Travel Planning Made Simple. Create Your Own Itinerary.
Written by Abimanyu Srikanth on June 15, 2017 Share on

How to Plan a Trip from Scratch?

Always wanted to travel? International destinations on your mind, but the thought of planning your trip too daunting for you? We understand, and that’s why we’ve compiled a comprehensive checklist on how to plan a trip, just for you.

Fine with planning, but want to do away with the hassle of handling visa formalities, booking your flights, accommodation and what not? Pickyourtrail is your one stop solution to get your trip going, the hassle-free way.

1. Dates and Duration

Unless you never plan to return from your trip (okay, that sounded way less ominous in our heads), the first thing you should think about is

 WHEN you can take off

 HOW LONG you can afford to be away from classes/ work

No matter how long you plan to go, deciding how long you can actually afford to do so is vital. Though the mind does what the mind wants, it’s best to try and bring in a pinch of practicality so that you don’t return home to a not-very-happy boss or family.

Also, plan your dates depending on the type of vacation you intend to take. Bikini season doesn’t run all year round, and nor does ski season. Find which months are best locally for what you have in mind, and plan accordingly.

2. Budget

how to plan a trip

If you don’t have a vacation fund set aside, it’s best to save smart, and spend smart. A great way to save a truckload of money is to travel off-season, or at least in the “shoulder season” i.e. the travel period between peak and off-peak season. This will save you 30 – 50% from your airfare, hotels and travel expenses.

When you calculate your budget for the trip, factor in ALL your costs. Remember to include costs for local transportation, the spur of the moment shopping spree or that unplanned adventure activity you want to take. People mostly forget to include these costs, leading to an unfulfilled vacation.

Also make sure to keep you bank informed about your trip, so that they don’t suddenly block your card on seeing the sudden overseas transactions.

3. Documents

how to plan a trip

This is something that will save you a lot of headache during your vacation. Keep all the necessary documents, along with COPIES of said documents in hand. You don’t know when you’ll be needing them.

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Driver’s license
  • Printed copies of all the above documents
  • Passport sized photographs
  • Travel insurance (If you are insured)

Always carry multiple copies of the documents, since some locations would want you to submit them for proof. You don’t want to go searching for a photocopier place on your vacation.

4. Destination

how to plan a trip

Though “Where do you want to go?” is traditionally the first question that people ask when planning a trip, deciding where you want to vacation depends on points 1 and 2. However, apart from the basic constraints like budget and duration, ask yourself what you want this vacation or trip to be. What kind of person are you? What do you enjoy? Do you want this vacation to be a change from the usual, or an extension of your usual plans?

Check out our blog to zero in on what kind of destination you’re looking for, and what they have to offer.

5. Book Your Flights

how to plan a trip

It is common knowledge that airlines give you great discounts if you book your flights early, as in two months or more. Why not use that to your advantage? There are a lot of ways to save a great deal of money on airfare. Travelling off-season, utilizing promo deals, effective packing; these are just a few ways you can save on your airfare.

Compare prices, go deal-hunting, and with a little bit of research, you will be able to get the best deals for your flight tickets.

Check out these 7 well-kept secrets in the airline industry that will help you book your flights for a whole lot cheaper!

6. Research

how to plan a trip

Now that you have decided where you’re going and have your tickets booked, it’s time for (more) research. There are multiple ways you can learn about what your destination has to offer. You can try

Travel Blogs – Just type in “Things to do in [your destination]” in Google and travel blogs like this, this and this will pop up. Reading up on travel blogs is a great way to find out the best that your dream destination has to offer.

Customer Reviews – Customer reviews are useful in finding out what the place actually is like, since they are more authentic when compared to the ones that travel package companies give out.

Creative Googling – After you’re done with traditional searches about your destination, try something like “Wacky things to do in [your destination]”, “Offbeat things to do in [your destination]”, “Insider’s guide to [your destination]” and so on. This will give you an idea of something more than what people do in general at your destination.

Message Boards – Message boards have real travelers who’ll answer all your questions about the city or country you’re visiting, with some users going the extra mile and providing additional useful info.

7. Accommodation

how to plan a trip

Booking your stay and your transport beforehand is a great way to enjoy your vacation the way it’s meant to be. With peace of mind. Google hotels in the area you’re visiting and read customer reviews over those by official websites and companies. This is to give you an idea of what to expect, from someone who has actually been to the place, and usually tend to be more trustworthy.

If hotels aren’t what you’re looking for, hostels are a good option. Long gone are the days when hostels were just used by backpackers and college students. Hostels provide great facilities and will help you meet like-minded travellers, who you can learn a lot from.

Apartment rental platforms like Airbnb are a great way to experience living there like how the locals do, and are also great if you want to cook in.

If you want to go off the beaten track and try something new, google something along the lines of “Unique/alternative/wacky lodgings or hotels in [your destination]”, and go through the many helpful blogs that pop up, like this one.

When you book your hotels, go for the airport pick up option. This will save you a lot of hassle, since you won’t have to begin your vacation lugging your bags around trying to get a cab to the hotel.

8. Transport

Plan how you intend to get around the city. This is easily the most overlooked factor by most travelers. Check out car rentals if you want to drive yourself around the city. Research the public transport of the region and try to book passes, but only if you plan to use them. And it is best to have a taxi app like Uber downloaded on your phone, so that you can get around in peace.

And don’t forget to include the cost of local transport when you formulate your budget.

9. Activities

how to plan a trip

Now that you’ve decided where and for how long you want to vacation, and have booked/ decided on the flights, the hotels and the transport, now comes the fun part.

Since you have already researched the place and have a general idea of what your dream destination has to offer, it’s easy to prepare the itinerary now. The easiest way is again, Google and travel blogs. While most blogs provide a variety of things you can do at your destination, you can also narrow down your search to specific kinds of activities: Top adventure sports/ honeymoon activities/ party spots in [your destination].

Plan the major activities first, and accommodate the other fun stuff around them.

Need help planning your itinerary? Not to worry, it’s easy as pie with Pickyourtrail‘s amazing planning team!

10. Packing

how to plan a trip

You’re almost ready for your trip! Packing is all that’s left. Packing smart helps save you a lot of hassle AND a lot of money. You can save a lot on your airfare with some smart packing that will also mean that you don’t have to carry multiple bags around where you just need one. Restrict yourself from packing things that you don’t necessarily need. Before you begin to pack, check out what amenities the hotels you’ve booked provide, so that you don’t need to carry needless items.

Also, don’t forget to pack copies of your important documents in a file or a folder in your bag, carrying multiple copies (preferably).

Not a fan of lugging heavy bags around? Check out our list of 5 things you need to have to travel light. Oh yes, we are pretty much the experts on telling people how to plan a trip!

11. Smart Phone

how to plan a trip

One of the easiest ways to make your vacation stress-free is to have your smart phone set up with everything you need. Before you set out on your trip, do the following.

  • Make sure your net banking works, and your card details are saved in your mobile phone. (Don’t leave it accessible to others, though)
  • Make sure your accounts for the online payment gateways you use are in working condition.
  • Install a tracking app in your phone. You don’t want to be a sitting duck in the unfortunate event that you lose it.
  • Getting an international sim card if you plan to be away for longer than usual.

And that’s it! You’re all set on how to plan a trip. Go out and experience your adventure of a lifetime!


Ready to plan your vacation? Do it the stress-free way with your friendly neighborhood vacation planner, Pickyourtrail.

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