Friday, 9 May 2014

TRAVEL AND MONEY SAVING - Trip planning and research -


You have decided to travel and yes THE WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER but where do you start fishing.

Of course you can travel with no plan but you may find you are in the wrong place at the wrong time or season, miss things you might have enjoyed seeing or clock up much more mileage having to back track.

If you do want to make a plan then these are my suggestions based on the way we have done things successfully.

How you are going to travel will have a big effect on where you can go.  For example if you travel by boat then it will be more difficult to visit inland places.  We found that in countries where motorhomes are common this is the cheapest way for a long term trip.  In Asia and developing countries backpacking using public transport, hotels and hostels is usually best. 

The duration of your trip may have a bearing on your destination.
As long term travellers with options to return to places it is often better to try to concentrate on a small area of a country or continent and do it thoroughly rather than hopping around trying to do everything in one hit. 
Considerations when picking a destination may be the climate at that time of year and possibly the state of your currency versus theirs.
Other things that have been a deciding factor for us have been the cost of air fares to our destination, visa requirements and availability of a motorhome for sale.

To help with planning a trip I like to read a travel book and particularly enjoy Lonely Planet and
Rough Guides , I usually go for the one that has been issued most recently.
Similar ones are Moon Guides and Footprint

You should also get a good map of the country/continent to be visited.
It is very easy to research and order these through Amazon

Armed with map and book you should buy a set of different coloured highlighter pens.  Designate different colours for different features such as yellow for interesting places, pink for people you want to visit, blue for areas that have opportunities for you to follow a hobby etc, green for good free/cheap camping spots.  It helps if you stick to this for labelling maps and guide books making it very easy to recognise things at a glance. 

The next few things are often done in any order and added to as more information becomes available.

I take my map and highlight the places with people we would like to visit.

If you have time read the guide book cover to cover like a novel. When you come to something that interests you highlight that part of the text in the relevant colour and also mark the place on the map in the same colour.  For example if reading the guide book you read that Rome has many attractions you would like to visit then highlight the attractions in the guide book in the relevant colour and also the city of Rome on the map. 

Repeat this with any books relating to hobbies, camping or anything else that will be included in your trip.

Once you have completed this process you will have a map with lots of coloured dots.  It is now simple to join the dots to make up an original tour plan but try to take into consideration the kind of climate you enjoy and work that in with the direction of your travel. 

Often having done the initial research you are able to have a more fruitful conversation with others as you know the names and location of many places you hope to visit and putting the dots on the map will have helped with your geography.
However after doing all this and setting up a tour plan don't be afraid to change it.  We often talk to people who ask where we are going next and when we tell them they suggest a better alternative or may say not to bother.  Locals may tell you about a special event nearby or a change in the weather may cause a rethink.  You will be unlikely to have made a plan to include all the dots so this is often a point where it is easy to re route and take in other points that were previously missed.   

Whilst the Internet is another great source of information there is sometimes too much advice and you can get bogged down in the planning.  Forums are often good ways to get updates on the current situation in places.


A bit of extra time spent on forward planning can save you money, you may be able to plan a shorter route and it could save you backtracking for events or to things you have missed.

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