want, you should focus on collecting the points before your trip.

 Book your flight

If you’ve opted for the travel credit card and know when you’ll be traveling—and where to—book a flight as soon as possible. The best time for booking a flight is two months in advance. Tickets are cheaper if you purchase them sooner and this way, you’ll be sure you can use your miles. If you tried using them on the day of your flight, there could be a problem with availability. You can also find flights at a reduced price by using sites such as Momondo, Skyscanner, Vayama and many others.

 Book your accommodation

Just to make sure you’ll have a place to stay, you should book a hotel room online. Many sites offer good rates for accommodation, for example, Hotels.com and Hotwire. However, if you don’t like staying at hotels or think they’re too expensive, you can search websites such as Couchsurfing or BeWelcome and see if any locals would like to host you. You can also find accommodation on sites such as Airbnb.

 Plan your activities

Depending on what you like to do and what your interests are, you should make a list of activities you are interested in and make sure you have enough money. If you plan everything ahead, you will know if you need to make any reservations for your chosen activities.

 Switch to online bill payment

If you’re planning a trip that’s going to keep you out of the country for longer than a month, set up an online bill payment to ensure that your bills get sorted out while you’re away. If you get a regular paper mail or have subscribed to a monthly magazine, ask one of your neighbors or relatives if they could collect your mail while you’re away to avoid piling up.

 Tell your card company you’re traveling abroad

If you don’t inform your credit card company that you’re traveling and if you end up using your card, it might get declined and flagged as fraudulent and stolen, and then blocked because it was used in another country.

 Get travel insurance

This is more of a “Better safe than sorry” and yes, even though you’re healthy and may think you won’t get sick during your trip, travel insurance isn’t just medical protection. It covers you if your flight gets canceled, something gets stolen or broken, or with anything that might go wrong. It’s not expensive, and you’d be a fool if you didn’t buy it.

 And last, but not the least important

Pack your bags, have a safe trip and have fun! Bon voyage!

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